On September 13, 1936, the Memphis Orchestra Shell opened in Overton Park. It cost $11,935.00 and was built by Works Progress Administration employees. Exactly 80 years later, the Levitt Shell is creating the Preservation 50, honoring the Shell’s 50 free concerts each year. 

Every Preservation 50 donor will donate $11,935.00 to preserve and sustain the Shell’s 50 free concerts series for future generations. Philanthropic corporate and family foundations dedicated to leveraging community giving will match the Preservation 50 to reach One Million Dollars.

A sculpture personifying the collective power of the Preservation 50 will be commissioned in the new Community Area and unveiled in a special ceremony. 

The Levitt Shell has become intrinsic to quality of life in Memphis. Those who love the Shell share a deep commitment to ensure that it will be vibrant for future generations. Today’s broad base of appreciation for the Levitt Shell pays tribute to its memorable past and compels us to protect it as a key community asset.  Located in the heart of the new Community Area, the Preservation 50 Sculpture will stand as a symbol of music and community in concert for both past and future generations.