Joe Occhipinti by Nina Fritz

Two Nina Fritz oil paintings have been added to the Jazz Room Area at the downtown West Florida Public Library. The latest acquisitions were donated by jazz enthusiast Amelia Asmar.

One of the Fritz paintings shows local jazz saxophonist and band-leader Joe Occhipinti. The other depicts the late world-famous jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Earl "Fatha" Hines by Nina Fritz

For those few who are unfamiliar with Pensacola artist Nina Fritz, she has been a benefactor for the jazz community for many years. There are several of her oil paintings in the jazz room area of the downtown public library. Her paintings are highly prized by many experts in the arts community. For many years, she has supported Pensacola JazzFest by allowing a raffle of a portrait. And she is planning to continue that tradition for this coming Pensacola JazzFest in April 2019.

The Jazz Room collection was started in the mid-1980s as the recordings were transitioning from LP to CD. The Jazz Society of Pensacola has made annual donations toward that effort and the Friends of the West Florida Public Library has matched those donations. Currently, the collection of jazz books, CDs and DVD is valued at $20,000. And library card holders can access the collection through any of the public library branches in Escambia County. The library is in process of accessing another larger order of jazz materials which will include newer CDs and DVDs as well as a number of jazz related movies on DVD. Todd Humble, library director, has researched and found that there is only one other public library in the US which has a dedicated jazz room. Others have music collections but ours is only one of two which is dedicated solely to jazz.

Kristine Crane, in charge of the jazz room and the library reference area, poses with the two newly acquired Nina Fritz oil paintings.