- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - A jazz center is coming to Motown.

Philanthropist and Carhartt apparel heiress Gretchen Valade is making a $7.5 million gift to Wayne State University that will create a jazz hub in the city’s Midtown, the Detroit Free Press reported (https://on.freep.com/1UjG8CL) Sunday.

A formal announcement is expected Monday.

The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center will be located in the 51-year-old Hilberry Theatre where touring artists and local musicians will perform. It also will serve as a working space for Wayne State students and faculty. Valade’s gift also will establish an endowed chair in jazz studies and endowed jazz scholarship.

“We have some of the greatest musicians around,” Valade, 90, told the newspaper. “It’s great to be able to partner with Wayne State, and I’m hoping to get Detroit the attention it should have as far as jazz is concerned.”



Valade has given a $15-million endowment for the Detroit Jazz Festival and founded a jazz-themed restaurant in Grosse Pointe.

“The patrons of jazz are very, very committed,” Wayne State’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts Dean Matt Seeger said. “They support jazz, they support live music, and I think they’ll be coming down here to the Valade with great frequency. It’ll be an exciting time.”

The jazz center will be part of a planned performing arts project north of downtown Detroit. The center’s opening is likely several years away.

“There will be a lot of energy to create connectivity around the country and the world,” Wayne State’s jazz studies director Chris Collins said. “When the jazz center officially opens, the global community will be aware of it.”

Midtown is one of the city’s strongest neighborhoods and is considered Detroit’s cultural center. In addition to Wayne State, it is home to the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Medical Center.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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