Author Archives: Nicole McGaffey

Tonight, the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series continues with a throwback to one of the most memorable nights of Levitt AMP Carson City’s 2019 season. Tune in to enjoy full concert footage of Tribal Celtic powerhouse The Wicked Tinkers delivering an exhilarating performance to more than 3,000 concertgoers from The Change Companies stage at the Brewery Arts Center. The virtual show celebrates Carson City’s communal effort to save a community treasure and transform an underused downtown into a thriving arts destination.

What a difference five years can make
Nestled just minutes from world famous Lake Tahoe, bustling Reno, historic Virginia City and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, Carson City has aptly been described as “the centerpoint of your Nevada experience.” Boasting exciting new opportunities for residents to work, play and connect, it’s no surprise that the city’s population of more than 55,000 is growing larger and more diverse. Five years ago, walking down Main Street in Nevada’s capital city would have felt like a different street altogether. The city had just started work on the last leg of a new freeway linking Reno and Carson City. This new stretch of road would go on to increase regional and national traffic flow, and decrease through-traffic congestion through the heart of downtown Carson City. This pivotal infrastructure change laid the groundwork for Carson City’s historic downtown to become a more visitor and resident-friendly destination. With significant changes underway, the City had also just approved redevelopment plans for the downtown area, but the arts were not yet a part of the revitalization strategy.

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Historic photo of Carson Brewing Company; Courtesy of Nevada Historical Society

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This summer, Levitt AMP communities coast to coast are bringing the joy of free, live music straight to you with the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series! The 20-concert series co-presented by the Levitt Foundation launches tonight at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT with a one-of-a-kind evening curated, produced and presented by the Levitt AMP Galva team. The virtual show will include intimate performances and interviews with acclaimed homegrown artists Chicago Farmer and Edward David Anderson, along with footage from a newly released mini-documentary about the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series—giving viewers a taste of what makes the rural town of Galva, Ill., such a vibrant place to call ‘home’ and why supporting the area’s creative economy is so vital.

A community-driven effort, decades in the making
e6c20cc1e9213bd52925900c53cf5784Nestled in Northwest Illinois, the 2,500-person community of Galva is one of many small rural communities that make up Henry County. Once home to an utopian-esque Swedish settlement, this historic and culturally-rich county has been shaped by agriculture, industry, Swedish artisan craft traditions, and, more recently…live music.

Bringing free, live music to Galva became a reality in 2018 with the inaugural Levitt AMP Galva Music Series, yet this community-wide effort has been decades in the making. For the past 30 years, the dedicated volunteers of the Galva Arts Council (GAC)—many of whom are still active—have worked together to position art as a community-building tool and have built a culture of volunteerism, laying the groundwork for the Levitt AMP Music Series to succeed. With robust experience rallying support for community arts experiences, like the launch of the GAC’s Coffeehouse Music Series in 1992, series organizer and Henry County native John Taylor saw the GAC as a natural fit to lead the Levitt AMP effort. Continue reading

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Humans are hardwired to respond to music. Imagine watching a thriller film without a tension-building soundtrack—would it be nearly as suspenseful? Or imagine trying to lull a baby to sleep with a driving rock song—would it be nearly as calming as a mellow lullaby? Music impacts how we feel and function by triggering our brains and bodies to become more alert or more relaxed. This makes music a powerful tool for regulating stress levels and feeling calm during challenging times.

With today’s ongoing public health crisis bringing a range of new challenges, we’d like to share five ways music can be woven into your daily life to help lower stress, boost your mood, provide comfort and promote better sleep. Continue reading

We’re filled with gratitude for all the selfless individuals working around the clock to keep our friends, family members, colleagues and neighbors safe during this global health crisis. Beyond our gratitude, these individuals also need our help right now. If you’re looking for ways to support and protect healthcare workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines, please read on for suggestions. Continue reading

Last updated May 7, 2020

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With performances, festivals and tours now cancelled across the globe, many artists have lost their source of income for the foreseeable future. We’ve compiled a list of organizations providing emergency funding to artists who’ve been impacted by COVID-19. Please share these resources with artists and organizations that support artists in your community. While the historic CARES Act stimulus package includes direct relief for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy, it’s just the beginning of what’s needed. Artists—who give so much to so many—are going to need additional support to get through this crisis.

If you’re in a position to lend some extra support to help artists get through these trying times, please consider donating directly to one of the organizations below or through Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief project—which will match your donation dollar-for-dollar to provide a collective $10 million of support to a growing list of partnering organizations offering emergency art relief funds to artists. Continue reading

graphic4Sunday is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women. On this day—and all throughout Women’s History Month (happening now!)—we celebrate the achievements of women around the globe and spread awareness of gender bias and inequality. In this vein, today we’re shining the spotlight on a few fearless females who have used their musical gifts to break barriers and help forge a more just and equitable world. Continue reading

$25K matching grants will bring free outdoor concerts to 20 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America

Today, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation awarded $500,000 in matching grants to 20 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to produce free outdoor concerts as part of the sixth annual Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. Reflecting the Levitt Foundation’s commitment to creative placemaking projects generating community support, the Levitt Foundation once again opened the Levitt AMP selection process to the public to choose the top 25 finalists. Continue reading

Reflecting our mission that all Levitt projects be community-driven, we’re once again opening the grant selection process to YOU! This year, 33 applicants were invited to advance to the online public voting phase and we’re calling on you to help determine which of them will make it into the Top 25. Now through November 20 at 5pm PST, vote for up to five Levitt AMP proposals to help bring your favorite applicants one step closer to transforming an underused public space into a thriving community-wide destination through the power of free, live music. Happy voting!