MusicFEST 2019 Wins Prestigious Houston Arts Alliance Grant

The Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy has been selected by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) to receive a significant grant as part of its Arts & Cultural Plan for 2019. Administered by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), the three new grant programs: Support for Artist and Creative Individuals, Let Creativity Happen and Festival, are designed to Increase opportunities and investment in individual artists and creatives, encourage creative risk in the arts to spur innovation, and to celebrate the City of Houston’s strength in diversity through arts and cultural festivals. The program has selected 109 artists and 32 arts and cultural nonprofits for public exhibitions, performances and festivals in 2019 for the current year. Willow Waterhole Musicfest 2019 Presented by Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy Inc has been selected within the Festivals section of the program, and the funds received will help support the Conservancy's efforts in producing one of the city's premier community music festivals which is now in its seventh annual edition.

Update! September 2017

Levitt Pavilion Houston at Willow Waterhole Greenway, will be part of the Levitt Foundation network of outdoor music venues. This site was chosen by Levitt Foundation and the City of Houston after a site-search in 2012. In addition to the beautiful setting provided at Willow Waterhole, the search concluded that the area provided strong socio- economic diversity, great accessibility, enthusiasm from an engaged community, and a clear need for economic revitalization along South Post Oak. Additionally, the adjacent Westbury Neighborhood is zoned to elementary, middle, and high schools, each featuring a highly-regarded “music magnet” program.

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How Willow Waterhole became a model for flood control in Houston

Eric Leshinsky, via OffCite

Houston Chronicle

The prevailing story in Houston is that not enough is being done to mitigate flooding. It's hard to argue with that, given the rising impacts from flooding, the city's long-standing culture of privileging growth at all costs and our historical unwillingness to steer that growth in any way that would reduce the risk of flooding.

But there's another story that tends to get lost in the conversation that follows every devastating storm. What if the problem isn't that we have done too little to manage floods, but that we have not been smart about it?

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Council OKs plans to build SW Houston concert space

Rebecca Elliott, Houston Chronicle

City Council on Wednesday approved plans to construct a concert venue, the Levitt Pavilion, at Willow Waterhole in southwest Houston.

The pavilion is set to open in 2019 near the intersection of South Post Oak and South Main, according to its website, paid for by the Los Angeles-based Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. Local government corporation Houston First, meanwhile, is on tap to fund capital repairs for the venue's first 15 years of operation, up to a maximum of $1 million.

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Levitt Pavilion officially a 'go' in downtown Dayton

Tristan Navera,Senior Reporter

Dayton Business Journal

With $4.3 million committed, the namesake organization behind the proposed Levitt Pavilion in downtown Dayton says the project is a go.

Levitt had raised $4.2 million of its $5 million goal by mid-November, before the Giving Tuesday push, it said. Now with the project in the home-stretch of fundraising, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation said Thursday the project is getting the go-ahead, committing to the mid-2017 ground-breaking at the Dave Hall Plaza at Fourth and Main. They expect to hit the $5 million mark by then.

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New Study Examines How Creative Placemaking Builds Social Capital in Communities

As interest in measuring and understanding the impact of arts investments in community development continues to grow, a new study released in November, Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes, offers insights for the field of “creative placemaking” and is a working illustration of what can and can’t be learned from different impact measurement approaches. 

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The Man on a Mission to Bring the Green

Katharine Shilcutt, Houstonia

“It’s been beyond successful,” says Turner of the busy park, which his department showcased as a project when the National Recreation and Park Association held its annual conference here three years ago. It was a rare bit of bragging for a man who’s often too busy to take credit for his own ideas, including such ambitious projects as Bayou Greenways 2020, which aims to connect 10 of the city’s major bayous via a system of interconnected parks and trails.

In fact, Turner appears downright fixated on his mission of “meeting the needs of the city with our green space.” His days are packed with meetings and data-delving sessions, with his team using everything from 311 calls to demographic stats from the Health Department to figure out where they should be concentrating their efforts.

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Nonprofit Puts On Free Concerts To Build ‘Community Through Music’

Matthew J. Buettner,

A nonprofit organization in Denver dedicated to building community through music is putting on a series of free concerts this year.

Levitt Pavilion Denver began its string of free concerts this summer. The nonprofit is working to get its new venue in Denver’s Ruby Hill Park operational by July 2017, but the organization has been putting on the free shows in Civic Center Park this year in advance of that.

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Free Concerts Underway

THE MORTIMER & MIMI LEVITT FOUNDATION is dedicated to reinvigorating America’s public spaces through creative placemaking and creating opportunities for everyone to experience the performing arts. The need for more third places—those informal gathering spots outside the realms of home and the workplace—has become increasingly clear in today’s world and guides us in our community-driven efforts. Our goal is to reflect the best of American city life by creating community and social interaction among people of all ages and backgrounds; empowering cities across America to reclaim green spaces and reinvigorate public spaces; and ensuring the performing arts are accessible to all through high quality, free concerts.

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Five Ways Houston Can Finally Be a Great Music City

Houston is an amazing city in many ways, and can legitimately boast of its diverse population, a great museum district, and other things that make it a great place to live, but its live music scene rarely gets the credit that it should. The Bayou City has had great local bands and venues stretching back many decades, with legendary venues like the Axiom and Rudyards having hosted countless hard working Houston bands. But the fact remains that Houston doesn't often get included in lists of great American music cities, and it sometimes feels like playing and watching bands play here is more difficult than it has to be. Here are a few things that I think need to change if we want Houston to become a better place for bands to play and audiences to see them.

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Designs unveiled for south Denver concert venue

Backers of a proposed venue for free outdoor concerts in south Denver have unveiled design renderings and a site plan for the project.

Plans call for Levitt Pavilion Denver, a 7,500-capacity amphitheater, to open in July 2017 at Ruby Hill Park, located along the South Platte River between West Florida and West Jewell avenues across the river from Overland Golf Course.

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America's Largest Free Outdoor Concert Series Is Back

This summer, the power of free, live music to strengthen the social fabric of our communities is on radiant display, with more than 400+ free Levitt concerts across the country. These shows bring people together of all ages and backgrounds in beautiful green settings for the shared experience of free music under the stars. Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind America's largest free outdoor concert series, has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants in 2015, in partnership with the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, to support free concerts in 16 towns and cities. These include six signature Levitt locations with permanent, state-of-the-art outdoor music venues, and 10 Levitt AMP sites that were selected following a grant competition with online public voting.

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Levitt Pavilion comes of age

By Preston Jones

Thursday, May. 28, 2015

Live music is an integral part of life in Texas.

Nearly everywhere you go, whether it’s a bar with your buddies or a restaurant with your family, there’s probably a singer-songwriter performing covers or original material.

Not to mention the surfeit of clubs, theaters, arenas and stadiums — indoors and out — where music can be heard year-round.

Yet most of these concerts are happening in Fort Worth or Dallas, leaving Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys and the thrill rides at Six Flags, as something of a musical afterthought.

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Houston's The Suffers play in Levitt Arlington

The Suffers redefine the sound of Gulf Coast Soul, intertwining elements of classic American soul with rock ‘n’ roll. The 10-piece ensemble packs its rhythm and horn sections with a level of talent that provides the perfect foundation for singer Kam Franklin’s massive voice. The band exudes sincerity and emotion to attract an audience so broad, they may prove to be the needed panacea for a jaded, stratified live music scene. In the short time they have been together, The Suffers have progressed from packing local Houston venues to accepting invitations for main stage performances at the 20th Annual Austin Reggae Festival, Houston’s Free Press Summer Festival and Paste magazine’s Untapped Festival, where they shared the stage with The Wailers, Mavis Staples, Alabama Shakes, The Walkmen and Cat Power. The Suffers have earned four Houston Press Music Awards in two years and last year were listed among the top musical acts to watch by the Houston Press and Houston Chronicle. They’ve been working on a full-length album planned for release this year.

See the Video here!

Willow Waterhole an oasis of trails - and movie screen

A much bigger project is a future outdoor pavilion that would seat 5,000 on a 3-acre lawn and offer 50 free concerts annually. Willow Waterhole was chosen in 2013 to house the nation's eighth Levitt Pavilion, joining Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; and Arlington, among others.

Levitt Pavilions is a national nonprofit organization that advocates revitalizing communities and public spaces through music. Funds are being raised for the $5 million project, which Sacks hopes will open by 2018.

"The Levitt is a dream come true for Houston," said Sacks, chairman of the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Houston. "There is every opportunity for every kind of entertainment to use the pavilion."

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© Friends of Levitt Pavilion Houston 2019