Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village
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Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village is a neighborhood revitalization effort that seeks to develop approximately four blocks of the historic Fort Hawkins Neighborhood in East Macon into an arts village in order to address blight and foster economic opportunity. The effort is a partnership between neighborhood residents, Macon Arts Alliance, the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority, and many community stakeholders.
The Mill Hill effort seeks to address the challenges of blight and lack of economic opportunity in the neighborhood known as the “Birthplace of Macon.” Originally a “mill village” located adjacent to the Bibb Manufacturing Company’s Bibb Mill No. 1, the neighborhood consists of a variety of low-priced, architecturally significant housing stock that is largely in need of renovation and restoration. According to a recent inventory conducted by the Urban Development Authority, 46% of the parcels in the neighborhood are vacant and blighted. A key asset of the neighborhood is a dilapidated auditorium, built by the Bibb Manufacturing Company in 1920, when the neighborhood was predominately mill employees. The auditorium has been identified as the site for the proposed Mill Hill Community Arts Center.
Macon Arts Alliance has envisioned a two-year visiting social practice artist program as the catalyst for the proposed arts village. Social practice artists use art as a tool to build and strengthen communities. The Mill Hill initiative will empower visiting artists, local artists, and neighbors to fight blight, identify and develop existing creative assets, and create a plan based on a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood as a creative place to live, work and play. Visiting artists will increase civic engagement by mobilizing neighborhood residents as volunteers, artists, and in other civic activities. They will empower youth by working with local artists to engage youth in arts-based activities and attract artists and makers by offering workshops and resources for creative entrepreneurs.
A steering committee was recently formed with representatives from the Fort Hawkins Neighborhood, Coliseum Health System, Regency Hospital, Macon Housing Authority, Phillips Performing Arts Studio, Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority, Knight Foundation, Macon-Bibb County government, Otis Redding Foundation, and Macon Arts Alliance. The steering committee represents neighborhood stakeholders, the local arts community, and a wide array of community support for the Mill Hill project. Additionally, an artistic advisory committee has been formed to ensure that the project offers both artistic excellence and artistic merit. A community committee of engaged residents is working at the grassroots level to ensure that residents are empowered to be agents of change and leaders in this effort.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Rev. James Baker, Homeowner
Jan Beeland, Executive Director, Macon Arts Alliance
Beverly Blake, Program Director for Macon, Knight Foundation
Mike Boggs, CEO, Regency Hospital
Steven Fulbright, Main Street Macon, President-elect of Macon Arts Alliance
Lance Jones, CEO, Coliseum Health System
Sam Macfie, Board President of Macon Arts Alliance
Karen Middleton, Chief of Resident Initiatives, Macon Housing Authority
Alex Morrison, Executive Director of the UDA
Gwen Phillips, Owner of Phillips Performing Arts Studio
Karla Redding-Andrews, Otis Redding Foundation
David Quakenbush, Executive Meetings and Events Manager at Macon Marriott City Center
Robert Reichert, Mayor of Macon-Bibb County
Chris Sheridan, Chair of the UDA
ARTISTIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Jamie Adams, Glass Artist and Sculptor
Ben Bridges, Director of Fine Arts at Bibb County School District
Jeff Bruce, Director of Exhibitions at Tubman African American Museum
Tyrone Cullers, Musician, Instructor at Phillips Performing Arts Studio
Alexis Gregg, Ceramic Artist, Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Wesleyan College
Josy Jones, Playwright, Founder of Chameleon Village Theatre
Vinson Muhammad, Musician, Instructor at Otis Redding Foundation
The Macon Roving Listeners worked in the neighborhood in the summer of 2015 to begin development of a creative assets map. The Roving Listeners hire residents from the neighborhood, youth and adults with and without disabilities, to listen to the stories of their neighbors and to identify their passions and gifts. A Roving Connector then engages neighbors by connecting them to projects that align with their passions and gifts. Simultaneously, Macon Arts Alliance is working with partners to renovate blighted houses on the designated blocks adjacent to the proposed community center. These homes will become live/work space for artists and will be strategically located in the area just behind the community arts center.
Mill Hill Announcements
Touring Mill Hill – The Telegraph
Macon arts village taking shape – The Telegraph
Macon-Bibb County: Something For Everyone (Local Flavor) – Georgia Trend
The Macon Arts Alliance, Leading Through Transformation – Creative Exchange
East Macon arts village project moving forward – The Telegraph
Macon Roving Listeners shares voice through listening – Creative Exchange
The Art Of Listening And Urban Renewal – GPB-Macon
Listening project building trust and more in Mill Hill community – The Telegraph
Arts village in east Macon receives $134,000 grant – The Telegraph
Macon Arts Alliance receives NEA Our Town Grant to support Mill Hill
Primary Partner: Macon Bibb County Urban Development Authority
To support an artist residency program and cultural plan for Mill Hill neighborhood. Via a national call, artists will be selected and embedded in the neighborhood to work with the local community on arts projects and programming. Consultants will collaborate with residents, visiting and local artists to conduct creative asset mapping to inform a cultural plan. Macon Arts Alliance and Macon-Bibb County will provide leadership for the project to ensure community participation and visioning that guides the future of Mill Hill and positions the arts as central to the revitalization strategy. Located within walking distance of the downtown business district, Mill Hill is a historically significant neighborhood. Macon has a population of 154,700 and is one of 14 cities designated by the White House in its Strong Cities Strong Communities program.
Mill Hill is supported by: