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.
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, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and the City’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“For the past two years, I've been honored to be a part of this series. Jazzanooga is the only minority based organization to receive this grant, and Levitt helps celebrate the diversity of our community. It's a series that truly welcomes everyone and amplifies the historical significance of the Big Nine,” 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.
Local headliner Seaux Chill says, "Headlining the Levitt Amp Concert Series became one of the most fulfilling moments I have ever been able to encounter. The platform Jazzanooga allowed me was not only a platform to share my work with the city of Chattanooga in a new and bigger way; but was also the stepping stone to the next level of my musical career. Right here in Chattanooga, The Bessie Smith Hall was full of diversity and togetherness that transcended age, background, gender, and color. The impact on everyone who was involved is inescapable as my team and I are still experiencing immense community response from that night."
"My experience with the Levitt Foundation and Chattanooga through Jazzanooga was a wonderful experience. They're extremely professional, they had a great venue, they treated us well, we got great publicity, and they were very good to work with. I am so proud and happy that they have won the award again because they are most deserving, " says Dr. Clark White, aka Deacon Bluz, who was a local headliner this year.
The 15 Levitt AMP winners hail from rural towns with populations of less than 10,000 like Earlham, Ia.; Soldotna, Ak.; 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 Chattanooga, Tenn.; Green Bay, Wi.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Springfield, Il.; 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.
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 (opened 2018), Sioux Falls (opening 2019), and Houston (opening 2020), amongst other cities.