The competition ended. The votes were counted. Fort Smith is a winner. The Levitt Foundation listed 64.6 Downtown as one of 20 recipients of the 2020 Levitt [Your City] AMP Grant Awards Friday (Dec. 20).
Talicia Richardson, executive director of 64.6 Downtown, said they were notified by email. The awards are a matching grant program made possible by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national organization “dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of America through the power of free, live music. With Levitt AMP, the joy of free, live music is bringing communities together in small and mid-sized towns and cities across the country,” the website states.
The Levitt’s program of permanent outdoor music venues presents more than 50 free concerts yearly in large metropolitan areas, but these grant awards are specifically designed for smaller cities.
Winners receive up to $25,000 in matching funds to produce free outdoor concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians. The grant will allow Fort Smith to have a free music series that will “strengthen the social and economic fabric” of the city. It will run for 10 weeks from May to August at the Riverfront Amphitheater, Richardson said.
64.6 Downtown was chosen as finalist in October. Online voting from Nov. 1-20 made them a winner. The music series will highlight specific genres: Americana, funk, R&B, blues and indie rock, providing concerts that are diverse and family oriented, she said.
“We want people to embrace live music in a venue downtown. If we get them down here, they can see what live music is happening in the (other) downtown venues and what those venues have to offer,” Richardson said.
The concerts and the schedule will not interfere nor be in competition with any of the typically planned events and festivals that use the park during the summer months, Richardson said. 64.6 Downtown will receive follow-up information to help them plan the series, she said.
“We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to working with the City of Fort Smith, Central Business Improvement District, Fort Smith Downtown Business Association and Chaffee Crossing for an inclusive community-driven event,” Richardson said.
Link here for the list of 2020 Levitt award winners.