Hall of Fame Introduction
With help from a matching grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission awarded in July 2007, The Blues Foundation has been adding definitive biographical material for each of the inductees. Noted Blues scholar Jim O’Neal has researched and written these sketches which continue to be added to the website as they become available.
The Blues Foundation is currently conducting the Campaign for the Blues Hall of Fame, a $3.5 million capital campaign to add Hall of Fame exhibits to our offices at 421 South Main. For complete information click on Capital Campaign at left. To find out how you can be a part of this project, contact Executive Director Jay Sieleman at 901.527.2583 ext. 12
The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renown as THE organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has 4500 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events–the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards–make it the international center of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance while its Sound Healthcare program offers musicians health insurance access. Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues scholarships expose new generations to blues music. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news.
A twenty-five person Board of Directors governs the Foundation. Funding for The Blues Foundation comes from membership dues, private donations, corporate sponsorships, grants from private foundations, government agencies and arts organizations and merchandise, advertising and event ticket sales. Contributions to The Blues Foundation, including membership dues, are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.
PRESERVATION OF BLUES HISTORY – The Blues Foundation seeks to preserve and to highlight the rich history of Blues through the following:
The Blues Hall of Fame – Each year the Foundation acknowledges the pioneers of Blues through its inductions into the Blues Hall of Fame. The Blues Hall of Fame inductions have been held in Memphis, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
The Lifetime Achievement Award – The Blues Foundation has periodically paid special tribute to a legend of Blues with its Lifetime Achievement Award, traditionally presented in Los Angeles.
The HART Fund – Through its Handy Artists Relief Trust (HART Fund), the Foundation provides financial assistance to Blues artists and their loved ones in tough times arising from illness, accident and other similar circumstances.
CELEBRATION OF BLUES EXCELLENCE – The Blues Foundation celebrates the best current developments in Blues through the following:
The Blues Music Awards Awards – What have at times been known as the Handy Awards represent the highest accolade afforded musicians and songwriters in Blues music. The show is presented each spring in Memphis and has been shown across America on noncommercial television stations.
The International Blues Challenge (“IBC”) – The contest begins months before at dozens of regional “battles of the bands” presented by the Foundation’s 165 Affiliated Organizations. The winners of these preliminaries are matched in head-to-head juried competition for the chance to take their band or solo/duo act to the national stage with great gigs, cash and prizes.
The IBC weekend also features the only international conference for Blues societies, offers networking and problem-solving opportunities not found elsewhere. These behind-the-scenes people so important to the Blues world are also honored during the IBC weekend with the Foundation’s annual Keeping the Blues Alive Awards.
SUPPORT OF EDUCATION – The Blues Foundation supports music education initiatives through the following:
http://www.blues.org – The Blues Foundation’s website represents a comprehensive collection of resources for Blues scholars and fans. Included on the site are a searchable database of Blues educators and artists-in-residence, a Blues bibliography, and a collection of Blues-based curricula compiled from educators around the country.
Looking for a Blues Society in Idaho or the complete history of Blues Music Awards winners? http://www.blues.org is the site to visit on the internet. The Blues Foundation’s official website is a first point of contact for anyone looking for information about the Blues.
Blues in the Schools – The Foundation fosters Blues in the Schools music education programs across America. The website BITS pages offer links to providers and programs around the country.