A concert at Levitt Pavilion Dayton in Dave Hall Plaza
Happy Park and Recreation Month!
This July organizations across the country are celebrating Park and Recreation Month by using the hashtag #OurParkAndRecStory and sharing how green spaces have made their communities stronger, more vibrant and more resilient.
At the Levitt Foundation, ensuring access to green space is an essential part of our mission to foster equitable, thriving and sustainable communities. Through partnerships with nonprofits across the country, we support the activation of underused parks, vacant downtown lots, former brownfields and more to create green spaces where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to enjoy both the beauty of nature and the power of free, live music through Levitt concerts.
From left to right, top to bottom. Ann Brusky, Nancy Halverson, Meaghan Singletary and Sharon Yazowski participate in the “Expanding Place Through Adaptive Programming” panel at the Walk/Bike/Places conference.
During last month’s Walk/Bike/Places conference, Levitt Foundation Executive Director Sharon Yazowski moderated an engaging virtual panel with Levitt grantees from Sioux Falls, S.D., Trenton, N.J. and Sheboygan, Wisc., titled “Expanding Place Through Adaptive Programming.” The conversation focused on how these nonprofits continued to build community through the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how their experiences and lessons learned have influenced their programming in 2021 and beyond, expanding their thinking around place, access and the arts.
“This past year was focused on adaptive programming to continue to connect people with each other to offer comfort, healing, and a sense of togetherness, even while needing to be apart,” Yazowski said. ”Through rethinking their programming these three nonprofits created a sense of place and opportunity for social connection beyond their traditional sites.”
Part of our new series on the impact of Levitt AMP Bridge Grants nationwide
Today, as the second installment in our series showcasing the impact of the 2020 Levitt AMP Bridge Grants across the country, we’re turning our attention to three projects that engaged their communities through visual art: a vibrant mural in Middlesboro, Kentucky; a one-day sidewalk chalk festival in Trenton, New Jersey; and a community-made art installation in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.
Tonight, the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series comes to a close with a one-time virtual concert featuring Trenton’s legendary soul, funk and disco singer-songwriter, Sarah Dash. Co-presented by the Trenton Downtown Association, the nonprofit behind the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, tonight’s virtual performance celebrates Dash’s 75th birthday (her special day is August 18!) as well as the community’s ongoing efforts to expand the mix of artistic offerings and revitalize the local economy through the power of free music. Tune in at 8pm ET/5pm PT at https://levittamp.org/virtual!
The arts as community builder
Located less than a half hour from Philadelphia, Trenton is New Jersey’s state capital and home to just over 83,000 people. Known for its Revolutionary War era historical landmarks, including the Battle of Trenton Monument (where George Washington earned his first military victory), the city became a center for manufacturing and ceramic industries in the early 19th century, inspiring the proud slogan “Trenton Makes The World Takes” still visible on the city’s iconic bridge. Like many other former industrial hubs, however, the loss of manufacturing and industry brought challenges to the area in recent decades, including shuttered businesses, a shrinking population and a high poverty rate. Still, the city boasts vibrant racial and cultural diversity with nearly half its residents being African American and nearly 37 percent Hispanic.
Since its founding in 1987, the Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) has been working together with other local nonprofits to revitalize the city’s economy while providing accessible arts opportunities for residents. For years, TDA Executive Director Tom Gilmour and Development Manager Meaghan Singletary have also worked alongside statewide organizations and companies like the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. to further develop the vibrant arts scene in the city. They recognize the importance of expanding a “thriving arts and culture scene that is representative and has the ability to become an economic driver and a community-building vehicle for the city,” explains Gilmour. Over the years, TDA had spearheaded several well-established and collaborative art projects—like the Trenton Film Festival, Art All Night and Murals on Front Street—helping Trenton forge a path forward by nurturing the local creative economy and expanding arts engagement, providing opportunities for the community to come together and experience the arts free of charge. With robust experience organizing community events, Trenton’s community-oriented leaders were poised to collaborate to bring the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series to life.
Tonight, genre-busting troubadours Making Movies bring their eclectic fusion of rock, cumbia, and spoken word to Levitt AMP Trenton. Known for their contagious Afro-Latin rhythms, socially-conscious messages, and heartfelt performances, Levitt AMP Trenton concertgoers are in for a fantastic show tonight. The members of Making Movies are no strangers to Levitt. Tonight’s show will mark the band’s fifth appearance on a Levitt stage—with past performances in Sheboygan, Wis. (2018), Santa Fe, N.M. (2018), Denver (2017) and Memphis (2017). Continue reading →
Earlier this season, we shared the first five Levitt AMP Music Series lineups to invigorate small to mid-sized towns and cities through the 2018 Levitt AMP Music Series—today we’re pleased to shine the spotlight on five more incredible Levitt AMP lineups that are thrilling Levitteers this season!
With free Levitt AMP concerts already underway in 13 towns and cities from coast to coast, this year’s Levitt AMP Music Series is in full swing and we’ve loved seeing the ways #musicmoves concertgoers and communities nationwide! Today we’re taking a closer look at the exciting talent lighting up the Levitt AMP stages in Sheboygan, Wis.,Carson City, Nev.,Utica, N.Y.,Trenton, N.J., and Woonsocket, R.I.! Featuring a wide array of musical styles and genres, ranging from explosive rock ‘n’ roll, to velvety R&B and danceable mariachi (among many others!), these lineups are bringing lively and eclectic concerts that audiences of all ages, backgrounds and musical tastes are bound to enjoy. Scroll down to learn more about the rising stars and award-winning talent filling these five communities with the joyous sounds of free, live music! Continue reading →
Along with July being National Picnic Month, this month is also National Park and Recreation Month, which makes sense considering that picnics and parks go hand in hand! We love this infographic created by National Recreation and Park Association that shares some fun facts about community spaces boosting positive attitudes toward cultural diversity, how playing outside enhances vision and that half of exercise in America takes place at parks.