A few weeks prior to our 2018 event, JazzFest as well as the Rondo community, lost a truly beautiful person.
Janet Williams, who we lovingly referred to as “Miss Janet,” had been a major contributor to JazzFest for the past 16 years. Her vision took our Family Fun Zone from a couple of arts and crafts tables to a spot that kept kids busy for hours. Her mission in life was to look out for others,
especially the children who make up our community. She was also instrumental in defining our organization’s mission and purpose. During a mid- 2000’s JazzFest debriefing, she decreed that the event was no longer a simple music festival. “We are starting to witness what can be accomplished through arts-based community development,” she said. “That’s what we now do.”
From that time on, all of our strategic decisions focused on living out the phrase arts-based community development.
As we get going on planning JF19, we will never forget her contributions to JazzFest’s history. Her compassion, strength and steadfast commitment to the people and communities she served was unbounded.
In 2018 and in an effort to keep her spirit alive, The Selby Ave JazzFest created the Central Selby Janet Williams Impact Award, an acknowledgement that pays tribute to the individual who, simply
put, gets things done at the grassroots level. Entrepreneur, community activist and neighborhood resident Juliet Mitchel was the inaugural recipient.
We look forward this year to again paying tribute to the person who keeps Janet’s grit, spirit and passion alive within the Rondo community.