For the past 20 days Woonsocket has been abuzz with talk of music. Couple that with a deep sense of community pride and competitive spirit and we’re met with the perfect place to compete in a national competition to bring 10 free concerts to River Island Art Park in Woonsocket.
In October, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Adam Brunetti Productions, and Michael Martin submitted a grant to the Levitt Foundation for $25,000 toward a summer concert series for 2018. That was the easy part. The Levitt Foundation places values diversity, community input, and support. And so from November 1-20, they launched an online public voting process through which applicants needed to prove community support one vote at a time.
Well Woonsocket was most certainly up for the challenge. It started with a hashtag “#getwoonyamped” and crescendoed into a city-wide effort. From radio chatter to incessant Facebook posts to a High School-wide voting effort and promotion right down to the last moments of the competition at City Council meetings, if you live in Woonsocket, you know about this competition. A video from the Mayor alone gained just shy of 3000 views.
All this effort was rewarded. While we don’t know exactly how many votes we received, we do know that when voting closed, Woonsocket was solidly in 7th place, excellently positioning the city as we move into the third and final round of the selection process.
According to Melissa Murray, Woonsocket Councilwoman, “it is a true testament to the spirit of the people of Woonsocket that we were able to place so well against much larger cities. Our city’s strong sense of community has always been one of our biggest assets and these results are proof positive that when we work together we can accomplish anything.”
The top 25 voted for communities are now being reviewed by the Levitt Foundation for a chance to become one of the 15 grant recipients. Winning cities will be notified on January 2nd. With one of the selection criteria being the level of “community support displayed, including the number of online votes received” we are very hopeful that Woonsocket will be the newest home of a LevittAMP concert series in 2018.
“I’m truly amazed by the people of Woonsocket! Their ability to band together, rallying their families, friends, and co-workers, really made it clear that this is a place that cares about art, culture, and doing whatever it takes to make Woonsocket a happening place to live and visit” stated Meg Rego, Director of Resource Development & Communications at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley.
As the Mayor said in her video “it’s time to bring a little rock and roll to the city of Woonsocket….get your dancing shoes on!”