Arts experiences are a critical part of a child’s education by cultivating empathy, expanding world views, creating human connections, and enhancing creative problem-solving skills.

The Moss Arts Center is dedicated to providing meaningful experiences that spark interest in the arts and the creative process for students of all ages and backgrounds. Since the center opened in the fall of 2013, more than 23,000 children have enjoyed these kinds of opportunities free of charge — meaning absolutely no cost to the schools or the students.

With the community’s support through financial contributions and information sharing, the center will offer free creative experiences to 1,300 area students this February when it brings JazzReach back to the New River Valley for a second time to present a series of creative experiences for area students that includes master classes and workshops, as well as special performances.

The center is hosting a crowdfunding initiative to support these efforts, and every donation made to the initiative will have twice the impact. Thanks to the generous support of Mark and Connie Froggatt, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $6,000.

Committed to the promotion, performance, creation, and teaching of jazz music, JazzReach will show students the power of jazz as a unifying force that bridges cultural, religious, ethnic, and economic differences. Support of this campaign will help the center bring JazzReach’s comprehensive experience to area elementary school, middle school, high school, and college-aged students.

JazzReach’s critically acclaimed resident ensemble, Metta Quintet, will work closely with an area high school jazz ensemble during a series of workshops and master classes, and the ensemble will participate in several combined rehearsals with the quintet. The jazz ensemble will also have the opportunity to perform onstage alongside the award-winning quintet during a free joint concert that will be open to the public.

The quintet will visit a Virginia Tech music class during its time in Blacksburg and will present an immersive, globally themed multimedia school-day matinee performance for area third through sixth graders. Featuring performances of all new commissions by prominent, internationally recognized jazz composers hailing from West Africa, Israel, Cuba, Puerto Rico, India, and the United States, “Big Drum/Small World” shows kids the power of creative collaboration and uses jazz as a fun and inspiring way to explore differences, share ideas, and discover common ground.

This crowdfunding effort is part of Jump, Virginia Tech’s official crowdfunding platform, designed to bring together students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to maximize impact for supporting university projects that make a difference.