Nashua in running for music series grant

Union Leader Correspondent
November 20. 2017 10:16PM

NASHUA — The Gate City is in the running to win a major music grant that could bring a new summer music series to Nashua.

“We are very excited,” said Paul Shea, executive director of Great American Downtown. “We are very optimistic about the prospect here.”

As of Monday evening, Nashua was in 12th place to qualify as one of 15 winning organizations competing in the Levitt AMP Your City Grant Awards sponsored by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national foundation dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of America through free live music.

The public has been encouraged to cast votes for the music series, and voting was set to close late Monday night. The top 25 finalists are chosen through the online voting process, however the Levitt Foundation will review the proposals and further narrow the field before selecting up to 15 grant winners that will be announced on Jan. 2, 2018.

“This could mean an immense amount of great programming for the community in Greater Nashua if we are selected,” said Shea.

Shea praised Old Sol Music Hall, a Manchester organization, for helping Great American Downtown prepare an application for the unique grant; there are 36 applicants being considered nationwide. Other cities seeking grants include Utica, N.Y., Trenton, N.J., Carson City, Nev., Providence, R.I., Tulsa, Okla., and more.

Up to 15 nonprofits will receive $25,000 each in matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP Music Series — an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians, according to a news release. The program could bring 10 to 12 concerts to the Gate City if Nashua is selected.

“The music series would amplify the expanding arts movement in our growing downtown and further our goal to enhance our community, socially and economically, with vibrant artistic and cultural offerings,” Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess wrote to the Levitt Foundation.

Community support, as measured by the number of online votes received, is one of the key factors used by the Levitt Foundation upon selecting its 15 winners, states the release.

According to Nashua’s application, a new music series will create genuine, positive change in downtown Nashua.

“We will foster an inclusive environment and encourage individuals of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to attend the concert series,” states the application. “We want to create more opportunities for all people, regardless of circumstance, and enrich their lives through the power of free, live music.”

As the city studies a proposed plan to expand and enhance Nashua’s riverfront, Great American Downtown is suggesting that the new concert series — if the grant is awarded — take place at French Park.

“French Park has the potential to bring the community together as an easily accessible, public space with no fixed seating. (Great American Downtown) and the city of Nashua recognize this potential and are committed to put forth maximum effort in activating the space,” says the application. “(Great American Downtown) has been a champion of utilizing the park in recent years, but there is still room for growth.”


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