SWAY: Collectively Doing the Work

Save-A-Lot Grand Opening + Block Party on Sunday April 25

Glass House Collective and the Chattanooga Department of Transportation, in partnership with Chattanooga Design Studio, recently received a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The grant specifically funds an Asphalt Art Initiative and helps cities use art and community engagement to improve street safety and revitalize public spaces.

We’ve put that grant to work, and now we’re excited to unveil Chattanooga’s newest asphalt mural along Crutchfield Street as part of a grand opening block party for the area’s new Save-A-Lot store. Join us for an afternoon of festivities.

Save-A-Lot Grand Opening Block Party and Mural Unveiling
Sunday, April 25
12 to 4 pm

  • Live music from Soundcorps, featuring artists Marcus Ellsworth, 2 Deepwithin, Tyler Andrew, Arche Twitty, Erika Roberts, and Karla Felecia Scaife throughout the event.
  • Comments from our elected officials at 1:30 pm
  • Roller skate rentals from Moonlight Roller, available for anyone 18+ free of charge (and if you’re already a skater, bring your own to cruise on the freshly painted mural).
  • Food trucks, vendors and family-friendly activities organized by the great team at Save-A-Lot

We can’t wait to show off the beautiful mural, designed by artist Kevin Bate with input and engagement from the community, supported by 2$ON as his lead on-site assistant. We’ll also unveil new temporary public space amenities for getting the community together, all designed by a team of East Chattanooga residents, artists, design professionals and business leaders. The space is full of creative kid’s activities, seating, planters, shade, and lighting. And a huge shout-out to Hardy Elementary for all their involvement in bringing this project to life!

Images courtesy Make Beautiful

For more information about the event, email Miss Mack, the general manager at Save-A-Lot at savealot2300@gmail.com or check out the event listing on Facebook.


Volunteer Day: Countdown to Crutchfield

It’s a big month on Glass Street, with the grand opening of Save A Lot scheduled for April 24 and a whole month’s worth of activities leading up to the big day. In honor of this moment in the community, we’ve partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to bring a massive asphalt art project to Crutchfield Street directly in front of the new grocery store. We’re also working with teams of students at Hardy Elementary to bring art to the street and designate safe paths for kids to access the new store and rec center from the school. And oh yeah: we’ve also got a big grand opening block party planned for April 24.

But first things first: we need to get Crutchfield ready.

Volunteers will be on-site on Saturday, April 17 from 9 am to 1 pm to get our Glass Street gateway ready for the Save A Lot grand opening and asphalt art installation. Neighbors from Reach One Teach One, Scenic City Angel, Build It Green, Mark Making and our Gathering Spaces Team will be on hand, helping put flowers into new planters, getting the boardwalk ready for prime time, installing umbrellas and new seating. The new seating is under construction, but here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come.

Benches in progress   Rendering of seating

Stop by to support our volunteers on Saturday and get your eyes on all their work this week.

Through Glass Featured in UTC’s Institute of Contemporary Art


Audrey McClure, Glass Farm resident, and Glass House Collective Advisory Council member, at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s “Home” exhibit, March 2021.

Home” is the inaugural exhibit for the new Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, “highlighting art-making in our city that celebrates a sense of community and awareness to place.”  Glass House Collective was honored to have the Through Glass suite of projects that we produced with our neighbors and multidisciplinary artists in 2020 curated into the very first show! The exhibit remains on view through March 19.

Glass House Collective’s executive director, Teal Thibaud, creative strategist, Erika Roberts, community liaison, Lynesha Lake, and advisory council member Audrey McClure, recently visited the exhibition on campus and were moved to see the multiple ways in which the faces, stories, and names involved in Through Glass so clearly and strongly represent the exhibit’s themes of community and place. We’re so proud to see this on display through art!

Glass House Collective’s Community Liason, Lynesha Lake (standing), and Creative Strategist, Erika Roberts, watch a preview of Through Glass on view at the Institute Of Contemporary Art at UTC. March 2021

Doing the work is one thing. Seeing your efforts presented, acknowledged, and put in a greater context is something we will always appreciate.

“Seeing neighbors’ faces represented at Home in a place that was “far away” was dope. GHC made history for an underserved and overlooked neighborhood. I knew it was not even a year ago but it felt like history and I know the people making it happen.” Lynesha said.

As an artist-driven placemaking organization, it makes us especially proud to have our collective work curated into a contemporary art institute’s 1st show alongside 11 other incredibly talented artists who use art as a language to connect to a place.

“It is amazing! We work with artists to better our communities and when THAT is shown as art it is something to take seriously,” GHC Creative Strategist, Erika Roberts said. 

Check out Through Glass here.
Learn more about “Home” at ICA\UTC here.

Anti-Racism + Cultural Competency Training at GHC

Last summer, when our organization asked the Glass House Collective staff and board members to sign a Black Lives Matter statement of solidarity that we published in June, we also began an intentional process of deconstructing our own biases and examining racism within the systems and power structures at work in our community, our nation and the professional space of creative placemaking.  

Thanks to a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation, we were included in a placemaking cohort of 4 local organizations to participate as a group in Anti-Racism + Cultural Competency (ARCC) Training. The ARCC Training model is a part of Bridge City Community and designed to identify internalized racial dominance and/or oppression within individuals by examining the effects of socialization through guided introspection. ”Identifying and examining racism within the systems and power structures at work in our community and our nation results in a critical, racial framework that leads to action that disrupts racism in its various forms. ARCC helps organizations to decolonize the way they function in order to create a shared-power structure,” according to the ARCC website.

The training was essential for our organization to get deeper into the self-examination and brave conversations necessary to understand the depth of the wound of racism and the radical humility needed to reach empathy and healing. 

After working in the large cohort group that included members of the staffs and boards of Chattanooga Design Studio, Thrive Regional Partnership, and Carl Vinson Institute of Government at The University of Georgia, we continued GHC’s deep dive with more focused sessions and a customized curriculum that included bringing in Donovan Brown as the curriculum facilitator for the remainder of the training. Glass House Collective’s staff continues weekly discussions examining the organization’s practices and policies against a continuum of measurements that keep us accountable. 

Today as we head into Spring with a shot of hope in our arms, we are learning that action and doing are not always the best next steps. In fact, we can see where pushing too soon even with great intentions can do more harm than good if it’s just not the right time or even what’s needed.  “We’re a planning by doing creative placemaking organization so it isn’t hard to see how moving into a pausing posture is not our first impulse. Learning is also the work. Listening is also action,” Teal Thibaud stated. 

The next steps for Glass House Collective include creating equity principles that will guide organizational decision-making in the future. We will also meet with the other organizations in our cohort to discuss future collaborations and ways to ensure that equity remains at the forefront of placemaking in the Chattanooga region.