National Museum of African American Music receives $1M from Regions and Curb Foundation

(l-r) Councilwoman At-large Sharon Hurt; Nashville Market Executive for Regions Bank Lee Blank; Mayor David Briley; Senator Marsha Blackburn; president and CEO of NMAAM H. Beecher Hicks, III; District 19 Senator Brenda Gilmore; Jim Ed Norman of the Mike Curb Foundation; and District 19 Councilman Freddie O’Connell.

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) has announced a joint gift of $1 million from the Regions Foundation and the Mike Curb Foundation, a major step forward for the trailblazing and interactive new museum, slated to open in downtown Nashville later this year.

Each organization is contributing $500,000 toward the museum’s construction, which will feature ambitious and evolving displays in tribute to America’s most dynamic and transformative African American artists and movements. Elected officials joined representatives from NMAAM, the Regions Foundation and the Mike Curb Foundation and community leaders, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn, state Sen. Brenda Gilmore and Nashville Mayor David Briley, to announce the significant gifts and unveil new details of what the expansive, 56,000 square foot museum will share with its guests.

“Today’s event marks a major fundraising milestone for us,” said H. Beecher Hicks, III, president/CEO of NMAAM. “After years of planning and discussions, this project will soon become a reality. We are so grateful to the Regions Foundation and the Mike Curb Foundation for helping to make this pioneering museum a reality.”

The donations made by the Regions Foundation and the Mike Curb Foundation put the museum in closer reach of its nearly $50 million fundraising goal prior to opening in early 2020. Currently, fundraising has reached nearly 75% of the target.

In appreciation of the commitment by Regions, the grand foyer of the museum will be named in honor of the Regions Foundation.

“Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation are committed to making a positive impact in the communities we serve, and the National Museum of African American Music will add to the vitality of the Nashville area by honoring and recognizing the impact of African American contributions to modern American music,” said Lee Blank, Nashville market executive for Regions Bank. “This gift represents our support of this living, lasting legacy, which celebrates the unique journeys and immense talent of artists who have shaped music history. We know that the people of Middle Tennessee and visitors from throughout the globe will enjoy what this museum will offer for generations to come.”

Tuesday’s announcement unveiled new renderings of the museum and artifacts that will be part of the permanent exhibition, one of which included sheet music by Grammy Award-winning artist Stevie Wonder.

NMAAM is under construction in the heart of downtown Nashville in the Fifth + Broadway development. Skanska is overseeing the project’s construction. After the exterior shell is completed this summer, NMAAM will move in and begin exhibit installation and design for the interior of museum that will have entrances along Broadway as well as Fifth Avenue near the historic Ryman Auditorium.

“We’ve decided to name our gift in honor of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the highlight the impact they’ve had on our city’s rich musical history,” said Jim Ed Norman of the Mike Curb Foundation. “We think it’s fitting that all visitors to the museum will now see the ‘Fisk Jubilee Singers’ name at the Broadway entrance as it will serve as a reminder of the musical influences in our great city.”

The museum will be home to traveling exhibits and five permanent galleries featuring 25 interactive displays that chronicle the history of African American music from the 1800s to the present day. More than 1,400 artifacts have already been collected to be showcased in the space.