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The Woodshed Network wraps up another session of mentoring women to build careers in jazz


The two-week program is a partnership with Brooklyn's 651 ARTS

The Woodshed Network, a project that brings together women starting out in the world of jazz, is wrapping up a virtual two-week program on March 10 that provides professional and personal support.

It’s a joint effort with 651 ARTS — an organization in Brooklyn dedicated to African performing artists from all over the world. The executive director is Toya Lillard.

“The partnership over the past four years has resulted in networks of women in jazz who are supporting each other, it’s resulted in networks of women who are sharing best practices around healing, around self-care,” she said.

Woodshed is the creation of jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater. Lillard said many of the women who’ve been in the program over the past four years have gotten to perform with her.

“A lot of our alumna have a great relationship with Dee Dee and have performed with Dee Dee before and Dee Dee has been really wonderful about providing opportunities for our alumna to perform with her,” she said.

The women spent the past two weeks hearing from musicians like Sheila E. and Lizz Wright and other artists about building a career in jazz.

Why woodshed?

“The woodshed being a place where folks gather, where ideation happens, where art making happens, a safe space that is under the radar, reminiscent of Congo Square in New Orleans, where it was the birthplace of jazz,” said Lillard.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.