CONGRATS TO THE TOP 25 FINALISTS

We’re thrilled to announce the Top 25 finalists in the running to win $25K matching grants to present the 2018 Levitt AMP Music Series! Thanks to more than 30,000 votes this year, these 25 towns and cities are one step closer to bringing free, live music to their communities next summer and fall. Scroll down to view each finalist and learn how they hope to revitalize an underused public space through free Levitt AMP concerts:

2018 LEVITT AMP FINALISTS
(listed in alphabetical order)

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Alice Moseley Pavilion

Berea, Kentucky
Berea Arts Council

Carson City, Nevada
Brewery Arts Center

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Jazzanooga

Denison, Texas
Denison Main Street

Elko, Nevada
Elko County Art Club

Escondido, California
California Center for the Arts Escondido Foundation

Galva, Illinois
Galva Arts Council

Hattiesburg, Mississippi
University of Southern Mississippi

Jacksonville, Illinois
Jacksonville Main Street

Middlesboro, Kentucky
Discover Downtown Middlesboro

Moab, Utah
Moab Folk Festival

Nashua, New Hampshire
Great American Downtown

Ocala, Florida
Marion Cultural Alliance

Prior Lake, Minnesota
Viva Musica

Santa Fe, New Mexico
AMP Concerts

Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Kohler Arts Center of JMKAC

St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Catamount Arts

Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Arts Alliance of Portage County

Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton Downtown Association

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa Roots Music

Utica, New York
Utica Monday Nite

Waterville, Maine
Waterville Opera House

Whitesburg, Kentucky
Cowan Community Center

Woonsocket, Rhode Island
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

Following Levitt’s review period, the 2018 Levitt AMP winners will be announced on January 2, 2018. Mark your calendars and stay tuned!

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Across the country, people are getting ready to pack their suitcases and hop on a plane, train or automobile to spend time with friends and family and enjoy a holiday meal with one another. Levitt Foundation Executive Director Sharon Yazowski has beat the Thanksgiving travel rush and is already on the road to Grand Rapids, Mich., where she’ll present takeaways from Levitt’s recently published white paper tomorrow at the 2017 ARNOVA conference—a convening of scholars, teachers, and practitioners from across the country who’re interested in research on nonprofit organizations, philanthropy and civil society. Continue reading


All through the summer and fall, Levitteers filled our live #musicmoves feed with photos and videos capturing the fun and excitement of free concerts all over the country! Whether you were showing off your dance moves, grooving along to the awesome musicians on stage, or simply kicking back with friends and family, it’s been a treat to see how live music invigorated your lives and your communities. Watch our highlights video above, and check out the #musicmoves contest winners who won iTunes gift cards this year below!

Thank you for making the Levitt AMP Music Series so memorable this year! We’re already looking forward to 2018 and seeing more of your #musicmoves.

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Today, we salute the courageous men and women who’ve fought for the freedoms we Americans hold dearly. The fundamental American freedoms that are positioned at the core of the Levitt program—like the right to gather and the right to express ourselves—are defended by the brave and selfless individuals who’ve served (and continue to serve) in the Armed Forces. Coming from all backgrounds and bringing their own unique talents, service members reflect the rich diversity of this country. 

We’ve all enjoyed the musical talents of the veterans below—from iconic rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix to 2000s R&B crooner Shaggy. And these are only a few of the countless individuals who’ve helped to protect our rights AND shape American music history.

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A still from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music video of a Beethoven Performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Virtual reality was used to remotely broadcast the concert with visualizations.

Have you seen the new virtual reality (VR) music video for “Ogilala” by 90s rocker Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)? Or pop songstress Bjork’s exhibition of virtual and augmented reality videos promoting her new album? Or perhaps the LA Philharmonic’s VR music video filmed at a live Beethoven performance? These are just a few examples of how a once elusive idea in technology—interactive media—is quickly becoming a new frontier for creative production in music.

And interactive media isn’t serving solely as music accompanist; rather, it’s helping us better understand the musical experience as a whole and re-purpose academic research in music into something far more wondrous and accessible. Today, we’re highlighting a few instances at the intersection of music and interactive media that have caught our attention for their creative ingenuity and captivating approach. Perhaps most telling, they help us explore what it means to hear, interpret and love music from an entirely new vantage point. So grab your headphones, enter full screen mode on each video and immerse yourself in these sonorous experiences.

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Voting for the 2018 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is now officially open! Each year, the Levitt Foundation awards $25K matching grants to up to 15 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities across the country. Since all Levitt projects are community-driven, each year the Top 25 Levitt AMP finalists are chosen through online, public voting, open to all.

Vote for your favorite Levitt AMP proposals (up to 5 per person!) and you can help decide which towns and cities will be one step closer to receiving a Levitt AMP grant to present their own Levitt AMP Music Series. With 150 free concerts around the country (10 in each community), the series will inject new life into underused public spaces across America. Vote now! Voting ends November 20, 5PM PST. Spread the word!

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Levitt Foundation Executive Director Sharon Yazowski presenting at the 2017 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference.

Yesterday, Levitt Foundation Executive Director Sharon Yazowski was out in the field with Slover Linett Audience Research President Sarah Lee, presenting an interactive session at the 2017 Grantmakers Makers in the Arts Conference in Detroit. Together they demystified the process of impact assessment, sharing experiences from Levitt’s own journey into the creation of a multi-year impact study with Slover Linett and giving professionals in the grantmaking community the tools and knowledge they need to embark on their own assessment journeys.

Inspired by yesterday afternoon’s presentation, today we’re releasing the fourth installment of our “Research Recap” blog series, featuring posts that highlight a particular finding from our recently published impact study. With tomorrow being Halloween—an evening where costume-clad celebrators take over sidewalks (some of the most common public spaces out there)—we’re focusing on the value of spaces where people of all ages can move around freely.

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Pictured above: Levitt’s Sharon Yazowski and Vanessa Silberman with Matt Kowal and Lisa Gedgaudas of Denver Arts and Venues in front of the Stax Museum of American Soul in Memphis, Tenn.

Today, Executive Director Sharon Yazowski and Senior Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives Vanessa Silberman are representing the Levitt Foundation at the 2017 Music Cities Convention in Memphis, Tenn. (one of our nation’s great ‘music cities’!). They’ll be joined by local Levitt Shell Executive Director Anne Pitts and Levitt Pavilion Denver Executive Director Chris Zacher—who’ll be presenting at the conference. Continue reading

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Next summer, Southern raconteur Paul Thorn and his six-piece band will team up with five-time GRAMMY-winning Gospel legend, Blind Boys of Alabama, for a one-of-a-kind musical collaboration as headliners of the 2018 Levitt National Tour. Levitt audiences across the country will experience these exhilarating, soulful shows blending old-school gospel with rock, blues and country.

Taking place next June and July, the 2018 Levitt National Tour will stop in seven cities including Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Los Angeles; Memphis; and Sioux Falls, S.D. (the future home of Levitt Shell Sioux Falls). The Tour follows on the heels of the 2017 Levitt National Tour, which featured Gulf Coast Soul sensation The Suffers, and previous Levitt National Tours featuring genre-busting violin outfit Black Violin (2015) and the world-music fusion of Playing For Change (2014).

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