Art Means Business Grants

How do you help local business owners do what they do best?

BACKGROUND:

The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on Glass Farm businesses and artists. And while the world slowly gets back to normal, residents and leaders saw an opportunity to jumpstart engagement and bring business (and foot traffic) back to the area.

NEED:

Fund a series of arts initiatives by, for, and right on Glass Street. Imagined by entrepreneurs and brought to life with local artists, these projects need to highlight what makes Glass Street a destination like none other.

VISION:

Glass House Collective believes in the power of arts and culture to strengthen the social and economic development of our neighborhood. Our Art Means Business grant program supports businesses along our commercial corridor by funding arts based programming and installations. By connecting business and the arts, the goal is to drive foot traffic to businesses in the neighborhood and simultaneously create paid gigs for local creatives.

In June of 2021, we announced four winners for the Art Means Business grants. These business owners will have six months to complete their projects, which include arts events, installations, and even a bit of holiday spirit.

GOALS:

  • Connect business owners with creatives to develop projects that connect neighbors and bring foot traffic to the area
  • Create paid work for local artists

PROJECTS:

“African American Art Cultural Influence in the Hair and Music Industry”
Project by Tina Jones, Ashanti Hair Design

Tina Jones has been running a successful business in Glass Farm for over three decades. Not only is Ashanti Hair Design one of the longest standing businesses in the area, but Tina also owns two properties on Glass Street. As a mover and shaker on Glass, Tina wants to turn her grant into an event that honors her art and her community.

Tina’s project will feature three parts: first, live demonstrations of African American hair design and techniques, outside Ashanti on Glass Street. “African American hair designs are a form of art and expression that have created world wide attention because of their uniqueness — and sometimes legal problems in the workplace because of their rejection and lack of acceptance by predominantly white establishments,” says Tina. She hopes that her live demonstrations, as well as informational pamphlets, will help remove that stigma and celebrate African American hair design as an art form.

Second, Tina will bring local artists to her event to perform music introduced into the mainstream by African American musicians, from Jazz and R&B to Soul and Hip Hop. These performances will have a focus on showing how African American expression has impacted the music industry across genres. And finally, Tina will commission a live mural painting of an African Queen during her event.

“Funding my business with a grant of this magnitude will bring joy and hope to our business district,” says Tina. “We need excitement, festivities and activities on Glass Street to restore and rejuvenate the spirit of the existing business owners, and the people who live and support our business.”

“Nativity on Glass Street”
Project by Tina Stewart, First Step Christian Daycare

Tina Stewart owns First Step Christian Daycare and has a great idea to not only engage the kids she works with, but also local artists, singers, and residents. After successfully creating a walk-through and drive-through Nativity last year with her daughters, she will take her grant funding to extend this holiday tradition.

“The Nativity scene will draw more people into the East Chattanooga Community during the Christmas season and will increase revenue for the business owners on Glass Street.”

Tina will add two or three new scenes to the popular Nativity, working in partnership with local churches, Chattanooga Choral Society, and neighborhood residents and businesses. The Nativity project will engage local artists in painting backdrops; local kids will create ornaments and act as characters. Tina also plans to build a stage for singers to perform, hopefully creating a venue where artists can generate extra holiday income. We are excited to add a projection installation to the mix this year with the grant and know that her investments in lighting in the area will be a lasting benefit to the community.

“The Artistry of It”
Project by Christina Mack, Save A Lot

Christina Mack manages the newly renovated Save A Lot. As part of her proposed project, Christina is supporting creative Glass Street kids in creating and sharing “Expressions of Love” via music, dance, instruments and spoken word. Ten kids will be selected as performers, sharing their work at one of two public performances, as well as all together at a grand finale event. 

“Talent is universal, and we have plenty of great local talent right here,” says Christina. “This is supporting a chance for the young people to have a voice in the community and be able to express themselves in a positive way.”

This final event will be a big celebration with food, fun, live music from local bands, and prizes for the ten performers. These prizes will be $100 gift cards to Save A Lot, which not only rewards budding talent, but helps their families, too. 

Christina hopes that the event will bring the community together, and also put Glass Street talent on the map, helping local performers get recognized across the county and beyond.

“Color of Diversity”
Project by Joe Lautigar, H&R Block

Joe Lautigar is a veteran business owner who now runs three H&R Block locations, including one in Glass Farm. Joe’s project sets dollars aside to create new murals in the area, as well as pay artists to maintain or refresh existing ones. 

“The area has had a lot of positive announcements recently,” says Joe. “A new grocery store, businesses coming soon to the area, and we have seen small businesses start to return or show an interest in the area. This project will continue the work that we have all put into that community.”

Joe loves the Scooby Doo mural on his building that was installed by local artist Seven in 2013, but the mural is chipping and needs a refresh. Seven is creating a new mural in that space and the Glass House Collective Advisory Council will work with Joe and another local muralist to create mural on his vacant storefront facing Glass Street.