In 2011, the Smithsonian Institution selected Asbury Park as the first host city of its traveling musical heritage exhibit, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.” From March 11th to April 17th more than 14,000 visitors enjoyed the exhibit, including 48 class trips from area elementary and secondary schools. This event, marked the launch of a yearlong celebration of Asbury Park’s musical heritage. As part of the celebration, noted historian Helen Pike produced “Asbury Park: Where Music Lives,” an anthology of essays by local musicians; a new website was launched; and a documentary was produced chronicling the experience of musicians, producers, and audience members whose extraordinary stories are an integral part of Asbury Park’s musical heritage.
A group of dedicated volunteers recognized that the celebration had to continue for years to come; thus, the Asbury Park Music Foundation was created, its mission to preserve, exhibit and promote the City of Asbury Park’s rich musical heritage – past, present and future – and to contribute to the City’s revitalization by securing Asbury Park as a musical destination. Incorporated in 2011 in New Jersey, the Foundation was officially launched on April 28, 2012 at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, steps from the famed Asbury Park boardwalk, with the premier of the documentary “Asbury Park Musical Memories,” celebrating the memories of those who made, witnessed and participated in the musical history of Asbury Park.
In 2012, the Asbury Park Music Foundation was awarded a 3-year grant for $100,000 to support local music in Asbury Park, bestowed to the Monmouth County Arts Council by Bruce Springsteen. With this grant and the support of local businesses, the Foundation was able to open an exhibit and performance space on Cookman Avenue, which was named Where Music Lives.
In 2013, the Board of Directors decided to take things in a new direction and focus on the future of music in Asbury Park by creating a Youth Initiative Program, entitled “Music Saved My Life.” This program was founded based on the need for a music program at Hope Academy Charter School, a k-8 public charter school in Downtown Asbury Park. It now caters to three different area’s of youth music education, with plans to grow.
To support “Music Saved My Life” and underserved students interested in music, the APMF put out a call for used instruments. This strategy became a year long in itself known as the APMF’s Instrument Donation Program.
In order to ensure financial stability for the Where Music Lives and and The Youth Initiative programs, the APMF partnered with the Asbury Park Press 2015 to launch the inaugural Asbury Park Music in Film Festival. This 3-day festival welcomed over 5,000 filmmakers, musicians and guests from all over the world and for events hosted in 12 of Asbury Park’s finest establishments including the iconic Convention Hall and The Stone Pony.
The Asbury Park Music Foundation has been successful in all efforts to carry out its mission since 2011. We hope that you will continue to help us make Asbury Park a place Where Music Lives!