Author Archives: Nicole McGaffey

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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

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!

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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

What is parking day?
Held the third Friday of every September (tomorrow!), Park(ing) Day transforms parking spaces across the globe into enlivened pocket parks or parklets—like succulent gardens, pop-up yoga sessions and dog-filled ‘barklets.’ For one day a year, Park(ing) Day inspires citizens, artists and activists to work together to reimagine urban communities with more open spaces.

Who/what brought this global urbanist holiday to life?
In 2005, San Francisco-based art and design studio Rebar converted a single metered parking space into a temporary mini park in the heart of the city’s downtown. The project was created in response to the fact that, at the time, 70 percent of the city’s public spaces were devoted to private vehicles. The Rebar team selected a parking space in a concrete-heavy area of the city, popped a few coins in the meter, rolled out living grass and added a bench and potted tree. Within minutes, the team saw curious passersby step into the space and interact with one another. “We created an opportunity for social interaction that wasn’t there before,” they remarked in a 2017 Citylab interview.

How do you celebrate?
Rebar’s original installation has gone on to inspire communities across the globe to participate in Park(ing) Day. To join the fun, contact your local American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) chapter to learn how you can get involved and experience a temporary parklet near you.

Happy Park(ing)—send us your parklet pictures!

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Tonight, noted activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker and musician, Reverend Osagyefo (oh-sah-GG-fo) Uhuru (ooh-WHO-roo) Sekou (SAY-koo) wraps up the 2019 Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series with his Nashville blues band The Freedom Fighters—and next week, they’ll take their fiery fusion down to Chattanooga, Tenn. (9/12) and Berea, Ky. (9/13). Born in St. Louis, and raised in the rural Arkansas Delta, Rev. Sekou’s fervent anthems weave together Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis soul, 1970s funk and gospel. Drawing upon his background in music, ministry and advocacy, Rev. Sekou preaches high-energy messages of hope and empowerment, steeped in Southern soul. Continue reading


Tomorrow night, living cumbia legend La Sonora Dinamita brings its iconic Colombian rhythms, fiery horn lines and powerhouse vocals to Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles for the fourth time! Known for their historic Latin music taste-making, the group’s contagious tropical beats have helped to popularize cumbia music throughout Latin America and across the globe. Angelenos are in for an unforgettable night of danceable, “dynamite sounds” (as the band’s name loosely translates). In honor of tomorrow’s show, here’s 10 fun facts about this longstanding cumbia supergroup. Continue reading

2019_summer-music-moves-2As summer draws to a close, music-loving moviegoers are invited to celebrate the lasting legacies of two of modern-day music’s most influential artists, The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. Following a steady flow of music-driven film releases over the past year—from the Oscar-winning music drama, A Star is Born (October 2018); to the foot-stomping Queen celebration, Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2018); to Sir Elton John’s epic musical fantasy biopic, Rocketman (May 2019)—this summer brought the release of Yesterday (June 2019) and Blinded by the Light (August 2019).

Yesterday and Blinded by the Light put music front and center, with each film celebrating the prolific, award-winning catalog of an industry-shaping artist. Told from the fan’s perspective, the films invite audiences to rediscover the work of The Beatles and The Boss alongside its main characters—reminding us all of their musical genius and the universal appeal of their work. Read on to learn more about these two films and the timeless music that inspired them! Continue reading