This July, we’re celebrating national Park and Recreation Month, which was created in 1985 by the National Recreation and Park Association to acknowledge the importance of parks and recreation for the physical and mental health of both individuals and communities. At Levitt, we believe green spaces and parks are essential to creating healthy, equitable communities and fostering connections among people of all ages and backgrounds. Parks have the immense potential to create a safe and communal space for all to enjoy, which is why we’re passionate supporters of creative placemaking in public spaces.
Over the last couple of years, Americans have gained a renewed sense of appreciation for the importance of green spaces and parks in their daily lives. Encouraged to spend more time outdoors during the COVID pandemic, parks offered a much-needed haven for people to engage in physical activity and also to safely gather. Whether it was having a picnic with a friend, celebrating a huge milestone, or even going on a first date, parks permitted people to move forward with their lives and granted a feeling of normalcy during an uncertain period, and they continue to play a crucial role in our physical, social and mental well-being. Parks and recreation services are often cited in surveys as an important factor when considering the livability of communities.
The theme for this year’s Park and Recreation Month is “Rise Up,” highlighting the need to rise up and support parks and recreation in communities. This celebration also recognizes the more than 160,000 full-time park and recreation professionals as well as the hundreds of thousands of part-time and seasonal workers and volunteers who preserve the beauty and majesty of our nation’s local, state, and federal park system.
Where Parks and Free, Live Music Converge
According to NRPA’s 2021 Engagement with Parks Report, 260 million people in the United States visited a local park or recreating facility at least once during the past year. Nationwide, the Levitt Foundation partners with changemakers and nonprofits in communities of all sizes to realize a shared mission—building community through music. In celebration of Park and Recreation month, we’re shining a light on a few of the parks across the country where free Levitt concerts take place. From metropolitan hubs including Los Angeles and Denver to rural and Midwestern cities such as Stevens Point, Wisconsin and Galva, Illinois, the Levitt effect in public parks has created positive change, becoming celebrated cultural anchors that host shared community experiences that are essential to building equitable, healthy, and thriving communities. Check out the video below to learn more about each of these parks!
At the Levitt Foundation, we believe that a park can be so much more than an open, green space. It can be a unifying, communal anchor that breaks down barriers and benefits the mental and physical wellbeing of its residents. We believe in bringing people together through free, live music in outdoor spaces to foster meaningful opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to meet, mingle and share an experience that creates joy and connectedness. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or any day, visit your local park, look around and enjoy just how spectacular that space really is. And this music season, visit a local Levitt concert site near you and enjoy some free music and the community around it. Happy Park and Recreation month!