Levitt Venues

A Levitt venue is a powerful example of creative placemaking at work.

Levitt venues are celebrated community destinations that inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to come together through the power of free, live music. Transforming underused public spaces—such as parks, downtown plazas and former brownfields—into coveted anchors of community life, Levitt venues are a holistic reflection of a city and foster a sense of belonging. 

Located in metropolitan areas, each Levitt venue is the culmination of a multi-year effort spearheaded by the local community to create a vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive public space accessible to a wide range of socioeconomic groups. City and community leaders partner with the Levitt Foundation to renovate a dilapidated bandshell or build a state-of-the-art outdoor venue that creates access to arts programming and hosts community events. Through a long-term public/private partnership, resources are leveraged to ensure sustainability of the venue. 

On November 30, 2023, the Levitt Foundation announced we will spend down $150 million in assets by 2041—significantly increasing the Foundation’s ability to support thousands of free outdoor concerts in communities across America as a vehicle for positive change. With the spend down, the Foundation will provide Levitt venues with additional support—including capacity building and robust resources informed by the needs of our Friends of Levitt partners to ensure the sustainability of their series and nonprofit beyond the Foundation’s sunset.

Currently, there are seven Levitt venues in operation (see below) and two in development, in Houston and San Jose. As Levitt venues typically take between five to eight years to develop and are multimillion dollar, long-term investments for the Foundation, as well as a significant investment for the community, it is anticipated that only up to four additional cities  will join the Levitt venue program in the coming years.

Friends of Levitt partners

At the helm is an independent Friends of Levitt nonprofit partner that manages, programs and supports the venue while collaborating with the community for additional use of the site. As a City-owned facility that sits on public land, the City commits to maintaining the Levitt venue and site year-round. The Levitt Foundation provides catalytic seed funding and multi-year annual operating grants to the Friends of Levitt nonprofit, as well as meaningful support resources, program frameworks, best practices and access to the Levitt national network of changemakers and nonprofits, each sharing the common mission of building community through music.

Levitt venues feature:

• Welcoming, open lawn settings
• Easily accessible locations
• 40–50 free concerts annually
• Emerging talent & award-winning artists
• Cultural performances reflecting the community
• Musician-friendly with all artists paid
• Broad range of music genres
• Family-friendly programming & activities
• State-of-the-art sound & lighting
• Robust community partnerships
• Local vendors & food trucks
• Off-site neighborhood programming

From late spring, throughout summer and into fall, Levitt venues present upwards of 40–50 free concerts each year. Featuring local, national and international emerging talent and acclaimed, award-winning artists in a broad range of music genres, Levitt venues present stellar performances for everyone to enjoy, regardless of economic circumstance. The lineup each season also includes community programming and cultural performances that are an authentic reflection of the community, honoring the unique character, history and traditions of its city. As an anchor community space, Levitt venues are used by other nonprofits, community groups and schools and more for a range of performances, events and celebrations.

Friends of Levitt organizations are actively engaged in the arts & culture ecosystem in their city, and Levitt venues regularly serve as platforms to showcase the offerings of other nonprofits and community groups onstage and on the lawn. Their collaborations throughout the community inform and guide Levitt programming, outreach and community engagement. Beyond the free concerts presented at each venue, Friends of Levitt extend their programming into different city neighborhoods to broaden access to arts experiences.

While representing significant investments for the Foundation, Levitt venues receive the majority of their annual funding from the community—donors, sponsors, as well as grants from other foundations. Engaged volunteers, key stakeholders and community partners also play an instrumental role in bringing the concert series to life.

The impact of a Levitt venue is far-reaching and elevates the overall well-being of a community: reclaiming green space; building social capital; sparking additional investments in surrounding areas; deepening community attachment; and amplifying local pride.

To learn more about the Levitt Venue program, visit our FAQs. If you’re interested in bringing the Levitt program to your city, please email inquiry@levitt.org for more information.

Our Other Areas of Focus

Scroll down to explore other ways the Levitt Foundation realizes its mission to build community through music.