Five Minute Interview: Jim Ricciuti, Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center
For 50 years, the Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center in Harvard Square has been a mainstay of New England’s arts community, fostering performers and audiences alike. Passim is a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit devoted to the preservation and cultivation of folk music — and the spreading of the folk gospel to people and communities everywhere. Passim executes its mission through unique programming — Club Passim, the Passim School of Music, Archive Project and Culture for Kids.
We spoke with Jim Ricciuti, director of development at Passim, about his organization’s fundraising highs and lows, and how he envisions its fundraising future.
FundRaising Success: Can you give me a brief history of the organization?
Jim Ricciuti: First of all, I should mention that on Jan. 6, we turned 50! Passim Folk Music & Cultural Center first opened its doors as Club 47 in 1958. It originally opened as a jazz club but soon became one of the homes of the 1960s folk revival. A young Joan Baez mesmerized audiences there (and she is joining us for our celebration concert on March 28), and Bob Dylan played between acts.
The club was shut down for a brief period of time and reopened in its current location in Harvard Square in 1963. It has seen many incarnations since then as Club 47, Passim, Club Passim, and Passim Folk Music & Cultural Center.
Club Passim incorporated as a nonprofit in 1995 and shortly thereafter expanded its programming to include a school of music and an outreach program titled Culture for Kids. The Archive Project has been chronicling this rich history through photographs, recording and documents. In 2005, the name changed to Passim Folk Music & Cultural Center (Passim Center) to better reflect our array of programming.
Passim’s history is defined by the artists and audience of the past 50 years. Since it is an intimate listening room, lasting connections are made at each performance.