For the second year in a row, Delta State University has been selected to host the Levitt AMP Grant Awards, a 10-week series of concerts created in 2014 by Levitt Pavilions and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.
Levitt AMP brings the joy of free, live music to people of all ages and backgrounds living in small to mid-sized towns and cities, transforming neglected public spaces into thriving community destinations.
The grant provides a $25,000 matching fund to provide the free outdoor concerts featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians. The Delta Music Institute at Delta State will once again take the lead on this unique platform. The schedule will kick off in the fall season, and dates and artists will be announced at a later date.
Like last year, the Green Space on the Crosstie Walking Trail in downtown Cleveland will act as the venue for the 10 performances. The space offers an ideal destination where the entire community can gather to celebrate the Delta’s rich musical legacy and the historic launch of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, opening on Delta State’s campus in March.
Cleveland amassed enough online voting support to bring the series back to town, an opportunity that will be provided to only 14 other communities across the nation.
Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, took the lead on the grant application last year, and worked hard to secure the series again in 2016.
“Knowing how the concert series impacted the Cleveland community last year made it personally challenging for me to do all that I could to develop a quality application that the Levitt Foundation could support for a second year,” said Boyles. “This second grant would not have been funded if not for the great work of the DMI in producing the series, and the incredible support of the city of Cleveland, the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, and the Cleveland community. The enthusiasm, community support and the strong partnerships is what has made this successful.”
Boyles was quick to point out that this is a matching grant, meaning that in addition to the $25,000 provided by Levitt, it is expected that the community also contributes financial resources.
“We are required to raise an additional $12,500,” she said. “We are seeking sponsors and will be announcing sponsorship packages in the next few weeks. If you or your business is interested in being a sponsor, please contact Tricia Walker of the DMI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-846-4579.”
Walker and fellow DMI instructors are credited with guiding their students in making last year’s lineup a success. DMI students will once again play a major role in the production process — from securing talent, to providing sound and lighting at the concerts.
Amber Foster, a DMI entertainment industry studies graduate in December, produced the 2015 series lineup for her senior project. In the role, she booked, organized and managed all 10 concerts.
“It’s so exciting as a senior to be able to take on a project like this,” said Foster. “For an entertainment industry student, this is the kind of experience we dream of and hope to have. Although, it is a huge responsibility to take on something like this when you have other classes, work, etc. It was so much fun.”
Foster now serves as the administrative assistant/patrons coordinator at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus, and she looks forward to supporting the 2016 Levitt campaign in any way she can.
“I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the community, sponsors, partners, voters and volunteers who made it happen,” she added. “Music is moving our community forward, and its only going to get better.”
The concert series will reflect three goals defined by Levitt Pavilions — to 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.
In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50-plus free concerts every year. Within the region is the Levitt Shell (http://www.levitshell.org) in Memphis, Tennessee. Learn more about locations and impact: http://www.levittpavilions.org.