In 2016, professional musicians Darrian Douglas and Gregory Agid were perplexed. New Orleans is a world renowned music city- Why were so many local musicians struggling to make ends meet? They soon discovered that many artists were lacking business skills and too often were depending on playing endless gigs to pay the bills. 88% of musicians they surveyed had zero music business exposure throughout high school or college. They decided to change the narrative by founding Second Line Arts Collective, a music education nonprofit for aspiring artists to grow their industry skills and knowledge base.
Each summer since 2017, Second Line Arts Collective has hosted the Sanaa Music Workshop, a two week summer intensive for aspiring musicians ages 13-23. At Sanaa, students focus on financial literacy, creative marketing, and skills that will lead to career sustainability. Time is reserved every day for combo rehearsals and music lessons as well. Creators Douglas and Agid learned the importance of these concepts from their mentors Alvin Fielder and Alvin Batiste, renowned Jazz artists, so naturally mentorship is at the core of Sanaa.
“We work with teaching artists who are experienced educators and know the dedication it takes to prosper as an artist and entrepreneur,” says Douglas, “that’s what we are after all, we are entrepreneurs.”
In 2022, Sanaa welcomed twenty-six student musicians to learn and grow together in June. The workshop ended with a final concert showcasing the students’ hard work. “I am unbelievably proud of these young people,” Agid added, “don’t take my word for it, the music speaks for itself.”
The pandemic complicated music education at every level, but Douglas and Agid noticed a significant lack of virtual early music programming in 2020. They developed Little Stompers to help fill the gap for schools and parents in need. Little Stompers introduces students PreK-5th grade to the history of Jazz and Black American Music. The curriculum is a culturally relevant, highly engaging introduction to the elements of music (rhythm, melody, common instruments) through the history and celebration of New Orleans music from Congo Square to Ellis Marsalis.
Darrian Douglas and Gregory Agid aren’t just co-directors. They are also co hosts of Second Line Arts Collective’s podcast The Working Artist Project. TWAP is a long-form interview podcast that highlights the daily experience of creatives in all fields, not just music. Douglas and Agid tease out valuable experiences listeners can learn from, about what it means to be a working artist.
Second Line Arts Collective is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and its programming is supported primarily through individual donations. Visit the website to donate directly and learn more about community initiatives.
Second Line Arts Collective is hosting a free concert in partnership with Hotel Saint Vincent featuring Sanaa graduate Zahria Sims and the Zahria Sims Collective. Come listen and meet the Second Line Arts Collective team at Hotel Saint Vincent, Thursday, September 15th from 8pm-10pm.