The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation named Chattanooga, Tennessee as one of 15 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to win a Levitt AMP Grant Award of $25K in matching funds to present a free concert series on the lawn of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
“We are beyond excited to receive funding for the second year in a row to produce the Levitt AMP Chattanooga Music Series," says Chattanooga CEO & President, Bob Doak. "Last year, this series did an incredible job uniting the community in one of our city’s most historic districts for some of today’s best entertainers. We are grateful to the Levitt Foundation and to our local partners for making this happen. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.”
Jazzanooga submitted its Levitt AMP proposal and will oversee the production and talent booking for the series. Jazzanooga is partnering with the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and the City’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“Last year, I was honored to work alongside my community partners to not only highlight the cultural and historic significance of the MLK Blvd. district, but to also provide a free and safe community space to celebrate our city's unique diversity through music. I was pleasantly surprised and very humbled to see that our city has received support from the Levitt Foundation another year,” says Shane Morrow, Jazzanooga Co-Founder & Director.
In June, the Levitt Foundation invited nonprofits to submit proposals that would reflect the three goals of the Levitt AMP awards: Amplify community pride and the city’s unique character; enrich lives through the power of free, live Music; and illustrate the importance of vibrant public Places. Nonprofits that received a previous Levitt AMP grant were eligible to reapply. In an effort to inspire and engage communities across the country around the power of creative placemaking, the Levitt Foundation opened the selection process to the public to choose the top 25 Finalists.
The public voted on the submitted proposals over a three-week period in November, selecting their favorite projects online.
"We are thrilled to announce the 2018 Levitt AMP Grant Awards winners. Each made a compelling case for how the Levitt AMP Music Series will create vibrancy in a public space and strengthen the social and economic fibers of their communities," says Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of the Levitt Foundation. "It will be exciting to see the positive impact of last year’s Levitt AMP Chattanooga Music Series continue on the lawn of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, shining additional light on the historic Martin Luther King District and helping to reestablish the area as a thriving cultural destination.”
The 15 Levitt AMP winners hail from rural towns with populations of less than 10,000 like Whitesburg, Ky.; Galva, Ill.; St. Johnsbury, Vt.; and Middlesboro, Ky.; to mid-sized cities like Berea, Ky.; Carson City, Nev.; Ocala, Fla.; Sheboygan, Wis.; Stevens Point, Wis.; Utica, N.Y.; and Woonsocket, R.I.; to larger cities spanning the country including Escondido, Calif.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Trenton, N.J. Each winner will present 10 free concerts featuring a diverse lineup of high-caliber entertainment as part of the Levitt AMP Music Series, for a total of 150 free Levitt AMP concerts across the U.S. in 2018.
“We had a blast playing Levitt, and it was really great to check out all of the other amazing talent as well. It was exciting to play in such a historical part of the city, known for its musical heritage, and to see people gathering on the Blvd. today, once again for music. We're so thrilled to hear it will be returning in 2018,” says 2017 local headliner, Nick Lutsko.
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is a private foundation that exists to strengthen the social fabric of America. Through its support of creative placemaking, the Levitt Foundation empowers communities to transform underused public spaces into welcoming destinations where the power of free, live music brings people together and invigorates community life. The Foundation's primary funding areas include permanent Levitt venues and the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards, an annual grants competition. During the past decade, the Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to support access to free, high-caliber live music experiences while bringing new life to public spaces.
The Levitt network of permanent outdoor music venues and AMP concert sites collectively serves more than half a million people annually through 450+ free, family-friendly concerts in 23 towns and cities. As an example of the high-caliber talent presented across the Levitt network, the 2018 GRAMMY nominees include 15 artists who have performed on Levitt stages in recent years.
Permanent Levitt venues are located in cities as diverse as Los Angeles; Denver; Westport, Conn.; Bethlehem, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Arlington, Texas. Each permanent Levitt venue presents 50 free concerts every year and is programmed, managed and supported by its own 501(c)(3) Friends of Levitt nonprofit organization, with Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles run by the Foundation. Due to accelerating interest from cities and engaged citizens, the permanent Levitt venue program is growing. Developing Levitt locations across the country include Dayton (opening 2018), Sioux Falls (opening 2019), and Houston (opening 2020), amongst other cities.