VALDOSTA – The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is one of the frontrunners for obtaining a grant that will ensure a free outdoor music concert series in Valdosta starting 2023.
As of Sept. 20, the Turner Center ranks No. 2 in the leaderboard for the Top 20 Levitt AMP (Your City) Grant Awards qualifiers, currently beating out 34 other art organizations.
But voting isn’t over yet.
Sementha Mathews, Turner Center executive director, said the center is making a final public push for Valdosta residents to vote for the city to qualify for the grant, a multi-year matching grant opportunity created by the Levitt Foundation to serve small to mid-sized cities with populations up to 250,000.
Sept. 21 is the last day the public can either cast votes online at www.levitt.org/vote or via text to (866) AMP-2023 (866-267-2023) with the keyword: VALDOSTA.
“Since 2015, the Levitt Foundation has provided funding to 38 communities across America through the Levitt AMP program, activating underused public spaces, ensuring access to the arts and strengthening the social fabric of communities through creative placemaking, bringing people together of all ages and backgrounds through free, outdoor concert series,” according to a Levitt Foundation statement on its website.
Selected nonprofits will receive a total matching grant of $90,000 during the next three years (at $30,000 per year) to produce their own Levitt AMP Music Series, and the Levitt Foundation will review the top 20 and select up to 10 Levitt AMP grant recipients, to be announced Nov. 15.
Mathews said the center would use the award money to enhance the Turner Center’s current concert series and expose the community to a more diverse set of talent.
“For the second Friday of the month, usually a business sponsors our concerts, which is wonderful. It’s very generous in our local community. But it’d be so nice if you don’t have to ask businesses to sponsor. We can just ask them to come out and enjoy it as well and have these wonderful concerts for just everybody to come free and bring their families and just have a good time,” she said.
“We plan to send a survey out to our community to find out what kind of genres they want to hear, so that we can plan around what they want. So that’ll be fun to see what people say. It might be that we can have one gospel festival, one jazz festival and one blues festival. You know, whatever people were asking for.”
Turner Center representatives said they hope to make some music park improvements as long as the Levitt Foundation allows for it, such as upgrading the park’s tree canopy to get more shade in the area.
Visit www.levitt.org/vote for more information.