ColaJazz Mission

ColaJazz’s mission is to support and grow jazz in and around Columbia, SC through events, education, recordings, advocacy and providing a resource for all things jazz. ColaJazz promotes the values of friendship, community, passion and unity. ColaJazz is determined to elevate our music scene and create a thriving, culturally rich community in our capital city and throughout our State.

Jazz at Lincoln Center effectively captures our same belief: Jazz embodies the highest ideals of Democracy. They write, “Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism.”

Mark Rapp, SC Jazz AmbassadorColaJazz is the brainchild of jazz trumpeter and SC Jazz Ambassador Mark Rapp. Mark had a desire to highlight the talented and accomplished jazz artists and educators active in and around Columbia, SC. Additionally, Mark wanted to give back to the fans, supporters, and venues which give us places to play. With the invaluable help of Paul Bodamer, Jangly Records and an initial round of funding by fans, friends and family, we created a “Columbia All-Stars” recording where each bandleader around Columbia received studio time to record (See Vol.1 & Vol.2). With additional monies and a phenomenal commitment of time and effort by Paul Bodamer, we recorded 13 groups comprised of 27 different musicians and even recorded an entire CD by our late SC Jazz Ambassador Skipp Pearson!

ColaJazz has created a successful annual summer jazz camp, an annual jazz festival, presented dozens upon dozens of events, concerts, jam sessions, artist features, community highlights, brought in international jazz stars including NEA Jazz Masters and GRAMMY-winners and so much more! We serve our capital city and our State and will continue to swell the seas, rising the tides and lifting all ships.

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To support a full creative life for all, the ColaJazz Foundation commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.

Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.

In the United States, there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.

Cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts sector.

We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.

Everyone deserves equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.
The prominent presence of artists challenges inequities and encourages alternatives.

To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, we strive to…
Pursue cultural consciousness throughout our organization through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.
Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and report organization progress.
Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, and advisory bodies.

To pursue needed systemic change related to equity, we strive to…
Encourage substantive learning to build cultural consciousness and to proliferate pro-equity policies and practices by all of our constituencies and audiences.
Improve the cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the full breadth of American society.
Advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes cultural equity.