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.

1 Year later, East Chattanooga Meet n Eat Going Strong

The monthly East Chattanooga Meet N Eat community zooms have become an inspiring and busy little virtual gathering space for making connections and seeing where we can all share resources to serve our communities. 

The zooms are held on the first Wednesday of the month and open to anyone interested in contributing to or listening in on the conversations and community collaborations that are taking place every day all over East Chattanooga.  Plan to attend the April meeting , just ask tara to send you the link tara@glasshousecollective.org.

Our most recent Eat N Meet was held on Wednesday, March 3 and a few highlights include:

Tory Worley with Hope For The Inner City let everyone know that the dental clinic was still going on and there will be four clinics in the month of March. Information and a printable application can be found on Hope’s website. The Mercy Relief program is also still open for those in need within the 37404 and 37406 zip codes only. With the growing season starting it was great to learn that Tory is partnering with UTC whose students have been helping tend the garden and ready it for vegetables that will be coming soon! 

Pastor J gave a great update from The Village Church and let us know they are launching a new conversation series on Facebook Live called Village Talks, exploring personal and spiritual development with different members of the community. The first Village Talk will be 7 pm on Tuesday, March 9th featuring Wayne Brown with Empower.

Dr. Everlena Holmes also gave an update on the East Chattanooga Improvement  (ECI) group who has been meeting regularly as they work to develop a strategic plan for the group. 

This month we were all happy to welcome Andrew Cone, New City Fellowship’s Youth Pastor, to his first East Chattanooga Meet n Eat and were glad to hear how the church will be reaching out to meet their neighbors this year.

And so much more! Interested? Please sit in on the Zoom recording here, or enjoy audio only here. Better yet! Sign up to get the link to the next East Chattanooga Meet n Eat by emailing: tara@glasshousecollective.org

Big Buff’s BBQ in the Glass Street Gateway!

The Glass Street Gateway is getting more active every day! If you are in the neighborhood during lunchtime, or if you’re just hungry for some really good Q, head to the Glass Street Gateway at the Save-A-Lot and look for Big Buff’s BBQ truck! He is there most weekdays from 11-4.

Buff is a long-time Avondale resident who went through the LAUNCH business planning class held at our HQ 8 years ago. We’ve been big fans for a bit and are so excited to have Buff’s food truck on Glass Street.
Who else is looking forward to longer warmer days of gathering at the Gateway while enjoying and supporting local businesses like Big Buff?!