Official Name of Public Space

Kopernik Park & MWPAI

Site Address

310 - 311 Genesee Street, Utica, New York

How will your Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series reflect the essence of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards?

Utica has one of the highest percentages of refugees of any city in America – with 40 languages spoken in the Utica schools! Recognizing the tremendous diversity and unique character of the neighborhood where many of Utica’s newest residents now reside, there is an overwhelming need and potential for relevant programming that can assist Utica to better understand, AMPLIFY and celebrate its cultures and ethnicities as community assets. The Levitt AMP Utica Music Series provides an opportunity to engage a broad cross-section of citizenry to produce and enjoy programming that will collectively support the City’s economic, social and physical renewal. Levitt believes that free music is not subject to language, education and income barriers. This project enables Utica to ENRICH the LIVES of people of different cultures and backgrounds for a few hours each week . . . and hopefully, beyond. The AMP Utica partners were selected based on their capacity to help implement a placemaking activity that will be inclusive, accessible and interesting to the diverse populations in and around the Utica area. While the logistical aspects are important, the genre of the free, live music, varied food options and the welcoming and clean conditions of the space are the critical elements to encourage attendees to meet, socialize and appreciate existing and new cultural experiences.

How will your town or city benefit from the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series?

The 2016 Levitt AMP Utica Music Series helped: • Foster community and social capital by showcasing Utica's arts and culture diversity. Free, live music and an easily accessible location attracted people living in the surrounding neighborhoods. Bringing together diverse partners helped broaden perspectives, change perceptions & highlight the role of arts and culture in community development. • Support Utica’s arts & culture producers who are an important part of its economic and cultural community capital. The nationwide recognition of the Levitt Grant provided visibility for Utica and promoted arts and culture in furthering its urban livability, investment and development. • Create an accessible and inviting civic gathering place in Oneida Square – a neighborhood in need of investment to make it grow, develop and realize its full potential as a relevant community asset. The committee’s 10-week learning experience, including a visit from Levitt staff, highlighted a number of unrealized opportunities, to fully capitalize on how the event can become a catalyst for entertainment, education and engagement on many new levels. For example, Cornell R2G is hoping to work with its Levitt AMP Utica partners to design and produce a "Creative Placemaking Station” that will be offered at each of the weekly summer events as a face-to-face location to educate, foster dialogue, learn and exchange knowledge and evaluation around placemaking.

Describe the site where the free concerts will be held. Explain how the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series will play a role in enlivening the selected public space and surrounding areas.

The Kopernik Park site is proposed for 2017 with the first concert on the lawn of MWPAI to accommodate crowds expected at the MWPAI 6-day Arts Festival - which will open the Levitt AMP Utica Music Series on Monday, July 3. The remaining nine concerts will be in the Park with MWPAI as a backup lawn. In a recent newspaper article, a local business owner described the neighborhood as unsafe and hard to attract visitors. However, an increased police presence along with "good things" happening in the neighborhood are slowly turning the area around, including . . . * One World Flower Fest, a celebration of spring through art, food, music, fun and flowers. * The Levitt AMP Utica concert series at Kopernik Park. * Existing & new businesses opening in the neighborhood. * Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Museum of Art promoting area art and culture. The 2016 Levitt AMP Utica Music Series has transformed the neglected Park, highlighting its potential for other events and activities. Funds for the 2nd annual 10-week concert series will keep “the good" happening in the neighborhood for at least another summer.