A group of local citizens and art advocates is coordinating the launch of an art incubator in this historic community. Arts in the Burg is working to enhance the town with artists in working studios open to the public and live music venues. Go to <https://artsintheburg.com> for more information.
Arts in the Burg will host a launch party on Saturday, June 26, 2021, in the alley behind the Princess Theatre. The launch party will include the unveiling of the city’s first large mural.
Arts in the Burg’s Director, Dale Woodfin, paints a bold vision for the incubator. “Communities in the southeast and throughout the country are revitalizing their historic districts through the arts and public artworks – think taffy being made in the window as you stroll down the street in Gatlinburg, but here it will be working artists practicing their craft and interacting with the public. With our tree-lined streets, historic architecture, and rich artistic history, we will be inviting regional and national art lovers to weekend experiences in South Pittsburg. Once we start attracting visitors to our downtown area, we expect other unique retail and hospitality type businesses to open.”
Using the Huntsville, Ala., Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment District, the Paducah, Ky., Lower Town Arts District, and other cities as examples, Arts in the Burg’s goal is to have 20 to 30 working artists in facilities located in downtown South Pittsburg by the end of 2021. Other examples of community revitalization programs are highlighted on The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) website, which showcases an expansive collection of art centers and historic preservation success stories throughout the country <https://www.arts.gov/impact/creative-placemaking/exploring-our-town>.
Arts in the Burg is the recipient of a generous donation from a gracious patron of the Arts, as well as a $10,000 grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission to fund the mural and launch party. This grant was awarded to SPARQ for the Arts in the Burg program as a result of South Pittsburg’s participation in the Thriving Communities program and the Tennessee Placemaking Partnership.
The Tennessee Placemaking Project is a collaborative pilot project by Thrive Regional Partnership, Tennessee Arts Commission, Southeast Tennessee Development, and the Lyndhurst Foundation. The project is designed to support local communities as they scale up strategies that leverage local arts and cultural assets for economic vibrancy and growth throughout the greater Chattanooga region. To learn more, visit <www.thriveregionalpartnership.org/projects/tn-placemaking-partnership>.