'The Spirit of Harlem' mural by Louis Delsarte in Harlem, New York City
© Pietro Scozzari/agefotostoc
'The Spirit of Harlem' by Louis Delsarte
On International Jazz Day, we're looking at 'The Spirit of Harlem,' a glass mosaic mural by artist Louis Delsarte. Located near the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, it depicts, among others, jazz greats Cab Calloway and Count Basie. Originally commissioned in 2005, the mural was covered up in 2017 when a new store moved into its location. After a petition and protests, the retailer worked with Delsarte to restore the mural and add a new plaque dedicating it to the Harlem community. Delsarte, whose other works include a 125-foot-long mural at the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium in Atlanta, died in May 2020.
April 30 is designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as International Jazz Day to highlight the music and its role in cultures around the world. Musician Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, was instrumental in starting Jazz Day in 2011. It includes educational programs, community events, and performances around the world. This year will feature a mix of virtual and in-person events.