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$25K in matching funds brings free outdoor concerts to Old Town Artisan Village
.January 2, 2018 —Today, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation named Berea, Kentucky 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 at Old Town Artisan Village. Berea Arts Council submitted its Levitt AMP proposal.
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 at http://levittamp.org.
"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 Berea Music Series continue at the Old Town Artisan Village, further sparking the cultural district’s revitalization efforts by
presenting inclusive arts experiences for everyone to enjoy.”
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.
Berea, Kentucky* (population: 15,147)
The Berea Arts Council will continue to infuse vibrancy into the city’s Old Town Artisan Village—a historic cultural district recovering from years of economic hardship and vacancy—through multi-layered and inclusive arts experiences at the second Levitt AMP Berea Music Series. The 2018 series will help to spark further investment in the area, positioning Old Town to be a hub for art, food, and community gatherings.
About the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation
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.
Learn more at http://levitt.org.
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Voting begins on Wednesday, Nov 1 at 1:00pm EST and ends on Nov 20 at 8:00pm EST.
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What a week, Berea! This past Friday is in the running for our biggest dance party YET! Thanks to some wild tunes by The Lowdown Brass Band, Fritz Schindler and The Handshake Deals!
Not only did we have rockin' music, we also had a great week for LOCAL FOOD! Featured vendors included Noodle Nirvana, serving up KY Proud Chicken from Pilgrim's Pride in Hickory, KY - a cooperative of 176 families, as well as Elmwood Inn black tea in their delicious Thai Tea.
We also hosted KY Strong BBQ for the first time this week. Their commitment to serving up ONLY Kentucky grown and produced products is right in line with our values and commitment to sustainability!
Big special shout-out to our weekly vendor, Fannie's Country Fried Favorites. Each week, they've shown a dedication to working on goals of sustainability - they've switched to all compostable dishware, source their meat locally, and home make just about everything! WE LOVE YOU, THANK YOU!
Throughout this concert series, we are doing our best to ensure the events have a minimal impact on the environment. Thank you all for your compliance in sorting your waste at our recovery station - each week, we divert recycling and compost from the landfill. Curious for more information about why sorting waste is important? Check out this resource for more information. Diverting waste can create soil, mitigate impact of climate change, and reduce energy consumption. As this article says, "Translating recycling and composting into climate change impact reminds us that recycling and composting are a powerful and significant part of the solution. They are not trivial." THANKS FOR DOING YOUR PART TO SUPPORT OUR VISION!
See you this Friday for more stellar music, and don't forget to stop by our featured non-profit booth, Kentucky Heartwood.
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Week 7 - Aug 25. Lowdown Brass Band hailing from Chicago, Fritz Schindler Band, and The Handshake Deals.
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Four Leaf Peat, Justin Bridges & Jeremy Wade, Alan Copley & Josh Bailey. Aug 18th.
Did you recognize the instrument Cheick Hamila Diabate was playing? If not by sight, then by sound? That's called a ngoni, a traditional West African instrument and ancestor of the banjo. Diabate elaborates in a recent interview, "“Ngoni is the father of the banjo,” Diabate explains. “People speak about the banjo, how it came from the ngoni, but I hear the connection all the time. Every song I play on ngoni, I put onto the banjo and it works perfectly." (source: http://cheickhamala.com/blog/). Diabate weaves countless cultural influences together to produce this innovative sound, including traditional music from Mali, the U.S., and more modern beats from around the world.
We loved experiencing the thru-line of the banjo from The Local Honeys to Cheick Hamila Diabate, and the influence of traditional music present in all three of our acts that night. What a reminder of what we all have in common, no matter what diverse origins we come from. Be it musical tradition or any other aspect of culture and humanness, there is always a thru-line to tie us all together. That was clear Friday night, seeing everyone hootin' and hollerin' on the dance lawn!
Part of the vision behind these events that bring people together for fun is to enhance these bonds of community resilience. We may all come from diverse backgrounds, but what's our common thread? Live music, this place we all love, the values and experiences we all share? What's yours?
Find us at the info booth this Friday to begin to explore these questions, and our Facebook to stay up to date on the line up for the rest of the summer! Don't forget to comment or reach out and let us know what you're thinking about!
July 7: Ben Sollee
Sollee is a Kentucky born and raised classically trained cellist, composer, and storyteller who incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B. We love Ben for his music AND his commitment to environmental sustainability and community oriented touring practices. Did you know he's toured over 4,000 miles on his bicycle?!
Grits & Soul
July 14: Driftwood Gypsy
Based out of Lexington, KY, Driftwood Gypsy is a a sonic adventure rooted deep in the soul of jam funk fusion. Infectious grooves and charged up melodies reinforced by a contagious live performance fans like to call dabstomp. Y'all best come ready to dance.
The Blue Crawdads
July 21: Cheick Hamala Diabaté
A steward of the 800 year-old tradition of the Griot, the storytellers of West Africa, Cheick Hamala shares the oral history, music and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by parent to child. Cheick Hamala is a world-recognized master of the Malian ngoni, a stringed lute and ancestor to the banjo. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S. in 1995.
The Local Honeys
July 28: Cumberland River Band
Hailing from Harlan, Kentucky, the Cumberland River Band pays tribute to tradition, while carving out their own unique style in the bluegrass world. Their ultimate goal is to help preserve the national heritage that is bluegrass music. Featured in the show "Justified" by their original song of the same name.
August 4: Indighost
Indighost is a psychedelic rock band from the Appalachian Highlands area. The band is known for their stunning live visuals, dirty guitar tones, catchy melodies, and vocally driven concert experience. Modern sound with Vintage Vibes.
August 11: Roots of a Rebellion
Roots of a Rebellion [ROAR] hail from Nashville, TN and bolster Reggae-Rock-Dub music for the soul. Having shared the stage with The Wailers, Rebelution, NEEDTOBREATHE, Slightly Stoopid, moe, Trombone Shorty, North Mississippi Allstars, SOJA, and countless others, Roots of a Rebellion is proud to represent another side of Music City, USA.
The Jeff Richey Experience
August 18: Four Leaf Peat
Presented in partnership with the Berea Celtic Festival
Four Leaf Peat is East Tennessee’s premier Traditional Irish Band. Performances are always marked by a keen sense of the tradition mixed with just the right amount of influence from the rich musical history of East Tennessee. Four Leaf Peat's unique sound is a result of its members' various musical backgrounds ranging from Bluegrass and Old Time to Classical.
Justin Bridges & Jeremy Wade
Alan Copley & Josh Bailey
August 25: Lowdown Brass Band
Lowdown Brass Band, hailing from Chicago, is a horn-driven ensemble with strong roots in the New Orleans Second Line Tradition. A fierce sousaphone sets the foundation for trumpets, trombones and saxophones that intertwine in a cacophony of tight lead lines, spontaneous call-and-response and bombastic brass attacks. While taking a page from the jazz and blues giants of the past, LDB melds modern funk, hip-hop, reggae and pop into a unique style.
Fritz Schindler Band
The Handshake Deals
Sept 1: HuDost
The music of HuDost, the Neo Folk World Rock Ensemble from Montreal and NY, weaves a seamless tapestry of sound that renders tears and laughter in listeners, cultivating that nameless longing that abides somewhere in all our hearts.Their music is a rich, eclectic blending of Pop and Rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and Folk. Their sound crosses all borders and barriers, taking the listener on a journey they will never forget.
Anything But Sue
Last November, voters in Kentucky expressed confidence that President Trump could deliver on his promise to revive the coal industry, and he carried the state with 62 percent of votes.
We are launching an extensive marketing and community relations campaign with both small business and corporate marketing / outreach needs in mind. Your generous support is managed by the Berea Arts Council, a charitable 501c3.
As Featured in The Berea Citizen Living Section
The Levitt AMP grants, though the Levitt Foundation, strive to strengthen the social fabric of America through free, live music. Ali Blair, one of the organizers of First Friday, became interested in this grant as one way to fund the outdoor concerts that have been offered in Berea through the First Friday evening concerts, and Berea Tourism’s August concert series.
“We’ve been working on the partnerships for this grant for around 2 ½ months,” Blair said. “Both the First Friday concerts and the tourism summer concert series would be folded in if we receive the grant.”
If Berea’s grant application is successful, the concert series would take place in Old Town Artisan Center, in front of the old cabin, and would run from June to August for ten consecutive weeks. The Levitt Foundation’s goals are for these live concert series to appeal to a diverse population, and be accessible for people from all socio-economic levels and abilities. According to Blair, successful grant applications must also include a vibrant use of public spaces for the events.
All of the grants have been posted to the https://grant.levittamp.org website. The 25 grant applications that receive the most online voting will be selected for review, and the Levitt Foundation will then select 15 of the strongest applications from the 25 for funding. Winning organizations will receive matching grants of $25,000. The Berea grant is listed under the Berea Arts Council, which applied for the grant.
People can vote once per email address; the voting deadline is Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. The winners will be announced on Jan. 5, 2017.
A quote from Berea art application reported that, “Art and specifically music, is seen as a communications bridge between differing worldviews and socio-demographics. The Levitt AMP Berea Music Series would offer an accessible, diverse cultural enrichment opportunity and serve to increase public awareness of and appreciation for the work of musicians as artists, helping Bereans reconnect with our roots, asserting the kinship of all people. When we meet together with a playful spirit, we are more likely to recognize our humanity during controversy.”
The College’s EPG program will be collecting data, if the grant application is successful, to measure the economic and cultural impact of the event.
Berea College EPG, Berea Tourism, and First Friday Berea ask supporters to spread the word to family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to sign up and vote for Berea’s proposal. Learn more at http://levittamp.org
Presented by Berea Tourism and supported by the Kentucky Foundation for Women and Alternate ROOTS.
Poster designed by our friends and First Friday Berea Sponsors -Mountain Tech Media!!
Are you ready for more awesomeness Berea??? Please RSVP for First Friday Berea July 1st - Presented by MACED in the Artisan Village: Berea, KY! The great folks at MACED have been working to make meaningful differences in the Central Appalachian region since 1976, and lately they've been behind the scenes helping some wonderful entrepreneurs in many ways! A few of these amazing folks will be featured at First Friday Berea, including Fiber Frenzy LLC, Foley's Florist, Herb & Willow, Meadow House Studio, Mountain Tech Media, Mustard Tree Counseling, Native Bagel Company, Noodle Nirvana, Prosigns, LLC., and Village Trough. Come support our local economy, y'all!