Author Archives: Nicole McGaffey

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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

The devastation of COVID-19 has impacted just about every aspect of day-to-day life, including the way we’re called to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. With fewer cars on the roads and planes in the sky, many of us are seeing improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These changes are temporary and have come at a tremendous cost, but they speak to our collective power to impact the health of our planet.

While we’re physically separated right now, there are plenty of ways we can come together this Earth Day to celebrate and protect this remarkable planet. Here are five ways you can take action from your home.   Continue reading

Artmaking is proven to reduce stress levels, foster hope and build connection, so it’s no surprise that so many of us are embracing our ‘inner artist’ during this crisis. Creativity—in all its forms—can help make these challenging times more manageable. In a recent NPR interview, University of Alabama Birmingham neuroscience professor Christianne Strang explained that “creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world”—all of which are invaluable right now. Today we’re sharing a few heartwarming ways people are getting creative with physically distant communal artmaking. 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

Last updated May 4, 2020

As we navigate this unprecedented time, people are turning to the arts for comfort, healing and ways to connect. Across the globe, artists and arts organizations are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak with innovation and creativity—providing ways for us to continue celebrating our shared humanity, even when we’re physically separated from one another. In the coming weeks, we’ll be shining the spotlight on the creative sector’s response to this crisis—and how it’s helping to make this uncertain time more manageable for us all. Today, we’re highlighting a sampling of arts organizations bringing you, your friends, family and neighbors a dose of culture to enjoy from the comfort of your home. 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

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Today we celebrate the life and legacy of ‘daring dreamer’ and visionary American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drawing inspiration from his faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and activist Bayard Rustin, Dr. King devoted his life to the fight for equality for African Americans and all victims of injustice. In his brief 39 years, the Atlanta-born Baptist minister organized countless nonviolent protests—including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Birmingham Campaign, the Selma to Montgomery marches and the March on Washington—and founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement. Named TIME’s 1963 “Man of the Year” and honored with the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King became an icon of hope whose actions helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1963, Dr. King shared his dream of a nation where his four children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” His courageous life continues to inspire and empower generations to bring his ‘daring dream’ to life.

$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