- By Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
At a time when many of the area’s musicians – and music venues – are struggling, a new nonprofit says it wants to lend a hand.
The Clifford Antone Foundation, named for the famed Austin blues club operator who died in 2006, has a two-fold mission: Making sure the city’s live music scene stays vibrant while also caring for the Austin area’s population of aging musicians.
“The board and I couldn’t be more excited about the official kick off of the Clifford Antone Foundation,” said Susan Antone, president of the foundation’s board of directors and Clifford Antone’s sister. “We all have a very real and personal connection to Clifford and our team can’t imagine a better way to represent him than by supporting the local community, particularly youths and our elders, and ensuring the Austin music scene continues to thrive for generations to come.”
In addition to its primary mission, the foundation also plans a number of other music-focused activities, such as preserving and archiving a variety of musical and cultural artifacts so they can be enjoyed by future generations, as well as mentoring and educating underprivileged and at-risk youths interested in music.
“Clifford understood how important it was to connect the younger generations with their elders and he used music as a medium to do that,” foundation board member Will Bridges said. “Improving music education for our youth, especially the underprivileged, and honoring and caring for our city’s elders and its rich history. Focusing on these two areas is imperative to preserving our culture and we need to act on it now. There are already efforts on the ground doing these things, but the primary goal of the Clifford Antone Foundation is to raise awareness and participation so we can drive more resources to those efforts.”
An initial round of grants will go to Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers, Kids in a New Groove, American Youthworks and the Pinetop Perkins Foundation.
“By pooling our resources together and putting them to work in a very active and focused way, we can make a noticeable and lasting impact in our community and on the trajectory of our city’s cultural preservation,” Bridges said.
Plans include erecting a statue honoring Antone, as well as creating a traveling “40 Years of Antone’s” exhibit, the group said.
To become a member of the Clifford Antone Foundation or for more information, visit CliffordAntoneFoundation.org.