Author Archives: Nicole McGaffey

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

Jordan T meeting young fan_post

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 this week’s government relief package includes direct support 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 newly launched 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

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.

Experience museum collections from across the globe
As museums close their doors to the public, many are making their collections accessible online. From your couch you can take a trip around the globe, viewing world-class art from Paris to São Paulo via virtual museum tours from the likes of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. And in place of in-person public programming, many museums are giving audiences access to exclusive content online, like the GRAMMY Museum’s archived artist interviews and the American Museum of Natural History’s recorded tours. For those who simply need a calming moment to balance out their news intake, check out #museummomentofzen (trending on various social media platforms) for a curated collection of relaxing artwork from museums around the globe.

Streaming performances across music genres
From opera to country to hip-hop, the options for free online performances are abundant right now. After cancelling their upcoming operas, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera launched the Nightly Met Opera Streams to “provide grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. For a robust list of philharmonics, opera houses and orchestras providing free streamed performances (and other quarantine-friendly entertainment options) check out this recent AFAR article. And with each socially distant day, we’re seeing more and more live performances become available. Yesterday, Billboard released a lengthy list of live streams and virtual concerts—including the next installment of “Together, At Home: WHO-Global Citizen Solidarity Sessions,” a virtual concert series created to help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety by bringing people together through music. Several Levitt grantees are taking the same approach—like the Brewery Arts Center which launched the ‘Quarantine Concert Series’ this week, and CREATE Portage County which will be streaming intimate live musical performances via Facebook as part of its newly launched ‘Still Sessions’ series.

Communal artmaking (from afar)
Beyond presenting art, cultural organizations strengthen the social fabric of communities by providing places for people to come together, connect and express their creativity. We love the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fibers’ communal quarantine quilt project (which invites people to create a 12” x 12” section of a community quilt from home), and there’s also a plethora of interactive online dance classes becoming available, including the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and the Cleveland Ballet Conservatory. Cleveland Ballet Conservatory owner Kerry Skuderin is adapting to support students’ mental health, technique and sense of normalcy, explaining, “This is unknown territory, and we don’t know what is to come, but I have three children of my own and I know how much we need normalcy.” Online classes create a sense of structure for the students, as well the teachers/teaching artists—many of whom are now out of regular work and pay. Countless visual artists and musicians are following suite, offering students of all ages and abilities online lessons (including some through Levitt AMP grantee the Brewery Arts Center) and many art schools/universities are offering free college-level online arts courses, as well.

We’re so grateful to all the arts and cultural workers here in the U.S. and around the world for their continued commitment to building our local, national and global communities during this difficult time. COVID-19 has already had a devastating impact on the nonprofit arts sector. Click here to find out how you can take a few minutes to contact your local representatives to ensure these arts organizations can continue their work throughout and long past the current crisis.

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

MLK_levitt_loves_options4
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

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!

2019_Kody_West
Tonight, homegrown rising star Kody West is bringing his fresh blend of Texas country, bluegrass and ‘good-for-the-soul’ grooves to Levitt Pavilion Arlington. As the name of West’s 2017 debut album Green suggests, he and his band are young, vibrant and growing quickly. With thoughtful guitar-driven songs and smoky, heartfelt vocals, this quartet of early 20-somethings is emerging as a rising star in the Texas music scene. Continue reading