Yearly Archives: 2019


Springfield Wins Grant to Present the Second Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series

$25K in matching funds will once again bring free outdoor concerts to Y Block

December 20, 2019 —Today, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation named Springfield, Illinois as one of 20 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 Y Block. Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation submitted Springfield’s Levitt AMP proposal.

In July, 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

“We are thrilled to announce the 2020 Levitt AMP Grant Awards winners, and express our appreciation to everyone who voted online to choose the finalists,” says Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of the Levitt Foundation. “As a returning Levitt AMP community, we’re excited to see how Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation will continue to breathe new energy into the Y Block through the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, while bringing residents together to envision the future of this historically significant space.”

The 2020 Levitt AMP winners include 5 new and 15 returning grantees from a broad range of communities: rural towns with populations of less than 5,000 like Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.; Houston, Mississippi; and Soldotna, Alaska; mid-sized cities like Carson City, Nevada; Stevens Point, Wisconsin; and Woonsocket, Rhode Island; and larger cities with populations of 80,000 to 115,000 like Merced, California; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Springfield, Illinois. 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 200 free Levitt AMP concerts across the U.S. in 2020.

Berea, Kentucky* (population: 15,787)

The Berea Arts Council will present the fourth Levitt AMP Berea Music Series, celebrating the city’s social justice heritage and energizing its historic Old Town Artisan Village with an eclectic array of musical experiences from across the globe. The 2020 series will continue to fuel Old Town’s economic recovery and transformation into a welcoming hub for art, food and community gatherings.

Carson City, Nevada* (population: 55,414)

The Brewery Arts Center will present the fifth Levitt AMP Carson City Music Series in the heart of the community’s Historic District, a once-neglected street corridor that has been transformed into a thriving cultural destination through the free concerts. The upcoming Levitt AMP series will deepen activation of the space, further solidifying the Brewery Arts Center’s role in fostering community cohesion and pride during Levitt AMP concerts and beyond.

Earlham, Iowa* (population: 1,417)

The Levitt AMP Earlham Music Series, presented by Earlham Chicks with Checks, will return for a second year, furthering Earlham City Park’s transformation into a vibrant, music-filled gathering place. The 2020 series will offer a diverse array of high-caliber performances and foster inclusivity and connectedness both in Earlham and across surrounding communities. 

Fort Smith, Arkansas (population: 87,845)

64.6 Downtown will present the first Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series at the Riverfront Amphitheater on the shores of the Arkansas River, creating a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and advance the community-driven effort to create a thriving and diverse economy. The series will use free, live music as a vehicle to strengthen the social and economic fabric of this former manufacturing hub.

Gallup, New Mexico (population: 21,929)

The first Levitt AMP Gallup Music Series presented by the Gallup Main Street Arts & Cultural District will breathe new life into the underused Courthouse Square in the heart of Gallup’s Historic Downtown. The upcoming series will celebrate Gallup’s rich cultural diversity, bringing together all those who call Gallup ‘home’ to build a positive and inclusive community identity, while fostering civic pride.

Galva, Illinois* (population: 2,485)

The Galva Arts Council will present the third Levitt AMP Galva Music Series in Wiley Park, further transforming the green space into a dynamic hub for connectedness and self-expression through free, live music from across the globe and helping the community envision the park’s forthcoming permanent stage. The 2020 series will invite concertgoers of all ages and backgrounds to take part in growing and sustaining Galva’s creative economy.

Houston, Mississippi (population: 3,459)

The first Levitt AMP Houston Music Series presented by Potter’s House will create an inclusive, music-filled gathering space within the scenic 10-acre Legion Park. Situated just blocks away from the city’s once bustling downtown, the upcoming series will highlight the potential of the underused local green space, while bringing momentum to local efforts to energize the city’s economy through strategic cultural initiatives.

Merced, California (population: 83,316)

The first Levitt AMP Merced Music Series presented by the University of California Merced will infuse creative energy into the underused Merced Open Air Theatre in Applegate Park. Situated in the heart of California’s Central Valley, the upcoming series aims to build a stronger and more unified community by providing a place where concertgoers of all walks of life can discover and celebrate their shared humanity and cultural vibrancy. 

Ocala, Florida* (population: 60,429)

Marion Cultural Alliance will present the fourth Levitt AMP Ocala Music Series on the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Complex’s Webb Field, a once-forgotten three-acre green space that has now become a vital part of West Ocala’s cultural and economic development through the free concerts. The 2020 series will further activate this space, creating accessible multi-layered arts experiences while showcasing local nonprofits and cultural organizations. 

Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia (population: 708)

The Levitt AMP Shenandoah Junction Music Series presented by Jefferson County Parks and Recreation at “The Amp” marks the next chapter in the decades-long journey to create a vibrant, music-filled community gathering place in the 130-acre Sam Michaels Park. The Levitt AMP Music Series will elevate and expand the amphitheater’s existing concert series, bringing together people from throughout the area to enjoy world-class music while building community. 

Soldotna, Alaska* (population: 4,689)

Vision Soldotna will present the second Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series in Soldotna Creek Park, a former maintenance yard on the banks of the Kenai River that has been transformed into a vibrant green space where music fills the air. The 2020 series will focus on strengthening relationships between Soldotna’s diverse cultural communities and fostering further diversity and inclusivity.

Springfield, Illinois* (population: 114,868)

Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation will present the second Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, furthering the renewal of an underused space in Springfield’s historic business district

where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his pivotal “House Divided” speech. The 2020 series aims to expand outreach to Springfield’s underserved communities and foster meaningful connections through interactive on-site experiences. 

St. Johnsbury, Vermont* (population: 7,375)

Catamount Arts will present the fourth Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series on Dog Mountain, a

breathtaking dog-friendly destination in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Rural Enterprise

Assistance Project Zone. With new accessibility features in place, the 2020 series is poised to bring together people of all walks of life from “St. Jay” and beyond, and will continue to enliven this former industrial area through diverse arts programming, 

Stevens Point, Wisconsin* (population: 26,161)

CREATE Portage County will present the fourth Levitt AMP Stevens Point Music Series in Pfiffner Park, a lush green space that runs along the Wisconsin River. The 2020 series aims to foster a local creative economy and further illustrate the power of creative placemaking, empowering residents of all ages and backgrounds to come together and shape the future direction of the downtown and riverfront while enjoying free, live music.

Utica, New York* (population: 60,100)
The Levitt AMP Utica Music Series presented by Utica Monday Nite will return to Kopernik Park for a fifth year, expanding community engagement through layered arts and vendor experiences while deepening partnerships with underserved refugee communities. The 2020 series will continue to build a stronger, more unified community while inspiring further investment in the park, nearby Oneida Square and surrounding neighborhood.

Whitesburg, Kentucky* (population: 1,875)

The Cowan Community Center will present the third Levitt AMP Whitesburg Music Series on the Mountain Heritage Festival Stage, further revitalizing the community’s downtown core through diverse, high-quality arts experiences. The 2020 series will continue to transform the site of a former railroad yard and shuttered high school into a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can envision, celebrate, and build in a stronger and healthier community.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island* (population: 41,603)

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley will bring the third Levitt AMP Woonsocket Music Series to life in River Island Art Park, continuing to reinvigorate the scenic, once bustling public gathering place in the heart of the city through engaging, family-friendly concerts. The 2020 series will continue to serve as a cultural, community and economic catalyst for the city—bringing residents and local businesses together to celebrate and strengthen downtown Woonsocket.

Multi-Year Grant Recipients (3-year funding)

Last year, the Levitt Foundation awarded multi-year funding to three returning grantees who had made a tremendous impact in their communities every year since the launch of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards program in 2015. Main Street Middlesboro, John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Trenton Downtown Association were each awarded multi-year funding to present the Levitt AMP Music Series in their cities in 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

Middlesboro, Kentucky (population: 9,460)

Through the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, Main Street Middlesboro has transformed a vacant gravel lot into a vibrant gathering space complete with a volunteer-installed lawn and donated permanent stage. The 2020 series will build upon this momentum, augmenting the community-driven revitalization of its downtown and positioning the series for a wider impact through robust partnerships with local and regional nonprofits.

Trenton, New Jersey (population: 84,964)

Trenton Downtown Association has made remarkable strides in strengthening the social and economic fabric of the state capital’s historic downtown core through the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, bringing together a richly diverse community through the power of free live music, while creating a thriving cultural destination in the centrally located Mill Hill Park.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin (population: 48,329)

The Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series has sparked significant investment in the area while bringing people together downtown. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center will present the 2020 series in the city’s vibrant City Green—once the site of a vacant large retail store, now an energized green space complete with a permanent stage in the heart of the city’s newly created Arts, Culture and Food District—celebrating this multi-year placemaking milestone.


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 750,000 people annually through 600+ free, family-friendly concerts in 28 towns and cities. As an example of the high-caliber talent presented across the Levitt network, the 2020 GRAMMY nominees include 17 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.; Dayton, Ohio; Bethlehem, Pa.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Memphis; 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. Due to accelerating interest from cities and engaged citizens, the permanent Levitt venue program is growing. Developing Levitt locations across the country include San Jose, Calif. and Houston, amongst other cities. Learn more at

By |2019-12-23T14:51:31-06:00December 23rd, 2019|News|Comments Off on Springfield Wins Grant to Present the Second Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series


IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         

December 3, 2019

Sheila Walk, 217.753.3519
Julia Frevert, 217.789.2235


Springfield, Illinois – The City of Springfield and the Springfield Area Arts Council have announced the opening of the nomination period for the 20th Mayor’s Awards for the Arts.  These awards recognize outstanding talent in and dedication to the arts in Sangamon and Menard counties, the area served by the Springfield Area Arts Council.   The seven award categories include Individual Visual Artist; Individual Performing/Literary Artist; Arts Organization; Arts Volunteer; Arts Educator; Arts Student; and Business Committed to the Arts.

The deadline for nominations is 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 30, 2019.  Nomination forms for the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts are available online at ( and Hard copy nomination packets are available at the reception desks at the Hoogland Center for the Arts box office (420 S. 6th Street), Lincoln Public Library (326 S. 7th Street), Petersburg Public Library (220 S. 6th Street), and Springfield’s Municipal Center reception desk (300 S. 7th Street). Packets also can be requested via e-mail at

There is no cost to nominate and there is no limit to the number of nominations that may be submitted by a person. However, separate forms must be used for each nomination. Nominations may be submitted for previous nominees who have not been award recipients.

Since the first presentation in 1985, 94 awards have been presented to individuals, organizations, and businesses.  The complete listing of previous winners is attached.

The awards selection committee, appointed by the mayor, will review the nominations and select the award recipients in the designated categories.  The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Monday, January 13, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in the LRS Theater at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  The winners also will receive artwork created by a commissioned Sangamon or Menard county artist, a tradition of the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts program.  The public is invited to the ceremony and complimentary reception.

For additional information about the program and nomination process, please call the Arts Council office at 217.753.3519.

By |2019-12-03T21:37:30-06:00December 3rd, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2020 MAYOR’S AWARDS FOR THE ARTS

Uptown Friday Night Resumes After Renovations

This long-running, year-round jazz and blues live music series is held weekly at Robbie’s Restaurant on the Old State Capitol Plaza South from 5:30 to 7:30.  A 50/50 raffle benefits Arts Council programming.

After a five-month renovation made necessary by flooding at Robbie’s, owner Archer Bailey is re-opening the restaurant! He will host Uptown Friday Night, the Arts Council’s free performance series, starting on November first. As before, the music will run from 5:30 to 7:30 on Friday evenings.

The series offers outstanding jazz and blues, excellent food and drink, and great company – all while supporting the Springfield Area Arts Council


1 Michael Burnett and the Blue Suns

8 Stuart Smith Quintet

15 Craig Russo’s Latin Jazz Project

22 Baaad Boyz

29 Closed


6 Best of Both Worlds

13 Stone Cold Blues Band

20 Chris Camp and His Blues Ambassadors

27 Closed

By |2019-10-29T01:15:25-05:00October 29th, 2019|News|Comments Off on Uptown Friday Night Resumes After Renovations

Terrain Biennial Event 2019 in Enos Park

The Terrain Biennial 2019 at Enos Park, Springfield

Opening Celebration in Enos Park: October 5, 3:00 – 7:00 PM

Exhibition: October 5 – November 16, 2019

Terrain Exhibitions, along with the Springfield Art Association and the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association, is pleased to present the Terrain Biennial 2019 in Springfield, Illinois. The Terrain Biennial is an international exhibition of site-specific art made for front yards, empty lots, balconies, and porches. Centered in the historic village of Oak Park, IL, the Terrain Biennial 2019 will occur at over 30 locations throughout the world – among them, Enos Park in Springfield.

The Terrain Biennial 2019 at Enos Park will open on Saturday, October 5 and run through Saturday, November 16th. An Opening Celebration event will take place on opening day, October 5, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, and feature a self-guided tour of sites in the neighborhood as well as local food trucks. The Springfield Art Association will serve as the central hub for the event where a map of sites will be available, and where food trucks — Wafflelicious Café, Skippers Island Oasis, and Rolling Meadows — will be stationed throughout the event.

In 2017, the Enos Park neighborhood in Springfield served as an ancillary site for the Terrain Biennial and was met with critical praise and resounding support and enthusiasm from the community. This year the Terrain Biennial returns to Enos Park with twenty sites that feature local, regional and national artists. During the six-week exhibition run, The Terrain Biennial will repurpose private spaces such as front yards, porches, or windows, turning them into public spaces in order to foster dialogue between neighbors and provide opportunities for artists and viewers alike to experience new perspectives. A map of Terrain Biennial locations in Enos Park will be available at the Springfield Art Association throughout the exhibition and online at

The Terrain Biennial 2019 at Enos Park will feature:

Jessica Bingham curated by Alex Martin (Peoria, IL)

Brytton Bjorngaard (Springfield, IL)

Rachel Cohn (Muncie, IN)

Betsy Dollar (Springfield, IL)

Eric Ford (Madison, WI)

Morgan Rose Free (Columbus, OH)

José Guadalupe Garza (St. Louis, MO)

Brian Gillis (Eugene, OR) + Mike Miller (Springfield, IL)

Kevin Harris curated by Marianne Laury (St. Louis) / Granite City Art and Design District (GCADD)

Jennifer Holt (Decatur, IL)

Elisabeth Horan (Champaign-Urbana, IL)

Gina Hunt (Chicago, IL)

Thad Kellstadt + Tim Nickodemus (Chicago, IL)

Edward Kelley (Des Moines, IA)

Yowshien Kuo (St. Louis, MO)

Guen Montgomery (Champaign-Urbana, IL) + Emily Bivens (Knoxville, TN)

Melissa Pokorny (Champaign-Urbana, IL)

Edo Rosenblith (St. Louis, MO)

Carla Fisher Schwartz (Chicago, IL)

Rachel Youn (St. Louis, MO)

The Terrain Biennial at Enos Park is organized by local artists and organizers Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson. For more information, contact or

Images from the 2017 Show in Enos Park

Artist: Betsy Dollar (Springfield, IL)

Artist: Sage Dawson (St. Louis)

Artist: Dawn Gettler (Peoria, IL)

Artist: Heather Brammeier (Peoria, IL)

Artist: Gail Simpson (Madison, WI)

By |2020-06-10T17:12:40-05:00October 3rd, 2019|News|Comments Off on Terrain Biennial Event 2019 in Enos Park

“You Are Here” to Highlight Springfield Artists and Organizers

Local artists, organizers, and curators Jeff Robinson and Allison Lacher have recruited seven artists that have worked with them here in Springfield to write about. . .working here, in Springfield. Funded by Sixty Inches from Center and Illinois Humanities, the essay series “You Are Here” will be published on Sixty Inches from Center. A physical compilation of the essays will be printed.

The first essay by Astrid Kaemmerling was published on August 22nd  This essay and the ones to come shine a light on art in Springfield.

Find the full essay and more information HERE —>

By |2019-08-30T01:33:24-05:00August 30th, 2019|News|Comments Off on “You Are Here” to Highlight Springfield Artists and Organizers

First Night® Springfield Call for Performers

The Arts Council invites performers (musicians, magicians, artists, dancers, jugglers, et cetera) to be part of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Springfield Area Arts Council’s signature event is First Night® Springfield, a family friendly, handicapped-accessible, and affordable celebration of the arts. First Night Springfield would not be possible without its generous donors and talented performers who assist us in carrying on a memorable tradition.

This being said, the Arts Council invites performers (musicians, magicians, artists, dancers, jugglers, et cetera) to be part of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

To apply to perform, please submit contact information, a performance sample, and requested stipend for a 45-minute show to the Springfield Area Arts Council at

Deadline:  July 31, 2019

For more information, please call 217-753-3519.

By |2019-07-15T04:09:33-05:00July 9th, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on First Night® Springfield Call for Performers

Artist on the Plaza and Music at the Market Begin Their 2019 Seasons

The Springfield Area Arts Council’s mission is to enrich the community through the arts. To help complete this purpose, the Springfield Area Arts Council produces two outdoor summer performance series called Artist on the Plaza and Music at the Market. Both performance series are free to the public and feature local talent. Funding for these events comes from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Springfield, HSHS St. John’s Hospital, and downtown merchants.

Artist on the Plaza

Takes place every Wednesday between Memorial Day and Labor Day (May 29 – August 28)

12:00 to 1:00 P.M.

On the Old State Capitol south lawn

This event is family friendly and is the perfect way to spend the lunch break.



29 – Phil Steinberg, the songs of Sinatra


5 – Springfield Area Youth Jazz Band, jazz instrumental

12 – Mark Mills, guitar and vocal

19 – Monica Hays, vocal

26 – Lady Carol and Her Knights, rhythm and blues


3 – Joe Allen, guitar and vocal

10 – Messengers for Christ, gospel

17 – Route 66 Quartet, barbershop

24 – Mary Bryant Home singers, vocal

31 – St. Andrew’s Society, Scottish dance


7 – Britney long, country

14 – Ryan Mobley, guitar and vocal

21 – Gerald Cole, rap

28 – Derrick Streibig, guitar and vocal

Music at the Market

Takes place every Saturday from May 18 to October 26

10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

At the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market

On Adams Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets

This event is also family friendly and a great way to spend Saturday mornings.



18 – David Tell, Native American flute

25 – Arlin and Erin, singer/songwriters


1 – The Dandelion Pickers, folk

8 – Tim Garman, dulcimer

15 – Dennis Darling, keyboard

22 – Idle Oath, bluegrass

29 – Liz Fitz, eclectic


6 – Rhodes and Battles, singer/songwriter

13 – Hannah Mobley, ukulele

20 – Andrew Heathwaite, children’s music

27 – Last Acre, folk


3 – Adrian Russo, piano jazz

10 – Cowboy Randy, yodeling and roping

17 – Jones and Chase, country

24 – Rachel Rambach, singer/songwriter

31 – Casey Cantrall, singer/songwriter


7 – Peaches and Bacon, banjo and fiddle

14 – Larry Stevens, guitar and vocals

21 – Mike Anderson, dulcimer

28 – Lowder and Manning, singer/songwriter


5 – Tom Irwin, singer/songwriter

12 – Jake McNamara, ukulele

19 – Dan Grover, guitar and vocals

26 – Eldon Roark and Troy Roark, magician and juggler

By |2019-06-21T14:31:08-05:00June 21st, 2019|News|Comments Off on Artist on the Plaza and Music at the Market Begin Their 2019 Seasons
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