On Monday, January 21, the much-awaited grand opening of the SFJAZZ Center finally arrived. SFJAZZ’s Resident Artistic Director John Santos and High School All-Stars alum Laila Smith cut the ribbon, officially opening the new SFJAZZ Center to the public. The ±35,000 square foot performance space features a state-of-the-art auditorium with adjustable 350 – 700 seating, an 80-seat multi-purpose ensemble room, rehearsal and digital lab spaces, and a sidewalk-level café.

The Center explores the full spectrum of jazz, with the first season line-up including such heavy-hitters as Dianne Reeves, Tony Bennett and the Afro Cuban All Stars. The Center also provides education through a range of programs aimed particularly at students in the City’s middle schools (“Jazz in the Middle”).  They offer hands-on training in jazz performance for middle and high school students as well as professional training to music educators, supporting jazz instruction in public and independent schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Community Vision provided $7.625 million in New Markets Tax Credits combined with allocations from three other Community Development Entities to cover a temporary funding gap of $40 million in order to meet its timeline of completing the enter by late 2012.