WATERVILLE — A free, 10-week live concert series outdoors in Castonguay Square downtown will be funded with a $25,000 grant if enough people vote online for the event, according to officials of Waterville Creates! and the Waterville Opera House, which applied for the funding.

Waterville Rocks! for the last two summers has offered family-friendly outdoor concerts in the square, hosted by the Opera House, to provide free cultural programming for the community and offer a new way to animate downtown, according to Nathan Towne, marketing director for Waterville Creates!

The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is sponsoring the contest, which requires a matching grant. A national foundation, the Levitt Foundation, is dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of America through free, live music and is offering the Levitt (Your City) Grant Awards, designed to serve small to mid-size towns and cities with populations up to 400,000, according to Towne.

“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,” Towne said in a news release.

The top 25 grant finalists will be selected through online public voting, and foundation will review their proposals and select up to 15 Levitt AMP winners, according to Towne. Winners will be announced Jan. 2, 2018.

The Waterville Opera House and Waterville Creates! submitted the grant application, seeking to expand the Waterville Rocks! concert series, which for the past two summers has consisted of four evening concerts in the square, to a weekly, 10-week series in 2018. Waterville’s proposal now is posted on the Levitt AMP website for public voting.

“A successful campaign for Waterville Rocks! depends on community participation to get as many online votes as possible to bring the concert series to town,” Towne’s release says. “Community support, as measured by the number of online votes received, will be one of the key factors when the Levitt Foundation selects up to 15 winners.”

Supporters are asked to visit https://grant.levittamp.org/voter-registration-page/ to register and vote. Online public voting opens Nov. 1 and ends at 5 p.m. Nov. 20, Pacific time.

“This is an incredible opportunity for this growing community event as we head into the planning phase for year three of Waterville Rocks!,” said Shannon Haines, president and chief executive officer of Waterville Creates! “We know from our recent cultural planning process that community members want to see more free and accessible arts programming and are especially interested in live music, so this funding would allow us to respond to an expressed community desire.”

Waterville Creates! provides funding and marketing support for Waterville Rocks! through its Partner Incentive Grant program.

“Expanding our Waterville Rocks! summer concert series from four to 10 performances would allow us to bring in more diverse professional acts and incorporate more of our community’s grassroots talent into these concerts — from the Snow Pond Center for the Arts, to our High School music programs to local musicians — and make this the perfect community event to showcase the incredible musical talents we have here in Central Maine,” Haines said.

Waterville Creates! is asking supporters to start spreading the word to relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbors and rally the community to sign up and vote for the Waterville Rocks! proposal.

Those wanting to learn more about the grant opportunity may visit http://levittamp.org.

The Waterville Opera House has been central Maine’s cultural center since 1902, treating audiences of all ages to the magic of the performing arts, the release says. The 810-seat venue has been host to theatrical productions, ballet performances, concerts, Vaudeville and comedy acts and touring shows, as well as a variety of community celebrations and special events. Each year, the Opera House draws 30,000 patrons, reaches 4,000 students through its education performances and features 250 youths in their theater camps and productions.

Waterville Creates! promotes increased awareness of cultural opportunities and events while supporting enhanced programming and operations for its community partners and audiences. The organization provides marketing, administrative, and development services to arts and cultural institutions in the Waterville area.

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