Who We Are

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is America’s premier not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to producing, performing and promoting Jazz. Our mission is to advance and celebrate the art of jazz through performance and education. The Jazz Arts Group (JAG) divides its resources among two areas: performance and education.

JAG Performances includes Jazz at the Southern, our premiere series featuring your Columbus Jazz Orchestra led by Byron Stripling, Jazz at the Lincoln, a series dedicated to rising stars, local legends, national acts and more, JazZoo at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the PBJ & Jazz family jazz series at the Lincoln Ballroom and Topiary Park, and Community Jazz, a series dedicated to our community of local artists and ensembles.

The Jazz Arts Group believes in the power of music to transform lives and is committed to offering lifelong-learning opportunities for individuals of all ages, interests, backgrounds and abilities. JAG achieves this with our JAG Education & Community programs and through our Jazz Academy activities.

Our Affiliate Musicians program continues to work with area musicians on professional development and performing opportunities for Columbus jazz musicians.



Our History

JAG began in 1973 as a vehicle for local professional musicians and educators to present high-level performances to audiences in a big band setting. Throughout the past 50 years, JAG has produced more than 500 world-class jazz performances featuring the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (CJO), the resident big band that developed from founder Ray Eubanks’ original group of musicians.

Fifty years later, the CJO is considered one of the world’s finest jazz orchestras, presenting big band jazz and world-renowned guest artists to thousands every year. The Columbus Jazz Orchestra consists of highly regarded musicians and educators from the Central Ohio region and performs more than twenty subscription concerts each season.

The Columbus Jazz Orchestra is led by world renowned band leader and trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling, who is celebrating his 20th season with the band this year. Incorporating contemporary arrangements into its repertoire along with commissioning new arrangements and masterworks for jazz orchestras, the CJO strives to promote the future of big band jazz.

In addition to the performances of the CJO, the Jazz Arts Group presents local and national artists to the Columbus community in theatres and informal venues, and for more than 30 years, dedicated its efforts to educating people of all ages about jazz.

The Jazz Arts Group education and community engagement programming reaches thousands of students from pre-K to high school seniors each year. JAG also is home to the Jazz Academy at the historic Lincoln Theatre, where annually 200+ students come to participate in youth orchestras and ensembles, rehearsals, workshops, and summer camps.

JAG’s outreach efforts have brought jazz beyond the classroom to hundreds of students annually in collaboration with outstanding community organizations such as Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Museum of Art, The Ohio State University, Capital University, YMCA, and more!

Press Southworth III

Press Southworth III
Chief Executive Officer
Jazz Arts Group

Chief Executive Officer’s Message

We are the Jazz Arts Group

Jazz has the power to uplift and inspire. The Columbus Jazz Orchestra is one of the finest jazz orchestras in the country today under Byron Stripling’s artistic leadership. Our masterful musicians are steeped in jazz tradition and many are ambassadors for Columbus and jazz through their performances at venues around the globe.

We at Jazz Arts Group are proud of all of our performance series for our 46th Anniversary Season for 2018-2019 fiscal year bringing excitement to our audiences, continuing to advance the art of jazz right here in central Ohio through dynamic and integrated programming. These included our Swingin’ with the CJO series at the Southern Theatre, Jazz At The Lincoln Theatre small-ensemble series at the Lincoln Theatre. JazZoo! summer concert series at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and our PBJ & Jazz family concert series at both the Lincoln ballroom and at the Topiary Park.

Our Jazz Academy expanded its class offerings and our Columbus Youth Jazz program continues to develop outstanding young talent. Our Jazz in Schools program impacted nearly 20,000 students this past year with our “All That Jazz” assembly performances at the Southern Theatre reaching over 4,500 students.

If you would like to bring a bit of the Jazz Arts Group’s magic close to home, we provide the area’s finest musicians to perform for corporate events, weddings and parties. Please consider our Affiliate Musicians for your next event.

We look forward to seeing you throughout this season! We welcome your donation to help us bring the jazz experience to our community. Please visit our website at www.jazzartsgroup.org, or call 614-294-5200 to learn how you can deepen your connection to the Jazz Arts Group family.

Board of Directors | 2022 – 2023

Gil Gradisar

JAG President
Partner, The Behal Law Group

Gary Wadman

Past President
Partner, BakerHostetler

Tami Van Tassell

JAG Treasurer
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Larry Smith

JAG Secretary
Principal, Healthy Urban Communities, LLC

Bob Breithaupt
Retired Professor
Capital University

Alessandro Ciaffoncini
Origo Branding Company

Kevin Flanigan, MD
Director, Center for Gene Therapy
Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Donna Goss
Director of Real Estate
The Ohio State University

Dale Gresson
Chairperson, Dept of Justice,
Safety & Legal Studies
Columbus State Community College

Tom Huesman
Strategic Sourcing Analyst
American Electric Power

John Johanssen
Community Volunteer

Bill Kiefaber
President & Partner
Marketing Works

Robert Lee
Donatos Franchise Partner

Therese McCann
Creative Director
Black Purse

Sandy Meizlish
Senior Partner
Barkan Meizlish LLP

Tim Miller
CEO, President, Co-Founder
Forge Biologics

Kevin L. Murch
Perez & Morris, LLC

Michael Peddicord
Senior Vice President
PNC Capital Advisors, LLC

Press Southworth III*
Chief Executive Officer
Jazz Arts Group

Emily Toney
SVP, Local Market Executive
Bank of America

Kyle Welch
VP, Sales, Strategy & Operations
Grange Insurance

Kelly Wilson
VP, HR Business Partner
Cardinal Health