Category Archives: News

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“Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these. This is triumphant music.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival

Last month we celebrated the legacy of Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a courageous African American visionary who challenged our nation to allow all citizens, regardless of skin color, to have the opportunity to reach their potential—as promised in the U.S. Constitution. He is one of the many African Americans who persisted in spite of tremendous adversity to help secure the civil liberties we enjoy today. His story is one of many. African Americans have made important contributions to all areas of American life. And this month, Black History Month, is an annual celebration of those contributions. As a funder of projects that build and strengthen communities through music, today we’re turning the spotlight on three African American jazz musicians who’ve used their talents to do just that. Continue reading

  • 1920 | Antwerp, Belgium – First Olympic flag, athlete’s oath and peace dove release

If you didn’t get up in the wee hours of the night to watch the opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, you’ll have the chance to join in on the ancient tradition this evening! Ceremonies have been an integral part of the Olympics since the earliest games in ancient Greece, when the start and finish of each game were marked by a celebratory feast, song and poetry. While rooted in the tradition of those first Greek games, modern Olympics feature elaborate opening, closing and medal ceremonies—with opening ceremonies showcasing the host country’s culture, history and importance to the global community. Today, we’re exploring how Olympic ceremonies have evolved since the first modern Olympic Games in Athens were held in 1896 and highlighting some of the historic ceremonies that laid the groundwork for the global spectacles we enjoy today. 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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Header-NADOLevitt Foundation Executive Director Sharon Yazowski is currently more than 3,000 miles north of our Los Angeles office, in Anchorage, Alaska—where this morning she delivered a plenary presentation at the annual National Association of Development Organizations Annual Training Conference. Using case studies from across the placemaking sector, including a selection from our own research, her session gave regional planning and economic development professionals from across the country a glimpse into the ways place-based initiatives, especially those involving the arts, can build social capital, strengthening communities in the process.

Screenshot 2017-06-16 14.24.54Inspired by this morning’s presentation, today we’re releasing the third installment of our “Research Recap” blog series, featuring posts that highlight a particular finding from our recently published impact study, and taking a closer look at “social capital.” The term refers to the value that is derived from existing within and being connected to social networks. While the term itself has been around for more than a century—and the practice, even longer—it’s becoming more prevalent in today’s lexicon, as more and more towns and cities recognize the importance of building a stronger and more cohesive community. Continue reading

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Calling all small to mid-sized towns and cities across America: show us how you’ll transform an underused public space through the power of free, live music! Now in its fourth year, the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is an exciting matching grant opportunity that supports impactful creative placemaking projects around the country.

Up to 15 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities will receive $25K each in matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series—an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of high caliber entertainment. And just like in previous years, the public will decide the Top 25 finalists through an online voting process taking place this November. So get ready to rally your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to vote and bring free, live music to your community!

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Tom Petty, you rock!
This Friday, just two days prior to the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards, three-time GRAMMY Award-winning rocker Tom Petty will be honored as the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As the 27th recipient of this prestigious annual award, Petty will follow in the footsteps of musical greats like Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Carole King—each boasting a robust musical legacy, as well as a long history of charitable work. Continue reading

  • Roddie Romero And The Hub City All-Stars

Levitteers always know they’re in for an incredible experience at Levitt venues, where everyone is welcome to enjoy artists of all music genres, for free. These talented performers range from up-and-coming acts to highly acclaimed artists, including a number of GRAMMY Award winners and nominees! Just today, the Recording Academy announced nominees for the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including 25 artists who have played on Levitt stages. Check out the nominees below, then hear them for yourself with our 2017 GRAMMY Nominees playlist! Continue reading

Levitt Pavilion Dayton Set to Open in 2018

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Image by Robin Feld

Dayton, Ohio is a city of innovators, inventors and dreamers. As home to numerous patents and inventions, the spirit of innovation permeates its entire culture. This is evident throughout the city, including in the ongoing reimagining of its downtown. Levitt Pavilion Dayton, located in Dave Hall Plaza—an underutilized public space sitting at the southern gateway to the city’s downtown—is set to play a major role in the revitalization of Dayton’s core and make it a welcoming destination for all. Continue reading

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“The times they are a-changin’” for the Swedish Academy, which recently announced American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Their nonconventional selection marks the first time the highest honor in the literary world has been awarded to a popular musician. In their announcement, the Nobel committee cited Dylan’s “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” as being worthy of the achievement, which has traditionally been given to renowned authors including Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Jean-Paul Sartre. Beyond the recognition of Dylan’s literary achievement, this year’s award also shows the Nobel Prize’s commitment to redefining the boundaries of literature. Continue reading

Using Levitt music venues as case studies, research examines value of different impact measurement approaches and offers insights into arts-based strategies to promote social connectivity

As interest in measuring and understanding the impact of arts investments in community development continues to grow, a new study released in November, Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes, offers insights for the field of “creative placemaking” and is a working illustration of what can and can’t be learned from different impact measurement approaches.  Continue reading