Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village Enters New Planning Phase

The Macon Arts Alliance continues development of the Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village by refocusing efforts on a neighborhood planning process, continued partnership with Minneapolis based consultant firm, and new hire for project director.

Creative Community Builders (CCB), a Minneapolis based consulting firm that specializes in integrating local arts and culture into strategic urban plans for revitalization, was selected by the Macon Arts Alliance in June 2016. CCB was chosen for their many years of experience with artist-led placemaking and urban-design. Through creative neighborhood immersion and information gathering sessions, the firm will create a 5-10-year community cultural plan over the next year-and-a-half based on input gathered from the residents of East Macon and other community stakeholders.

CCB and Macon Arts will continue to engage the neighborhood through public meetings and community events. Gatherings will be designed to celebrate the community, build on connections among residents, identify shared values of the neighborhood and partners, and attract a broader public awareness for the area.

In July of 2015, Macon Arts was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant which supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. A key component of this grant is the contract hire of a Project Director to serve as a conduit between all partners involved. J.R. Olive has been selected to serve in this role. Olive begins this position having previously worked as a coordinator for the College Hill Alliance specializing in neighborhood communications and organization, special events, various infrastructure projects, as well as grant administration.

“This project is comprised of many moving parts, each very intricate. I’m excited to immerse myself in the community of East Macon and learn from the people of who live there. This neighborhood has tremendous potential and innate value. I want to help connect the community to progress in East Macon,” states Olive.

Refocused efforts stem from a continued desire to prioritize local artists, neighborhood residents, and maintain the integrity of the “birthplace of Macon.” “This past August served as a time for us to reflect, we [Macon Arts Alliance] found ourselves in the position to pause, really slow down and assess where we were and what the right next step would be,” states Jan Beeland, executive director of Macon Arts. “A neighborhood is cellular, alive and breathing and it’s the residents of this community that have been and will continue to be most important. Communication and affirmation of our shared values is what drives the partnership we share with East Macon.”