Meet the couple who started it all.

Benje and Ashley Daneman met over ten years ago while getting their masters degrees in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Several years (and kids) later, the Daneman’s have made Kalamazoo their home, partially because Benje had roots here from his time in Western Michigan University’s jazz program. They have a passion for bringing their love of jazz and creative music to others. Realizing that there was no “home for jazz” in the Kalamazoo area, they set out to build the Jazz and Creative Institute in 2017 by starting a youth jazz orchestra. Since then, they’ve created a community where people can learn an instrument, play with others, perform in public, and belong.