Barber Park Music Series Strengthens Community With Helping Hand

Barber Park Music Series Strengthens Community With Helping Hand

12:17pm Jul 14, 2017
Levitt AMP Music Series concert at Barber Park. (Photo Credit: Alex Forsyth)

Building community through music. It’s happening all summer long in Greensboro’s Barber Park, thanks to the Levitt Foundation. They’re bringing new attention to underused venues across the country.

The Los Angeles-based Foundation awards matching grants of $25,000 to mid-sized cities. For the second year, Arts Greensboro was selected to present ten Levitt AMP Music Series concerts. The only requirements are that they be high caliber performances in open lawn settings, and free to the public.

Jimmy Webb performs at the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: Matt Beard)

Levitt Foundation President Sharon Yazowki says these characteristics speak to their mission of strengthening communities and the social fabric of the country. She spoke with WFDD’s David Ford by phone from her office in LA. 

Highlights from the conversation:

On the non-musical aspects of free outdoor concerts:

The great thing about free concerts is that they attract people of all ages and backgrounds. People come together for this community experience and end up connecting with people beyond their usual social group. Once the music catches you, there’s an energy in that environment that [makes] people start dancing together, talking to each other, on their picnic blanket together, or on their lawn chairs, in what we call a 360 experience. And that music creates a pathway.

Greensboro amphitheater audience shows its appreciation for free concerts in Barber Park. (Photo Credit: Alex Forsyth)

On creating community through music:

We are meeting the Levitt mission if the Levitt lawn has individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds on that lawn together. We work with communities in selecting public spaces that are easily accessible by a wide range of socioeconomic groups. So, it’s not just about serving one community in a city. It’s about serving everyone that comprises that community’s population. One of the key characteristics of a Levitt concert is that open lawn setting so that people can connect with everyone around them. Because there’s no cost barrier, and if the talent is high caliber, it ultimately attracts people from a range of different economic and demographic groups. There’s social bridging happening—people are crossing demographic boundaries and connecting with those they otherwise wouldn’t connect with.

On what drew the Levitt Foundation to Greensboro:

Audience for The Black Violin at Levitt Shell in Memphis, TN. (Photo Credit: Andrea Zucker)

The Levitt AMP Music Series in Greensboro is now in its second year. When Greensboro first applied, we were really taken by Barber Park. The community recognized that here was this amazing asset, but it was underused. It had an amphitheater that was only used a handful of times throughout the year. Through the concert series, the community at large would be introduced to this wonderful park. And when Greensboro applied for a second year, they shared with us that because of the free concert series, in fact, the community was introduced to the park, and overall use of the park has increased in the past year. So, Greensboro made a very strong case as to why the series should continue in Barber Park. Where it’s situated it’s bringing together people of all backgrounds, all ages, and it continues to introduce the city of Greensboro to this wonderful park and this amphitheater. It’s exciting for us as the Levitt Foundation to see the community come together, elevate this public space, bring life to it, and strengthen the community through music.

The Levitt Series continues this summer in Barber Park’s outdoor amphitheater. This weekend’s free performance features North Carolina artist Anne-Claire.

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