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Great American Songbook Foundation  named Grammy Museum Cultural Affiliate

Joining an elite group of institutions worldwide, the Great American Songbook Foundation at the Center for the Performing Arts has been named a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based GRAMMY Museum®.

The partnership will provide new resources for the Indiana institution and broaden impact of its Songbook Archives and educational programming.

As a Cultural Affiliate, the Songbook Foundation will have access to GRAMMY Museum exhibitions, educational initiatives, research programs, internship opportunities, technical support, collaborative promotion and more. The Foundation is joining a select group that includes only the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica; the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma; The Beatles Story in Liverpool, England; and the National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

(Above) Bob Santelli, Founding Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum, presents the Cultural Affiliate plaque to Chris Lewis, Executive Director of the Great American Songbook Foundation, July 19, 2017, at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Seated are Michael Feinstein and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

Housed at the Palladium – flagship performance hall of the affiliated Center for the Performing Arts – the Songbook Foundation operates an exhibition gallery and maintains the Songbook Archives & Library. The Archives comprises over 100,000 documents, images, recordings and other artifacts representing some of the greatest songwriters, arrangers and performers of the 20th century. Highlights include the collections of lyricist Gus Kahn (“Ain’t We Got Fun,” “It Had to Be You”) and composer-playwright Meredith Willson (The Music Man, The Unsinkable Molly Brown).

“The Songbook Archives is a one-of-a-kind repository preserving the legacy of an enormously important era in music,” said Bob Santelli, Founding Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. “We are very pleased to welcome this organization into our affiliate network and help broaden its impact for musicians, students, historians and all devotees of American music.”

The GRAMMY Museum affiliation became official today at the Palladium with a ceremony that included a plaque presentation from Santelli and remarks from Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein, Foundation Executive Director Chris Lewis, Center for the Performing Arts Interim President/CEO Jeffrey C. McDermott and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

“We share so much with the GRAMMY Museum in terms of our artistic, historical and educational mission,” said Feinstein, the celebrated performer and preservationist known as “the ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” “It is tremendously gratifying to me, both personally and professionally, to see the cultural importance of the Songbook being recognized in this way.”

Lewis said the affiliation poses exciting possibilities for the Songbook Foundation’s many educational and outreach programs aimed at schools, community groups and music lovers of all ages. The announcement came during the Foundation’s annual Songbook Academy®, a summer intensive that draws top high school performers from across the country for a week of workshops, performances and mentoring from Feinstein and other performing arts professionals.

The two organizations have been in talks for months about the potential for collaborative exhibitions and education initiatives, Lewis said.

The Songbook Foundation and the Center for the Performing Arts are housed in facilities built by the City of Carmel as part of its strategy to leverage the arts as a driver for economic development. Mayor Jim Brainard said the GRAMMY Museum affiliation reinforces the growing regional and national reputation of a city that is regularly ranked among the best places to live in the United States.

(Above) Ella Sings the Songbook is the current installation at the Foundation’s Songbook Exhibit Gallery at the Palladium.

“This is exciting news not only for Carmel but for the entire region,” Brainard said. “We’re proud to be known nationally as a community that supports and celebrates the arts.”

Established in 2008 as a partnership between the Recording Academy and AEG, the GRAMMY Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum explores and celebrates all aspects of the art form – from the technology of the recording process to the legends who have made lasting marks on our cultural identity.

In 2017, the Museum integrated with its sister organization, the GRAMMY Foundation, to broaden the reach of its music education and preservation initiatives. As a unified organization, today, the GRAMMY Museum fulfills its mission of making music a valued and indelible part of our society through exhibits, education, grants and public programming. More information is available at

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time GRAMMY Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless songs of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood.

Headquartered at the affiliated Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, the Foundation is committed to preserving and elevating this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of its creators, performers and publishers; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars, historians and performers; providing educational opportunities and multidisciplinary curricula for student musicians; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; and operating a multimedia gallery for public exhibition of its collections. More information is available at


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