Honoring the memory of John Stites and his passion for jazz music

Honoring the memory of John Stites and his passion for jazz music

Apply Now - Cycle 2 Deadline is MIdnight September 15!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When will the award winners be announced?

Please refer to the Awards page. Key dates are listed in the Timelines and Deadlines section. Award winners are notified by both email and “snail” mail and must sign the contract attached to the award notice before receiving any funds. Those who do not win will also receive an email notification and are encouraged to reapply during the next awards cycle. Descriptions of the winning projects are posted on the website a few weeks after the winners are announced.

2. Can non-US Citizens apply for awards?

Non-US Citizens with Resident Alien status can apply for awards and will need to add their social security number to the application form. Applicants without Resident Alien status are ineligible.

3. Are awards taxable to the recipient?

Individual award winners (US Citizens and Resident Aliens) will receive a 1099.

Note: Group/Ensemble award winners will need to provide an EIN or TIN for their organization and specify their nonprofit status before receiving funds.

4. Can I apply for funds to pay myself and my group and be able to offer an event(s) for free or at a reduced cost to the public?

60% of the total points awarded for Jazz Event applications are awarded with regard to the ability of the project/event to expand the audience for jazz and/or increase the appreciation for jazz. 40% of the points are awarded for the likelihood that the project/event will be successfully executed (realistic timeline and budget, statements of support from others involved in the financial or logistical aspects of the project).

If you have a good project with a well thought out execution plan that involves paying yourself and your group members, you should apply. However, the majority of the points are awarded based on the likelihood that the project/event will expand the audience/appreciation of jazz. So a free or reduced cost event that does not appeal to a wide audience may not receive a high score.

5. Can I apply for funds to pay for my touring costs, so that I can offer to perform for a lower price?

See answer for question 4 which outlines the scoring rationale and explains that the ability of the project/event to expand the audience for jazz and/or increase the appreciation for jazz is the primary criterion.

While the primary purpose of these awards is not to pay touring costs, if you believe you have a project/event that will expand the audience for jazz and/or increase the appreciation for jazz and touring costs are a necessary part of accomplishing your objectives, you should apply. But if your only goal is to reduce your performance costs, it may be difficult to show how that will promote an expanded interest in jazz.

6. Can I apply for funds to hire a publicist, so that I can expand my career opportunities?

This answer is similar to the answers to questions 4 and 5. The Artistic Development award was conceived as a way to help aspiring musicians pay for advanced studies with professional musicians, composers, arrangers, etc. who would help the musician develop the skills to ensure a successful professional career. The highest scoring applicants typically create a development plan that positions them to make a unique contribution to the industry.

While hiring a publicist could be a part of such a plan, the focus and the majority of the expenditures should be on how the individual plans to enhance their own skill set rather than depend on the skills of a publicist.

7. Can I apply for funds if I live outside the Midwest?

There are no geographic restrictions on applicants applying for Artistic Development Awards.

8. Can I apply for a Jazz Events award, if the funds will be used for an event outside of the Midwest?

Beginning with the 2023 Award Cycles, you do not need to live in the Midwest to apply for a Jazz Events award.  However, the event(s) you plan to promote or sponsor must take place in the Midwest and the majority of the events must take place in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana or Ohio.

9. Can I apply for a Jazz Events award, if my organization also promotes other musical genres?

You can apply for a Jazz Events award for any event/competition/program that is exclusively intended to promote interest in jazz and expand the audience for jazz. If your organization sponsors a variety of musical genres, you cannot use the money you receive from JSJA to fund these other events/projects/competitions.

10. Do I need to provide an answer to every question in every section of the application form?

YES. Points are awarded in each section. You can determine the possible number of points for each section by “hovering” over the answer box. If you leave a section blank, you will lose all the points for that section. Be sure you provide a timeline, budget, budget explanation, and supplementary documents to obtain all the possible points. Several of these questions can best be answered by uploading a pdf file.

11. What type of documents are typically uploaded in the Supplemental Documents section?

Applicants should upload at least one personal reference from someone who can attest to their musical knowledge/ability/talent as well as performance experience. Many applicants upload a reference from a collaborating musician or someone who will be assisting in the performance or project (such as the venue director, your prospective teacher, a recognized professional in the field, and/or a commercial or nonprofit entity providing financial or in-kind support for the project or performance, etc.)

Applicants applying for an Artistic Development award are encouraged to provide a reference from a previous teacher or mentor, as well as individuals in the profession who are familiar with the applicant’s work.  A sound file (Mp3 or similar) of a personal musical performance or a link to one should also be included. Generic documents such as online biographies, links to websites, and publicity downloads are helpful, but less effective than references from individuals and organizations who write a specific personal reference stating why you should receive an award to pursue your project or course of study.

12. If I do not win an award, can I reapply to fund the same or a similar project during the next award cycle?

Yes, you can reapply and we encourage you to do so. The JSJA recommends that you print a copy of your completed application, so that you will have it available to reference if you decide to reapply.

13. When will the new links be posted for the next Award Cycle?

The links for each award cycle are posted about two weeks before the Award Cycle opens (see Timelines and Deadlines section of the Awards page on our website for the most up-to-date information).

John loved music with all his heart and was the ideal recording engineer – a profession into which he poured all his considerable talents and artistry.

Dan Gustin

The John Stites Jazz Awards (JSJA) are funded by the John Stites Jazz Artist Organization, honoring the memory of John Stites and his passion for jazz music.

The organization funds:

  • Advanced studies for emerging and established professional jazz musicians
  • Concerts, competitions and projects that expand jazz audiences and the appreciation of jazz in or near communities in the Midwest