Arts Grants Available

The Springfield Area Arts Council announces the start of this year’s COMMUNITY ARTS ACCESS re-granting program.   The deadline for fiscal year 2023 grant applications is Friday, October 14, 2022.  Grant-funded projects must take place between December 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.

Non-profit organizations in Sangamon and Menard counties are invited to apply for funding for their arts-related programing.

Guidelines and application materials also are available on the Arts Council website [http://springfieldartsco.org/community-arts-access/] and may be requested from me at 217-753-3519 or programs@springfieldartsco.org.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

New this year – Applicants may complete an online form found here:  https://form.jotform.com/222491100797051.

Community Arts Access grants are given in conjunction with the Illinois Arts Council Agency.  The grants provide the opportunity for local arts agencies like the Springfield Area Arts Council to distribute state funds in their own service areas according to local needs.  The program is designed to give the community more access to the arts, especially among under-served populations.

The Springfield Area Arts Council, a 46-year-old local non-profit, enhances the quality of life in its geographic area and enriches the community through its performing and visual arts programs and events throughout the year.  Its grant programs provide critically-needed funds to assist individuals and organizations in fulfilling their missions.

Fiscal year 2022 grantees and their programs follow.

Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts and Research Center – Music Lessons

Hoogland Center for the Arts – Disney’s Descendants

Illinois State Museum Society – Noir:  Art Exhibition

James Weldon Johnson Study Guild – Writing Contest

Land of Lincoln Barbershop Chorus – Barbershop and Country Concert

Menard County Singers – Rehearsal and Performance Space Rental

The Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space – Emerging Artist Program

Scholastic Art Awards, Mid-Central Illinois Region – Honors Day Classes

Senior Services of Central Illinois – Senior Art Classes in Acrylics

Springfield International Folk Dancers – Rehearsal Space and Costume Storage Rental

Springfield Urban League – After-school Art Academy

Theatre in the Park – Pre-show Entertainment

Voices of Love, Peace, and Joy – Music Scholarship Concert

By |2022-09-12T20:22:34-05:00September 12th, 2022|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Arts Grants Available

Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation Receives $90K, Multi-Year Grant to Continue Presenting the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series through 2025

The expanded grant opportunity provides matching funds over three years bringing
free outdoor concerts to the “Y-Block”

Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards over a light blue map of the United States

SPRINGFIELD (September 6, 2022)—The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a social impact funder supporting nonprofits nationwide at the intersection of music and public spaces, has announced that Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation in Springfield, Ill., has been awarded a multi-year Levitt AMP Grant Award of $90K in matching funds to present a free outdoor music series in 2023, 2024, and 2025. As a current Levitt Foundation grantee, Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation submitted its Levitt AMP proposal to continue its Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, which began in 2019.

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. In May, the Levitt Foundation invited current grantees to reapply and submit proposals that would reflect the three goals of the Levitt AMP Awards: Amplify community pride and a city’s unique character; enrich lives through the power of free, live Music; and illustrate the importance of inclusive and vibrant public Places. All 18 returning Levitt AMP grantees were awarded $90K matching grants each to present the Levitt AMP Music Series in 2023-2025, reflecting a total grant award of $1.62 million.

In addition to returning grantees, the Levitt Foundation will award up to 10 additional U.S. nonprofits a total of $900K to bring the Levitt AMP Music Series to their communities. Following an open call for applicant submissions in June, the new Levitt AMP grant recipients will be announced on November 15, 2022. 

Since 2015, the Levitt Foundation has provided funding to 38 communities across America through the Levitt AMP program, activating underused outdoor public spaces, ensuring access to the arts, and strengthening the social fabric of communities through creative placemaking. Levitt AMP concerts are intended to create inclusive experiences, where all members of the community are welcome to participate and enjoy a diverse lineup of artists, music genres, and cultural programming.

“Emerging from the pandemic, we have all witnessed the importance of community and connection on our well-being, and free, live music in public spaces is a powerful way to bring people together of all ages and backgrounds. Expanding the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards into a multi-year, $90K grant and inviting additional towns and cities into the program was inspired in part by the positive impact Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation is having on the local community,” says Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of the Levitt Foundation. “We look forward to the continued impact of the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, which has inspired a cross-section of the city to reimagine the historic Y-Block, bringing people from all neighborhoods together through the power of free, live music.”

From Main Street communities to rural towns in the heart of Appalachia to historic state capitals, the 18 returning Levitt AMP grant recipients hail from across the country including rural towns with populations of less than 10,000 like Whitesburg, Ky.; Galva, Ill.; Earlham, Iowa; Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.; Soldotna, Alaska; St. Johnsbury, Vt.; and Middlesboro, Ky.*; to mid-sized cities like Berea, Ky.; Carson City, Nev.; Gallup, N.M.; Ocala, Fla.; Sheboygan, Wis.*; Stevens Point, Wis.; Utica, N.Y.; and Woonsocket, R.I.; to larger cities spanning the country including Fort Smith, Ark.; Springfield, Ill.; and Trenton, N.J.* 

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.

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.

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.

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’.

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: 1,382) 

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.

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. 

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. 

*Previous multi-year grantee continuing series

Up to 10 additional first-time grant recipients, from among U.S.-based nonprofits who applied to the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards in June, will be announced on November 15, 2022. Reflecting the Foundation’s commitment that all Levitt projects be community-driven, the grantees will be selected following a public voting process that takes places September 12–21, 2022; the public can vote and learn more about the 36 community proposals at levitt.org/vote. Combining new and returning Levitt AMP grantees, the Levitt Foundation is investing over $2.5 million over the next three years to bring free concerts to 28 communities across the U.S. as part of the Levitt AMP Music Series, featuring a diverse lineup of high-caliber entertainment while building community through music.

# # #

About the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is a private family foundation that exists to strengthen the social fabric of America. Through its commitment to creative placemaking, the Levitt Foundation supports the activation of underused public spaces—such as neglected parks, vacant downtown lots, and former brownfields—into welcoming, inclusive destinations where the power of free, live music brings people together to create more equitable, healthy and thriving communities. The Foundation’s primary funding areas include Levitt venues and the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. Both of these programs present free concerts in outdoor, open lawn settings featuring high-caliber talent in a broad array of music genres and cultural programming. Levitt venues and Levitt AMP concert sites attract people of all ages and backgrounds and reflect the character of their town or city, while benefitting from the framework and best practices of the Levitt program.

The Levitt Foundation invests in community-driven efforts that harness the power of partnerships and leverage community engagement. Levitt venue nonprofits and AMP grantees partner with other local nonprofits and community groups to inform programming, outreach and engagement, embodying the Foundation’s funding philosophy and core values to support projects that are inclusive, catalytic and dynamic, and create connectedness and joy. Reflecting its ongoing commitment to self-reflection and contributing to the creative placemaking field, the Levitt Foundation invests in research to evaluate the social impact of Levitt programs in communities, which in turn informs the Foundation’s evolving philanthropic practice. Learn more: levitt.org and follow us @levittfoundation on Facebook and Instagram and @levittfdn on Twitter. 

By |2022-09-11T21:01:19-05:00September 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation Receives $90K, Multi-Year Grant to Continue Presenting the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series through 2025

$50 million to the creative sector included in Illinois FY2023 budget

It’s official! On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker signed the Fiscal Year 2023 budget package, which includes $50 million for the creative sector! This funding is unprecedented in its scale and focus on our sector. While it isn’t the full amount we asked for, it is on par with two other major sectors that received relief dollars: restaurants also received $50 million, and hotels received $75 million. We are so grateful to all of you and the many Illinois Creative Future Fund partners who advocated for this vital support.

The budget package includes some additional important wins for arts and culture, including capital money appropriation and reappropriation. Check out Arts Alliance Illinois’ full budget analysis for more details about the $50M and other arts and culture-relevant info:

The 50 million dollar question: how can you get access to these relief funds? A new initiative called the Illinois Creative Recovery Grant Program will be created and administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). All $50 million applies to FY23, which begins July 1, 2022, and DCEO may adopt emergency rules to help move the funds more quickly to our sector.

Many key details of this grant program have not been determined yet, and we know the details of how this is administered will be crucial. Arts Alliance Illinois is working closely with DCEO to influence that process and ensure the creative sector’s needs are met.

Find out more at ArtsAllianceIllinois.org

By |2022-05-28T15:55:17-05:00May 28th, 2022|Uncategorized|Comments Off on $50 million to the creative sector included in Illinois FY2023 budget

2021 First Night® Springfield Coronavirus Update

The Springfield Area Arts Council announces cancellation of most 2021 First Night® Springfield performances and activities set for this Friday due to a surge in coronavirus infections throughout Illinois.

“The weight of wisdom from many corners brought the Arts Council board to this decision,”  said Sheila Walk, executive director of the Arts Council.  “This record-setting rise in cases statewide drives us to protect our performing artists and all our potential attendees in and around Springfield.”

All afternoon and evening events at both the Hoogland Center for the Arts and the nearby First Presbyterian Church will not take place, and there is no virtual or online version.

“We care about art.  We care about our community.  Although this year’s 35th annual celebration of the arts is COVID-cancelled, please join us in looking forward to First Night Springfield 35.0 on December 31, 2022,” said Walk while thanking all who have contributed to the now-scratched event.

Friday Night Jazz, this week featuring Stone Cold Blues Band, will continue as planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm at Boone’s at 301 East Edwards Street.  Following pandemic protocols is encouraged.

Hoogland Center for the Arts will contact current First Night ticket holders to refund all charges.  For details, contact the Springfield Area Arts Council at 217-753-3519.

By |2021-12-29T20:43:20-06:00December 29th, 2021|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2021 First Night® Springfield Coronavirus Update


SPRINGFIELD, IL. May 14, 2021 – The Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, a 10-week series of free and live music presented by PNC Bank, is coming back to Springfield for a second season June 3, through Aug. 5. The concerts will showcase a diverse lineup of high-caliber talent from across the country, performing at 6 p.m. each Thursday, on the vacant block north of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion. For a full schedule of concerts and additional information about the artists, visit http://levittampspringfield.org.

The first season in 2019 attracted more than 7,700 attendees and was voted “Best Free Entertainment” by Illinois Times readers. The event’s second season was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19.

“We strongly believe in the correlation between access to the arts and enhancing communities,” said Brian Ray, PNC regional president of Central Illinois. “Bringing back this music series to downtown Springfield will allow our neighborhoods to once again come together, in a safe and socially distant environment, to celebrate a diverse and culturally rich experience.”

“Following the extraordinary challenges of the past year, the power of public space and live music to nourish our well-being and create shared experiences has taken on even greater importance,” said Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. “We’re excited to see Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation and its partners breathe renewed energy into the Y Block through the return of the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, inspiring joy and a sense of community for all who come.”

Admission is free and the public is invited to bring their own picnics, blankets, lawn chairs and enjoy the concerts. In order to safely accommodate larger crowds, organizers are painting large circles – or pods – on the grass to allow for social distancing. Attendants are asked to wear face masks except when sitting inside 8×8-foot pods, in groups of up to six people. These pods are available on first-come, first-served basis.

Attendees also are encouraged to support local restaurants by picking up takeout on their way to the block to serve as their picnic. Beverages will be available on site for purchase. Restaurants interested in serving food to concert-goers should fill out the form at https://bit.ly/2S3KQyF.

Generous series sponsors include the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, Isringhausen Imports, US Bank, Levi Ray & Shoup, Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, the Illinois REALTORS, Springfield Park District, City of Springfield, Wyndham Springfield City Centre, Central Baptist Church, La Piazza, Springfield Jaycees, Star Graphics, Springfield Area Arts Council, Republic Services and Downtown Springfield Inc.

Other sponsors include the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce, Urban Action Network, Kerber Eck & Braeckel, Conn’s Hospitality, Heartland Coca Cola, NPR Illinois’ Nightsounds, Cavanagh & O’Hara, Springfield NAACP, Midwest Family, Capitol Radio Group, Neuhoff Media, plus Aldermen Shawn Gregory, Kristin DiCenso, Joe McMenamin, Jim Donelan and Erin Conley.

Those interested in volunteering at the concerts should contact the Springfield Jaycees at leahfarraher@gmail.com.

Follow Levitt AMP Springfield on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for updates and weather changes.


About PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.

About The Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series

The Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private foundation that partners with towns and cities across America to activate underused public spaces, creating thriving and inclusive destinations where people of all ages and backgrounds come together through the power of free, live music. In 2021, free Levitt concerts will bring a broad array of musical experiences and high-caliber artists to communities nationwide. Learn more at levitt.org


  • The Springfield Park District will be hosting children’s activities during each evening of the concerts.
  • The Springfield Jaycees will host their annual dog pageant with the series on Thursday, July 1.
  • The Juneteenth Celebration Committee and Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting June 17 as the first night of a weekend-long celebration of Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, as it commemorates the last slave becoming free on June 19, 1865.
  • The HipHop Xpress, an internet-connected mobile classroom and sound studio inspired by George Washington Carver’s Jesup wagon, will be parked on 4th Street during a performance in June so that people can make their own music during the intermissions.
  • The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum’s new exhibit, “State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois,” explores the incredible contributions Illinois has made to music through music, video and stunning artifacts, including a Cheap Trick guitar and Mahalia Jackson’s first record. The exhibit is open to the public 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, just a few blocks from the Y Block.
By |2021-05-18T22:40:43-05:00May 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|Comments Off on SEASON TWO OF LEVITT AMP SPRINGFIELD TO START THURSDAY, JUNE 3


Last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the third phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response relief package. This $2 trillion emergency stimulus package includes direct support for both nonprofit cultural organizations and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as economic relief provisions for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy.

Specifically, the bill includes the following arts-related items to address the continuing damage caused by the COVID-19 virus:

Federal Arts Funding (Note: This is a supplement to their annual appropriations)

  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Special note: Congress accepted our ask to waive matching grant requirements and to waive the requirement for grants to be project-specific. All these new fast-track grants will be for general operating support with no match.
  • $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • $50 million for the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences
  • $25 million for the Kennedy Center
  • $7.5 million for the Smithsonian

Community Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration, and Unemployment Insurance

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to cities and counties. Arts groups should work directly with their mayors and local economic development offices for grant support.
  • $350 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency loans of up to $10 million for small businesses—including nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists)—to cover payroll costs, mortgage/rent costs, utilities, and other operations. These loans can be forgiven if used for those purposes. This new eligibility has been a key element of the CREATE Act we’ve been pursuing;
  • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for loans up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits to be used for providing paid sick leave for employees, maintaining payroll, mortgage/rent payments, and other operating costs;
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance (UI) that includes coverage for furloughed workers, freelancers, and “gig economy” workers. The bill also increases UI payments by $600/week for four months, in addition to what one claims under a state unemployment program.

Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

  • An “above-the-line” or universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made in 2020 of up to $300. This provision will now allow all non-itemizer taxpayers (close to 90% of all taxpayers) to deduct charitable contributions from their tax return, an incentive previously unavailable to them. Additionally, the stimulus legislation lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for itemizers from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent of AGI for contributions made in 2020.

The inclusion of these provisions to help nonprofits, the arts sector, and the creative workforce can be attributed, in part, to the incredible grassroots outreach by arts advocates across the country, coordination with national nonprofit coalitions, and Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund.

Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund provide offer additional information on how this crisis is impacting the arts in their  national economic snapshot survey and dashboard and their COVID-19 Resource Center. They are also planning a series of webinars through the ArtsU platform to present experts and guidance to the field to help navigate through these new federal provisions during this challenging time. Visit their website for more information.

By |2020-04-16T14:25:14-05:00March 26th, 2020|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on ARTS SUPPORT INCLUDED IN FEDERAL COVID-19 RELIEF BILL


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 www.springfield.il.us (http://bit.ly/384OZ8L) and www.springfieldartsco.org. 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 programs@springfieldartsco.org.

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

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 assistant@springfieldartsco.org.

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

Press Release: Poetry Out Loud 2019 Regional Competition

For immediate release                                                                                                               Contact: Sheila Walk

February 4, 2019                                                                                                                                217-753-3519

In the temper and the tantrum, in the well-kept arboretum

I am waiting, like an animal,

For poetry.

By Katy Lederer, “That Everything’s Inevitable” from The Heaven-Sent Leaf (2008)

The Springfield Area Arts Council will host the Poetry Out Loud Central Illinois Regional Contest on Wednesday, February 13, at 4:00 P.M. in Theatre Three at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  There is no admission cost, and all are welcome.

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest in which students test their skills of oration and interpretation through poetry.  Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  Since the pilot program in 2005, more than 3,000,000 students, 10,000 high schools, and 50,000 teachers have participated in Poetry Out Loud nationwide.  [Source:  National Endowment for the Arts]

In Poetry Out Loud, teenagers select, analyze, and commit to memory classic and contemporary poems for recitation.  Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to one of eight regional competitions in Illinois, then to the state tournament, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, D. C.

The Springfield Area Arts Council partners with the Illinois Arts Council Agency to bring this program to central Illinois.  This year, 11 area high schools, 35 teachers, and 1,395 students are participating.


Decatur:  Eisenhower High School

Eureka:  Eureka High School

Franklin:  Franklin High School

Pawnee:  Pawnee High School

Peoria:  Quest Charter Academy

Rochester:  Rochester High School

Springfield:  Lutheran High School; Sacred Heart-Griffin High School; Southeast High School; Springfield High School

Teutopolis:  Teutopolis Community High School

By |2019-02-10T22:20:38-06:00February 10th, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Press Release: Poetry Out Loud 2019 Regional Competition
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