VALDOSTA – The Turner Center for the Arts has been awarded $90K for a multi-year grant to present free outdoor music concerts.
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a social impact funder supporting nonprofits nationwide at the intersection of music, public space, and community building, has announced that The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia has been awarded a multi-year Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Award of $90K in matching funds to present a free outdoor music series at Turner Center Art Park in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
Reflecting the Levitt Foundation’s commitment that all Levitt projects be community-driven, the 2023–2025 grant recipients were selected following a public voting period and comprehensive internal review process. Combining 15 new and 18 returning grantees, the Levitt Foundation will award $3 million dollars to nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities across the U.S. as part of the Levitt AMP Music Series, featuring a diverse lineup of artists, music genres and cultural programming to create inclusive experiences that are welcoming to all members of the community.
“Since the Levitt AMP Grant Awards began in 2015, we’ve seen grassroots nonprofits inspire transformation in their towns and cities through free outdoor concerts—activating underused public spaces, ensuring access to the arts, sparking additional investments, and strengthening the social fabric of their communities. Positive change happens when people of all ages and backgrounds come together and we’re thrilled to support changemakers like The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts,” says Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of the Levitt Foundation. “The first Levitt AMP Valdosta Music Series at Turner Center Art Park will present a broad array of live music and enriching arts experiences, creating a central gathering place to celebrate the diversity of the community.”
The Levitt AMP Grant Awards is an exciting, multi-year matching grant opportunity bringing the joy of free, live music to towns and cities with a population of up to 250,000 people. For the 2023–2025 grant cycle, the Levitt Foundation expanded the Levitt AMP program from an annual matching grant of $25K into a three-year matching grant of $30K per year, for a total grant award of $90K per recipient. In April, 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.
From Main Street communities to rural towns in the heart of Appalachia to historic state capitals, the 33 Levitt AMP 2023–2025 grant recipients hail from across the country including rural towns with populations of less than 10,000 like Littleton, N.C.; Whitesburg, Ky.; Galva, Ill.; Earlham, Iowa; Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.; Soldotna, Alaska; and St. Johnsbury, Vt.; to mid-sized cities like Selma, Ala., Carson City, Nev.; Gallup, N.M.; Ocala, Fla.; Utica, N.Y.; and Woonsocket, R.I.; to larger cities spanning the country including Fort Smith, Ark.; Springfield, Ill.; Green Bay, Wis., Flint, Mich.; Trenton, N.J.; and Baton Rouge, La. Below is the full list of Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards recipients (in alphabetical order):
Batesville, Arkansas (population: 11,166)
Main Street Batesville will present the first Levitt AMP Batesville Music Series in Riverside Park on the banks of the picturesque White River, creating joyous, inclusive opportunities to bring its increasingly diverse population together through live music. The music series is seen as a catalyst to help move the 200 year-old city forward economically and culturally.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (population: 222,185)
The first Levitt AMP Baton Rouge Music Series presented by Scotland Saturdays will enhance community-led efforts to revitalize the underused Scotlandville Plaza as a central gathering place in the heart of a historically Black neighborhood. The upcoming series will inspire the community to celebrate its rich musical heritage and highlight arts and culture in North Baton Rouge.
Berea, Kentucky (population: 15,773)*
Since 2017, the Levitt AMP Berea Music Series, presented by First Friday Berea, has infused new life and energy into the city’s City Park Expansion through multi-layered and inclusive arts experiences. The 2023 series will continue to spark further investment in the area, positioning Old Town to be a family-friendly destination for art, food, and community gatherings.
Carson City, Nevada (population: 55,244)*
Since 2016, the Levitt AMP Carson City Music Series, presented by the Brewery Arts Center, has fostered an exciting chapter of growth and community engagement for the arts hub and surrounding historic downtown area of Nevada’s state capital. The upcoming series will further solidify the Brewery Arts Center’s role in building community cohesion and local pride during the Levitt AMP Music Series and beyond.
Clinton, Oklahoma (population: 8,380)
Scissortail Productions will present its first Levitt AMP Clinton Music Series at the historic WPA-era bandshell in McClain-Rogers Park, rejuvenating the city’s history as the nucleus of arts and culture in Western Oklahoma. The music series will foster a family-friendly and diverse environment that will enhance community connections while driving cultural tourism and economic revitalization to this Route 66 town.
Colusa, California (population: 6,428)
The first Levitt AMP Colusa Music Series, presented by the Colusa County Arts Council at Veterans Memorial Park, marks the next chapter in the agricultural city’s efforts to amplify community pride in a region hit by wildfires and drought. The Levitt AMP Colusa Music Series will elevate and expand an existing concert series, bringing people together from throughout the area to enjoy music and inspire economic development in the downtown business district.
Cumberland, Maryland (population: 18,736)
Located in a corner of Appalachia bridging Maryland and West Virginia, the underused yet scenic Festival Grounds at Canal Place will be given new life as the Allegany Arts Council presents its first Levitt AMP Cumberland Music Series. The music series will bring together residents from various neighborhoods through the power of free, live music while generating foot traffic for local attractions and the historic city center.
Earlham, Iowa (population: 1,382)*
Since 2019, the Levitt AMP Earlham Music Series, presented by Chicks with Checks, has been fueling a community-driven effort to create a vibrant, music-filled destination in rural Iowa. Next year’s summer series will continue fostering inclusivity and connectedness in Earlham and throughout the surrounding areas, located a short distance from the state’s capital, Des Moines.
Flint, Michigan (population: 80,628)
The first Levitt AMP Flint Music Series, presented by Jazz on Wheels, will continue to build on the “musical infrastructure” locals have built, using music as a conduit for positive change in a city that has faced challenges. The concert series will transform the lawn outside Totem Books into an activated green space that brings diverse audiences together for entertainment and social connection.
Fort Pierce, Florida (population: 47,927)
Situated on Florida’s “Treasure Coast,” Fort Pierce’s Museum Pointe Park will become a vibrant gathering place for all residents to experience the inaugural Levitt AMP Fort Pierce Music Series presented by St. Lucie Cultural Alliance. The concert series will include multi-layered and inclusive arts experiences while contributing to the economic vitality of St. Lucie County.
Fort Smith, Arkansas (population: 87,788)*
Since 2021, the Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series, presented by 64.6 Downtown, has been breathing new life into an outdoor amphitheater in the heart of this former frontier town. While bringing attention to a beautiful, underused public space, next year’s series will continue to use free, live music as a vehicle to strengthen the social and economic fabric of this former manufacturing hub.
Gallup, New Mexico (population: 21,637)*
Since 2021, the Levitt AMP Gallup Music Series, presented by the Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District, has celebrated the city’s large Native community while fostering civic pride and reinvigorating the local arts scene. Next summer, Gallup MainStreet will build upon community efforts to nurture a positive and inclusive community identity while fostering civic pride.
Galva, Illinois (population: 2,539)*
Since 2018, the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series, presented by the Galva Arts Council, has inspired community-driven investment in the rural town’s local creative economy, transforming Wiley Park from an underused green space into a dynamic hub complete with a permanent stage for connectedness and self-expression. Next year’s series will continue to inspire local collaborations that go beyond the music series.
Green Bay, Wisconsin (population: 107,015)
The Levitt AMP Green Bay Music Series, presented by On Broadway, Inc., will return to breathe new life into the underused Leicht Memorial Park located on the western banks of the port city’s Fox River. With plans to build a new permanent stage and pavilion that can offer year-round events while sparking renewed investment in the historic business and residential district, the concert series will create a welcoming community destination for all.
Hana, Hawaii (population: 1,584)
Located along the world-famous Road to Hana, the grass lot below Hana Ranch Restaurant will feature the sounds of free, live music as Hana Arts presents the first Levitt AMP Hana Music Series, bringing residents and tourists together as one Ohana. The live music series will complement the weekly Farmer’s Market, generating renewed economic interest in locally-made goods while creating positive experiences and facilitating resilience among a community rich in Hawaiian culture.
Harrisonburg, Virginia (population: 51,430)
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance will present the first Levitt AMP Harrisonburg Music Series at Turner Pavilion, fulfilling an overwhelming local desire to activate the public space with intentional programming for residents of the “Friendly City.” Just on the cusp of their downtown’s economic redevelopment efforts, the upcoming music series will highlight the cultural diversity of this Refugee Resettlement Community with events that are welcoming, inclusive, and family friendly.
Littleton, North Carolina (population: 560)
The inaugural Levitt AMP Littleton Music Series, presented by Lakeland Cultural Arts Center, will be a key component of the rural town’s revitalization efforts to foster local business growth and bring the community together. The concert series held at the reimagined Lakeland Amphitheater, once a segregated high school that shuttered in the 1970s, will use the power of free, live music as meaningful tools for healing, inclusion, connection, and community engagement.
Middlesboro, Kentucky (population: 9,242)*
Since 2015, the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, presented by Middlesboro Main Street, has transformed a once vacant gravel lot into a vibrant gathering space and regional music destination in the heart of the Appalachia. The upcoming season will build upon this momentum, augmenting the community-driven revival of Middlesboro’s downtown, positioning the series for a wider impact through robust partnerships with local and regional nonprofits.
Ocala, Florida (population: 60,021)*
Since 2017, the Levitt AMP Ocala Music Series, presented by the Marion Cultural Alliance, has inspired an exciting new chapter for the historic Webb Field, a once-forgotten green space that has now become a vital part of West Ocala’s cultural and economic development. The 2023 series will continue to deepen local partnerships to create inclusive multi-layered arts experiences that amplify ‘One Ocala’.
Selma, Alabama (population: 17,625)
Black Belt Community Foundation will present the first Levitt AMP Selma Music Series in the city’s
Riverfront Park and Amphitheater, a rarely used public outdoor venue which rests on the banks of the Alabama River and overlooks the Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, a transformative site during the Civil Rights Movement. The concert Series will cultivate culturally-inclusive arts opportunities and further efforts to bring people together from all backgrounds through live music.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin (population: 48,153)*
Since 2015, the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series has sparked myriad ripple effects in this Wisconsin town, including the creation of City Green public space, an outdoor permanent stage, mixed-use residential housing, and new citywide cultural events. Presented by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the upcoming season will continue fostering opportunities for creative exchanges between artists and the public, while creating a stronger, more connected community.
Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia (population: 621)*
Since 2021, Levitt AMP Shenandoah Junction Music Series, presented by Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, has elevated and expanded Sam Michael’s Park’s existing concert series, bringing together people from surrounding rural communities to enjoy stellar music in the lush 130-acre park. The returning series in 2023 will help the previously underused amphitheater, aka “the AMP,” realize its potential as a welcoming music-filled destination for local residents.
Soldotna, Alaska (population: 4,705)*
Since 2019, the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series, presented by Vision Soldotna, has enlivened Soldotna Creek Park along the banks of the famed Kenai River, celebrating the community-driven effort that transformed a once contaminated maintenance yard into a vibrant gathering space for people of all ages and backgrounds. In 2023, the Levitt AMP Music Series will continue to honor the rich heritage of Soldotna’s diverse communities, including Alaska Natives.
Springfield, Illinois (population: 167,601)*
Since 2019, the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, presented by the Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, has ushered in a lively new era for the state capital’s historic downtown, transforming the formerly vacant “Y-block” into a community destination. The Levitt AMP grant will continue to unify the city by gathering residents from all walks of life to enjoy free, live music and build a shared vision for this long-dormant public space.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont (population: 5,815)*
Since 2017, the Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series, presented by Catamount Arts, has become a cornerstone of the summer recreation and community building efforts in this scenic rural community in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The 2023 music series will continue to energize the town’s lush, 150-acre Dog Mountain, bringing opportunities to deepen relationships with residents, artists, and downtown businesses, and continue building a thriving local economy.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin (population: 26,144)*
Since 2017, the Levitt AMP Stevens Point Music Series, presented by CREATE Portage County, has re-framed the story of small-town Midwestern living by elevating the local creative economy. Making the picturesque Pfiffner Pioneer Park its home, the upcoming music series will continue to shape the future of the city’s downtown and riverfront while fostering a stronger and more connected community, inspiring meaningful shared arts experiences in downtown Stevens Point.
Trenton, New Jersey (population: 83,387)*
Since 2015, the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, presented by the Trenton Downtown Association, has infused downtown Trenton with diverse music inspiring residents of all ages and backgrounds to gather in Mill Hill Park to enjoy multilayered arts experiences in the heart of the historic capital city. The 2023 series will build upon past efforts to nurture the creative economy of this former industrial hub, celebrating the past, while creating a vibrant new future.
Utica, New York (population: 59,984)*
Since 2016, Utica Monday Nite has presented the Levitt AMP Utica Music Series, positioning the city’s cultural assets at the center of its community-building efforts. Creating a safe and welcoming gathering place for the scenic Rust Belt city’s long-time residents and diverse refugee communities, the 2023 series will continue to build a stronger, more unified community, while inspiring investments in Oneida Square’s Kopernik Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Valdosta, Georgia (population: 55,567)
Destined to serve as a central gathering place that celebrates the arts and the diversity of its community, The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts will present the first Levitt AMP Valdosta Music Series at Turner Center Art Park and provide inclusive arts opportunities for all ages and backgrounds. The upcoming music series will enhance overall quality of life while supporting the sustainability of this South Georgia community, home to Moody Air Force Base and Valdosta State University.
Waco, Texas (population: 139,594)
The Levitt AMP Waco Music Series, presented by Creative Waco, will inaugurate the city’s new “Front Porch”—Bridge Street Plaza—that connects the commercial district of downtown Waco to the culturally-rich but formerly disinvested Elm Avenue corridor, which was a major stop on the Chitlin Circuit for Black entertainers during segregation. The music series will advance historic pride and future aspirations of a community poised for revitalization while promoting an equitable and thriving cultural community for all residents.
Whitesburg, Kentucky (population: 2,215)*
Since 2017, the Levitt AMP Whitesburg Music Series has sparked new energy and engagement with local shops, restaurants, art galleries, and the city’s farmers market, creating a thriving gathering place where community members come together through a shared affinity for live music. Presented by the Cowan Community Center, the upcoming series will bring a wide range of world-class talent to this rural Appalachian town and foster connections for a stronger and healthier community.
Wilmington, Delaware (population: 70,750)
Cityfest will present the inaugural Levitt AMP Wilmington Music Series at The Urban Artist Exchange Amphitheater, a key element in the city’s holistic re-imagining of a long-abandoned area into a thriving arts center. Located in Wilmington’s East Side, a predominantly African American neighborhood, the music series will invest in the artistic equity of the city, helping to reshape the community’s identity, stimulate civic engagement, and inspire economic growth through the power of free, live music.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island (population: 41,616)*
Since 2018, the Levitt AMP Woonsocket Music Series, presented by NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, has ushered in a new chapter for River Island Art Park in the heart of the city, inspiring catalytic cultural, social, and economic growth. The fifth season will continue to spark renewed life for the once underused green space, new collaborations with neighborhood groups, and inspire new businesses.
*Returning Levitt AMP grantee
To date, the Levitt Foundation has provided funding to over 50 communities across America through the Levitt AMP program.