From Anne B. Pope, Executive Director —
Thirteen diverse applicants that include nonprofit organizations, cities and local governments have been awarded FY 2017 Creative Placemaking grants by the Tennessee Arts Commission. In Creative Placemaking, partners from public, private, nonprofit and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of their neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities or assets.
The Creative Placemaking grants competition was designed to help build stronger communities through the arts to enhance the distinctive character of local Tennessee places for positive economic and community outcomes. The thirteen awards totaled $75,000 for a wide variety of projects taking place in FY2016-2017.
These investments support local efforts to enhance quality of life, increase economic and creative activity, and help create and expand a distinct sense of place through the arts.
Creative Placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business visibility and public safety, and brings diverse people together to build shared understanding of culture and community. To increase the likelihood of success and sustainability, applicants were encouraged to involve public, private (including nonprofit organizations) and institutional partners in the development of their Creative Placemaking grant proposals.
“Tennessee is home to a wealth of creative talent, resourceful leadership and rich traditions,” commented Commission Chair Stephanie Conner. “The projects awarded will leverage the arts and cultural resources of these communities to help address key opportunities and challenges.”
The Commission’s allocation process involved a review by an independent panel that included national experts on creative placemaking and local leaders. The panel met on May 26, 2016 to evaluate all eligible applications based on published criteria. All grant applications were evaluated on a competitive basis, taking into account the project type, geographic location and whether the project was in a rural or urban community. Half of all eligible applications were from rural communities.
The FY 2017 Awards were awarded to the following:
Main Street Dayton, Scopes: A Visual Depiction, $6,500
Main Street Dayton will develop digital documentation of the historical events, actors and arguments that were involved in the 1925 Scopes Trial in Dayton. The finished presentation will be projected in the original courtroom and will provide Rhea County Courthouse visitors in-depth experiences year-round while preserving the historic site.
New River History and Community Advisory Board, New River History & Community Center, $7,100
The New River History and Community Advisory Board is refurbishing the abandoned Rosedale School into a community center, performance space and cultural heritage museum. Located in the remote New River Valley, the school’s renovation is the culmination of a four-year community initiative to preserve and develop the area’s cultural resources.
Town of Unicoi, Unicoi Buffalo Project, $7,010
Unicoi Buffalo Project is a three-part project that celebrates the importance and role of the buffalo in Unicoi’s history. The Town of Unicoi will partner with Tanasi Arts & Heritage Center: to host an artist-in-residence to demonstrate wood carving and produce a large buffalo sculpture; hire local artists to paint an outdoor historically themed mural; and produce video about the buffalo’s influence on the town and its artists.
East Tennessee Community Design Center, Downtown Vestal Gateway, $7,000
East Tennessee Community Design Center is spearheading a community partnership that will create a concrete and steel archway for a planned extension of the Mary Vestal Greenway. This project will realize a goal set for the South Knoxville Vestal neighborhood through collaborative planning begun in 2013 with the Aslan Foundation and Project for Public Spaces.
Sevierville Commons Association, Bringing the Arts to Downtown, $3,700
Sevierville Commons Association will host weekly artist demonstrations at the Farmers Market in July, 2016 and June, 2017. Fifteen different artists will instruct participants in a variety of crafts and techniques, like spinning with a drop spindle, making a cobweb broom and weaving a garlic basket. This project is a pilot in a community effort to establish an Arts Council and downtown arts space.
Mossy Creek Foundation, Festival Park, $5,000
Mossy Creek Foundation will create a Sculptural Playground for families and children, located within the newly established Festival in the historic district of Jefferson City. The park will be space for arts projects, and will help convert an empty lot into an asset that spurs economic and community development in a disinvested downtown area.
Arts Center of Cannon County, Connecting with Art, $5,000
The Arts Center of Cannon County will commission and install an environmentally themed sculpture at the intersection of Doolittle Road and Water Street in Woodbury. This outdoor sculpture is designed to complement the town’s recent trend of arts development and encourage further investment.
Historic Germantown Nashville, Inc., Little’s Fish Market: “Windows on Germantown” Mural Project, $5,100
Historic Germantown Nashville, Inc. is targeting five blank blocked-in windows at Germantown’s Little’s Fish Market for neighborhood themed murals. The organization will host a community meeting for residents to explore ideas for the murals and select five artists to paint the murals. Summer students at Buena Vista Elementary School will also be invited to learn more about the murals.
Franklin County Arts Guild, Good Fences are Art Fences, $3,210
Franklin County Arts Guild will create a fence to both secure the lot adjacent to its new gallery and to serve as piece of public art in a planned sculpture garden. Planting and maintenance of the garden for public use will be achieved through a partnership with the Franklin County Garden Club, and the Guild will use the space to display sculptures created by members of its community.
Arts in McNairy, Cultural Heritage Walking Trail, $7,680
The Cultural Heritage Walking Trail will be a .8 mile walking trail in downtown Selmer connecting existing cultural and community assets. It will have trail markers designed by artists commemorating members of the McNairy County Music Hall of Fame, as well as a mobile app to augment visitors’ experiences.
City of Parsons, Hangar Drape and Cyclorama Project, $6,800
The City of Parsons, in partnership with the Rivertime Players, the Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, the University of Tennessee at Martin and others, plans to transform a once-vacant airplane hangar into a community theater space. The city will purchase and install a grand drape and cyclorama in the theatre. The new facility will allow the Rivertime Players to expand their season, including their yearly children’s theater activities.
Blues City Cultural Center, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, $5,700
Blues City Cultural Center will engage Orange Mound community residents, ages 50 and over, as well as their care-givers, over a six-month period through serial drama and technology to explore health issues that disproportionately affect African American populations. Recordings of the serial performances will be made available on Blues City’s YouTube Channel and played at the Christ Community Health Services and the Orange Mound Community Services Centers.
City of Germantown, Developing Public Art at Oaklawn Garden, $5,200
The City of Germantown will contract with a public artist to inventory and transform objects associated with the new Germantown public park Oaklawn Garden into outdoor sculpture. The park’s property, house and artifacts were a bequest to the city for public use by private donors Harry and Becky Cloyes, who cultivated extensive gardens and welcomed visitors to the premises throughout their lives.