The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is now in the running to bring a free outdoor music series to Valdosta starting in 2023, and it needs the community’s help.

Supported by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a social impact funder at the intersection of music and public spaces, the Turner Center hopes to qualify as one of the top 20 finalists in the public voting phase of the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. The public is urged to support the Turner Center by participating in the public voting process, via online or text, taking place from Sept. 12–21, 2022. The public may either cast their votes online at www.levitt.org/vote or via text to 866-AMP-2023 (866-267-2023) with the keyword: VALDOSTA.

The Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards are a multi-year matching grant opportunity created by the Levitt Foundation to serve small to mid-sized towns and cities with populations up to 250,000. Nonprofits will receive a total matching grant of $90,000 over three years (2023, 2024, and 2025 at $30,000/year) to produce their own Levitt AMP Music Series—an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians that reimagines an underused public space to create an inclusive destination for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The Turner Center submitted the grant proposal in July 2022 to present the free music series in Valdosta at the Turner Center Art Park, located at 605 N. Patterson Street on the Turner Center Campus. The Art Park was created in 2019 on undeveloped property. Funded entirely through donations, the landscaped space features a powered pavilion which is the home of the free Music in the Art Park Concert Series, held on the second Friday of the month, Mar. through Nov.

Valdosta’s proposal will be posted on the Levitt Foundation website, starting on Sept. 8, where the public can vote and learn more about the 36 communities from across the country that have advanced to the voting phase. An individual may vote for up to five proposals but may vote for the same proposal only once.

Reflecting the Levitt Foundation’s mission that all Levitt projects are community-driven, the voting phase of the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is an important way to measure community support. The number of online and text votes received for the Turner Center will be one of the key factors when the Levitt Foundation selects the grant recipients this November.

Public voting opens Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. EST and ends on Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. EST. The Top 20 finalists will be selected through the online and text-to-vote public voting phase. The Levitt Foundation will then review the top proposals and will select up to 10 Levitt AMP grant recipients, which will be announced on Nov. 15, 2022.

“Building community through arts and music is a high priority for the Lowndes-Valdosta Arts Commission and the Turner Center, because we know that music has a powerful way of uniting people,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “This is a huge honor for us; and it will provide the funding to build upon what we started nearly three years ago with our dream of creating free, outdoor music events accessible to all people in our community. Let’s win this nationwide contest together by voting VALDOSTA on Sept. 12-21 and bring more of these enriching music events to our city and county.”

The Turner Center asks supporters to spread the word to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors and rally the community to vote for our proposal to bring a free concert series to the Turner Center Art Park beginning in 2023. Visit www.levitt.org/vote for more information.