Community is at the heart of every Levitt concert—whether it’s at a permanent Levitt venue or one of 15 Levitt AMP concert sites across the country. As Friends of Levitt nonprofit partners and Levtitt AMP grantees curate an exciting roster of local, regional, national and international artists for their free concert lineups, they also develop meaningful partnerships with a range of community organizations, schools, nonprofits and affinity groups that play an important role in programming and enhancing the Levitt experience. By reflecting the vitality of the towns and cities they call home, Levitt venues become an extension of home itself.
Throughout each concert season, community partners bring their connections with Levitt to life and perform on Levitt stages! These performances have given, and continue to give, music-loving Levitteers a chance to see their respective community’s diverse cultures, history and talents reflected on stage. From local youth ensembles to vibrant dance troupes and more, read on to learn how free Levitt concerts across the country are bringing their local communities into the spotlight.
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.
"The Bridge" by Elena Colombo (2011); SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus, home to Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks (Bethlehem, PA)
"Sky Song" by Nick Guerts and Ryan Elmendorf (2017); Levitt Pavilion Denver (Denver, CO)
Bryce Chisholm's 2017 mural at the Brewery Arts Center, home to Levitt AMP Carson City (Carson City, NV)
Colorful Main Street crossing near Levitt AMP Denison (Denison, TX)
Eighth note bike rack (2017) near Levitt AMP Denison (Denison, TX)
Larger-than-life guitar by 413 Makers (2017) near Heritage Park, home to Levitt AMP Denison (Denison, TX)
M.I.K.E (Musically Integrated Kiosk Environment) by Richard Saxton and Stuart Hyatt, with help from Sheboygan community members (2006); John Michael Kohler Arts Center, home to Levitt AMP Sheboygan (Sheboygan, WI)
"Steel Guitar" by Chris Fennell (2012); Levitt Shell (Memphis, TN)
"The Blue Trees" by Konstantin Dimopoulos, with help from Chattanooga community members (2016) and "Intrusion" by Harry McDaniel (2017); Bessie Smith Cultural Center, home to Levitt AMP Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN)
“Ain’t Life Grand” by Hughey & McNeil (2015); Bessie Smith Cultural Center, home to Levitt AMP Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN)
“A Future and a Hope” by Charlie Brouwer; Bessie Smith Cultural Center, home to Levitt AMP Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN)
“La Diva I” by Ruth Aizuss Migdal; Bessie Smith Cultural Center, home to Levitt AMP Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN)
“Sister” by Charlie Newton (2017); Bessie Smith Cultural Center, home to Levitt AMP Chattanooga (Chattanooga, TN)
Community creation of Habitat for Humanity "Can Houses" (2017); Berea’s Old Town Artisan Village, home to Levitt AMP Berea (Berea, KY)
Communal vase-making project led by ceramist Vartan Poghosian of 4 Elements Studio (2017); Levitt AMP Utica lawn at Kopernik Park (Utica, NY)
Mural of former pro-skateboarder Harold Hunter by Dean "Ras" Innocenzi (2017); Front Street, across from Mill Hill Park, home to Levitt AMP Trenton (Trenton, NJ)
"Got the City on my Back" by artist and 'Murals on Front' curator Leon Rainbow (2017); Front Street, across from Mill Hill Park, home to Levitt AMP Trenton (Trenton, NJ)
Carved fence post on Dog Mountain, home to Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury (St. Johnsbury, VT)
Carved winged dog sculpture atop Stephen Huneck's Dog Chapel (interior shown on the right) on Dog Mountain, home to Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury (St. Johnsbury, VT)
Carved blue bird perched in a tree on Dog Mountain, home to Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury (St. Johnsbury, VT)
"DREAM" by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg (2015); Levitt Pavilion Arlington (Arlington, TX)
"Kaleidoscope of Dreams" by Canvas by Canvas (2016); Levitt Pavilion Arlington (Arlington, TX)
Sounds, colors and people fill a Levitt lawn, infusing a palpable energy into an underused public space. More and more, public art—whether it’s a temporary installation, a permanent mural, or an interactive sculpture, to name a few—is becoming part of the Levitt experience across the country. Below are some of the exciting ways Levitt communities have embraced the multidimensional power of the arts in public spaces. Continue reading →
We’re thrilled to announce that The Suffers, an 8-member band hailing from Houston who blend musical influences as diverse as rock, R&B, country and reggae into a dynamic sound they’ve coined “Gulf Coast Soul,” will headline the 2017 Levitt National Tour. Now in its third year and created to celebrate the collective impact of the Levitt network of music venues in communities across the country, the 2017 Levitt National Tour will stop in six Levitt cities this July and August—Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Denver; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio (home to a future Levitt Pavilion). This summer’s tour will invite Levitt audiences to experience these rising stars and critical darlings, hailed for their infectious rhythm and horns section mixing seamlessly with the sultry vocals of singer Kam Franklin. Continue reading →
Summer has long been synonymous with outdoor concerts across the country. A simple search for “free outdoor concerts” yields hundreds of thousands of results coast to coast. Each year brings an increasing number of opportunities to experience free, live music in outdoor settings—from single concerts centered around a specific celebration like the annual Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; to coordinated events like Make Music Day, when dozens of U.S. cities celebrate the summer solstice through free music performances; to weekly concert series like Summerstage in parks throughout New York City and free Levitt concerts in towns and cities across America.
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 →
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is thrilled to announce that Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be home to a new permanent Levitt venue, presenting 50 free concerts every year featuring a diverse range of emerging and acclaimed talent. Set to open in 2019, Levitt Shell Sioux Falls will be located within the city’s beautiful and historic namesake, Falls Park, and will be known locally as “Levitt at the Falls.” This new venue will be part of the national network of permanent outdoor Levitt music venues with locations in Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Denver, Colo. (opening in 2017); Houston (opening in 2018); Los Angeles; Memphis; Pasadena, Calif.; and Westport, Conn.
Change embodies creative placemaking focus for Foundation
Last month, we announced some exciting news—the work of our national nonprofit, Levitt Pavilions, will be carried out by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation going forward, furthering our mission to strengthen communities across the country through free, live music.
Since 2005, the Levitt Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to its nonprofit partners and grantees to support free concerts in communities large and small. As Liz Levitt Hirsch, president of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, explained, “This exciting change signals our resolve to direct the majority of the Foundation’s philanthropy towards creative placemaking programs that focus on free concerts in public spaces. With funding now geared to one main cause, it made sense to place the operations of our national organization under one roof and to function as the Levitt Foundation, thus sunsetting Levitt Pavilions.” Continue reading →
What a difference a year can make! During the past year we’ve watched 10 Levitt AMP sites come to life—transforming underused public spaces into vibrant, music-filled community hubs. With the inaugural Levitt AMP Music Series coming to a close this week, we’re celebrating some of the many ways this free, community-driven outdoor music series has impacted the 2015 Levitt AMP grantees’ hometowns.
Although the first Levitt AMP chapter is about to conclude, the next is already underway! The application period for the 2016 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards has just ended and the applicant pool has nearly doubled from 2015.
Which brings us to some fantastic news! Recognizing our nation’s growing need to come together as communities, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded Levitt AMP to 15 grants to be awarded across the country in 2016! That’s right, 15!
Pictured from L to R (top row): Levitt Pavilion Arlington; Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles; Levitt Shell Memphis; (bottom row): Levitt Pavilion Pasadena; Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks; Levitt Pavilion Westport.
Across the country, another spectacular season of Levitt concerts has come to a close, and we’re once again celebrating the undeniable power of free, live music to bring people together of all ages and backgrounds, creating stronger communities. Watch your favorite Levitt venue in action!
You may ask, who brings the Levitt program to life, year after year? Your local Friends of Levitt nonprofit, that’s who! Each Friends of Levitt manages, programs and fundraises for the 50 free concerts every year. This is an impressive feat when you consider the sheer number of acclaimed artists presented on a Levitt stage featuring a range of music genres; the first-rate production crews and state-of-the-art sound and lighting; as well as the additional programming and activities realized through local partnerships to create unforgettable evenings of free music under the stars. Rounding out the experience are the passionate volunteers whose friendly smiles and enthusiasm embody that warm sense of community found on Levitt lawns.
And yet the Friends of Levitt nonprofit is only part of the equation. Equally important is the community of supporters—audience members who donate on the lawn, businesses sponsoring shows, grants from foundations, and local family and individual donors—whose generous contributions ensure the free music continues each year at their Levitt venue. Continue reading →