The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking Team is proud to celebrate the legacy of Toledo native and jazz legend Jon Hendricks with a Mural Unveiling and Jazz Event at the Frederick Douglass Community Center on Sunday, November 6th. This event is free and the public is invited and welcome to attend.


The evening event will kick off at 4:15 p.m. with brief remarks from project and neighborhood partners and immediately following at 4:30 p.m. will be performances by the University of Toledo Vocalstra, which Hendricks previously helmed as a professor of music at the institution, as well as commentary from local jazz icons, including Tad Weed.

The event will also be the public’s first chance to view a new celebratory mural of Hendricks inside the Frederick Douglass Center. Completed by artists Dommo Lloyd, Victoria Steger, Jason Vahle, and David Ross (who also coordinated the mural effort), Hendricks’ likeness can be see through the front entrance windows of the Frederick Douglass Center, looking out over the Junction neighborhood.

The evening will culminate in an open jazz jam session beginning at 5:45 p.m. All area musicians are invited to perform.

The event is being presented at the Frederick Douglass Community Center, Toledo’s oldest African American community center, in partnership with the Junction Neighborhood Coalition. Junction Leadership Committee Member and City of Toledo Youth Commissioner, Alicia Smith, states, regarding the event, “As we begin to create creative safe places for our multigenerational community it is imperative that we understand our history and our culture. When we know our history and culture – from art and music to our greatness and legacies – we thrive as a people.” Smith adds a quote from Dr. David Raglan, “This is what community looks like.”

This event is a project of The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking Team, an ongoing effort to drive the City of Toledo’s Strategic Plan for Arts and Culture forward while working in partnership with neighborhood leaders, residents, and organizations to build a more creative and inspiring life for all in our city. To learn more about this event, creative placemaking, or the Plan for Arts and Culture, visit


Junction has long been known as Toledo’s preeminent neighborhood for African American culture, boasting the highest number of African American-owned businesses in the city, and serving as a home to many prominent jazz musicians and performers over the years, including the site of jazz legend Art Tatum’s childhood home. The Frederick Douglass Community Center is located in the heart of the Junction Neighborhood and is Toledo’s longest-serving African American community center, offering services, programs and events to the community since 1919. The Jon Hendricks mural adds to the Frederick Douglass Center’s ongoing beautification efforts, which have seen numerous murals and artworks installed both inside and outdoors in recent years. Learn more at

The Junction Coalition is dedicated to fostering sense of community, place, and culture in the neighborhood and is currently invested in the Junction Avenue Urban Waters Project, an innovative collaboration to help manage stormwater runnof while increasing green space. Learn more at

Jon Hendricks (born September 16, 1921) is an American jazz lyricist and singer. He is considered one of the originators of vocalese, which adds lyrics to existing instrumental songs and replaces many instruments with vocalists (such as the big-band arrangements of Duke Ellington and Count Basie). Furthermore, he is considered one of the best practitioners of scat singing, which involves vocal jazz soloing. For his work as a lyricist, jazz critic and historian Leonard Feather called him the "Poet Laureate of Jazz", while Time dubbed him the "James Joyce of Jive". Al Jarreau has called him "pound-for-pound the best jazz singer on the planet—maybe that's ever been.” Hendricks is a Toledo native who grew up among the likes of Art Tatum and many touring jazz icons of the day. Hendricks was formerly a professor at University of Toledo Music Department, where he directed the Vocalstra. Beginning in the late 1950s, Hendricks’ work with the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross earned him international and lifelong acclaim. Learn more at (Biography informed by Wikipedia).

Jon Hendricks recently celebrated his 95th birthday with a celebration in New York City, where he currently resides. Hendricks will not be in attendance at this event.

This event is coordinated by The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking Team, in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Center and the University of Toledo Department of Music in an ongoing effort to celebrate and support the current and historic culture of the Junction neighborhood and its neighbors.

The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking efforts are a direct response to the City of Toledo’s Strategic Plan for Arts and Culture, which outlines needs and goals for arts engagement and creative community building in Toledo’s eight original and historic neighborhoods.

This program is made possible in part by grant funds from LISC and Kresge, with additional funds from the Ohio Arts Council.

To learn more about The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking efforts and the Strategic Plan for Arts & Culture, visit