About Us

Mission Statement

The National Arts Treasure Initiative (NATI) is dedicated to documenting, preserving, and honoring living legends of the great American art forms, Jazz and Blues. It aims to enhance worldwide awareness and preservation of the cultural values of Jazz and Blues. The Foundation records the contributions of noted jazz and blues musicians on film in performances, workshops, classes and interviews.

Vision Statement

The National Arts Treasure Initiative vision will celebrate the lives of great American jazz and blues legends. The expectation is that NATI will inspire cultural patriotism for an art form that still lacks the recognition and exposure that it deserves in the country of its origin. Jazz and Blues are America’s main indigenous music styles. They have been revered and embraced the world over where both styles are identified as truly American.

NATI Documentary Films

NATI Documentary Films capture the lives and careers of American Jazz and Blues masters. NATI is developing a library of archival footage and digitally indexed documents for research, study, and support of the next generation of jazz historians.

NATI has been established to take this vision forward as a contribution to the preservation of a truly all-American genre. The Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee range from music, law, diplomacy, film, television to the recording industry, business, research, advertising, journalism, and theater. The official launch of the foundation was April 30, 2011 in Pittsburgh at the August Wilson Center. Pittsburgh with its extended jazz legacy, was a fitting site for the launch of this initiative. It has been one of the key jazz centers in the nation, spawning the likes of Erroll Garner, George Benson, Billy Eckstine, Dakota Staton, Stanley Turrentine, Mary Lou Williams, Phyllis Hyman, Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Brown, Billy Strayhorn and many others. Although he is not a Pittsburgh native, our first treasure, Grady Tate, started his professional career at the Hurricane Club in Pittsburgh, as did many other jazz legends. Currently The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild is known internationally as one of the true jazz hubs in our country.

The legal structure of the Foundation allows it to also focus on extending  beyond filming and archival performances to educational and professional formats; including the incorporation of theatrical productions using the music, fashion, poetry and history of the places and people that were spawning these cultural giants.

Meet the Staff

Learn more about the people working to bring “Grady Tate’s Windmills”and future initiatives to life.

Interns and Volunteers

The National Arts Treasure Initiative welcomes interns and volunteers passionate about our mission to join us for researching historical footage (performance, workshops, interviews etc) for the documentaries. NATI offers great opportunities for learning about researching, licensing and archiving historical footage and documents of our musician’s performances, interviews, life experiences and workshops. The foundation is pleased to be allied with and supported by a division of the Library of Congress. This historical footage will provide invaluable glimpses into the true spirit of the masters in a way that modern day performances cannot. Ideally universities, museums or libraries would partner as repositories for such footage, e.g., a “Legacy Building Venue”. These works would be digitally indexed in an easy access system, collating the many different teaching and playing examples by different masters, enabling a music seeker to experience master classes virtually. This will allow both the newly inspired and the advanced musician as well as the artistic intelligentsia to access directly the research that is relevant to their interest.

Getting the Youth Engaged

Developing theatrical projects about jazz and blues music that also extends into a workshop setting that can be used in the universities and high schools throughout the country. This would not only bring professionals to schools, but would teach fun things that arise from the music, such as dances, converting music from Broadway , and pop charts into jazz & blues standards, and the overall social impact of the music. This could encompass many genres – from the bebop, swing, blues, and the jazz cabaret styling of Joe Williams, to the blues of the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson, the soulful blues of Etta James & Eric Clapton or the genius of Grover Washington Jr, the Modern Jazz Quartet’s cool jazz or the scatting of Ella Fitzgerald.

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    The National Arts Treasure Initiative is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.
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  • Board Members

    Richard A. Roberts

    Roberts Communications USA

    Walter H. White

    Partner, McGuire Woods LLP

    Ambassador Steven McGann

    Finance Chairman

    Hattie Winston

    Film, Television and Broadway

    Harold Wheeler

    Musical Supervisor & Conductor
    Dancing With The Stars
    The Academy Awards

    Tim Strong

    Founder & Artistic Director

  • Contact Us

    Address: NATI
    c/o POISE Foundation
    603 Stanwix Street, Suite 1700
    Pittsburgh, PA • 15222
    Email: info@nationalartstreasureinitiative.org