What if you could literally light up a neighborhood through a powerful combination of arts and engagement?
The Pool is an installation art piece of 40,000 LED bulbs and 106 pucks created by Brooklyn artist Jen Lewin, programmed to light up in clever, colorful ways when visitors step, run or dance across the piece. In 2017, the tech-enabled piece toured neighborhoods in East Chattanooga and brought families together in unexpected ways, in unexpected places. This installation kicked off The Highlight Festival which took place on the former HUD Housing Site called Harriet Tubman.
Activate vacant sites through the power of local collaboration and draw focus on neighborhoods in fun, bright ways. And did we mention dancing?
WHAT WE DID:
Glass House Collective, green|spaces, and our local partners worked with Jen Lewin to engineer a beautiful act of placemaking outside of typical venues to underscore the point that every type of family should have the opportunity to engage with home in a new way. While The Pool had toured major cities and events around the world (and clocked millions of steps), it had never made its way to the Southeast.
First stop: the East Chatt Highlight Festival — itself a feat of local partnership. Greeted by a full gospel showcase, The Pool brought locals and visitors together around a very bright event. The festival was held in the vacant site where 440 housing units of the Harriet Tubman Homes formerly stood. That’s also where kids from nearby Hardy Elementary met with the artist’s team and helped program color patterns and test out the massive installation. From there, the piece moved to a site on the 1900 block of Roanoke Avenue — just down the road from our very own Glass Street. Over the course of one week, The Pool moved around the area three times — from Highland Park, to East Chattanooga to East Lake — making a vibrant and dance-worthy event accessible to the families of Glass Street, all through the hard work of local partners.
There are so many things that are so right about our neighborhoods — but sometimes, you’ve got to set the stage to celebrate home. The Pool provided an opportunity for locals to pause, party and come together in an unconventional, highly ‘grammable way. Call it a slow down or a glow up: either way, it’s all about shining a light on our awesome neighborhoods.
http://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/IMG_1697.jpg15372049Tara Poolehttp://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ghc-logo-large-2.pngTara Poole2017-06-21 18:01:572018-06-11 17:09:42Empower Energy Club
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http://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/yoga.jpg640960Tara Poolehttp://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ghc-logo-large-2.pngTara Poole2017-05-10 16:01:352018-06-11 17:10:07Highlighting the Good!
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How Can Accessibility to Nature Improve the Physical, Mental, and Economic Health of a Community?
In late 2015, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (CCNMP) was awarded the Active Trails Grant from the National Parks Foundation and decided to partner with GHC in order to get the Glass Street Neighborhood more involved in and aware of two sections of the park that are right next door: the Sherman Reservation and the Pennsylvania Reservation. The $25,000 grant was almost entirely put towards building a trail straight from the Pennsylvania Reservation at the corner of Glass and Campbell Streets to the Sherman Reservation so walking to the park became a more feasible option for residents. Funds also went towards marketing all the activities at the reservations, cleanup around the reservations, events during the summer and early fall season, and excursions for residents of the neighborhood.
Much of the Glass Street and East Chattanooga area was unaware that the Sherman Reservation and Pennsylvania Reservation are right in their backyard. Raising awareness and enabling more accessibility allowed the opportunity for improved physical and mental health.
WHAT WE DID:
GHC led the first excursion on January 24th, bringing 13 youth from East Chattanooga to the Sherman Reservation for a day of exploring and scavenger hunts. It was their first time visiting the park, and each was given and shown how to use a compass, another first for many.
On April 2nd, the CCNMP, GHC, Southeastern Conservation Corp, Sierra Club, and the Trust for Public Land all partnered to host Park Day 2016, sponsored by the Civil War Trust. Volunteers gathered to help clean up the area where the trail connecting the Pennsylvania Reservation to the Sherman Reservation was to be built during the summer.
The second excursion led 12 youth first to the Bessie Smith Cultural Center for a special presentation, then to the Craven’s House trails and view on Lookout Mountain. The cultural center, in partnership with the CCNMP, was hosting the “Gateway to Freedom” exhibit about the contributions made by the 1st U.S. Colored Brigade in Chattanooga during the Civil War. The CCNMP also put on the “A World Turned Upside Down” presentation about how the social order of the city was flipped when Union Colored Troops secured Chattanooga. Afterward, the youth were led up to Craven’s House, where most experienced Lookout Mountain and the beautiful view of their city for the first time.
For the third excursion, 16 youths came up to the Sherman Reservation to explore and participate in a game designed to strengthen communication and teamwork skills. They were all paired off and each tied together with their backs together. Their goal was to get to each flag place around the reservation while one partner was blindfolded. Anyone who fell was out. Along with exploring the expansive park and trails right in their neighborhood, the youths got to learn how to slow down and help each other out in order to accomplish their goal.
The fourth excursion was especially exciting, as a group of 15 kids was led to the reservation on a camping trip. Since this would have been the first campout for most of the kids, to prepare them and ease anxieties GHC held a “Fakeout Campout” in partnership with Outdoor Chattanooga. The instructor Terri Chapin answered any questions and taught them how to pitch the tents, build a fire, and pack everything up. It was a great way to allow children younger than eight, who were not old enough for the real trip, to participate.
The final two excursions through the reservation were a time of great reflection for the kids and youths who participated, while allowing GHC to gather feedback on their trips, using the Design Thinking method. Six adults accompanied the youths on each trip prepared with questions to encourage reflection and answers for all the kids’ questions about the monuments and wildlife.
Two separate trips up to Point Park on Lookout Mountain allowed more kids to see the beautiful views of the city. Transportation to the Incline was provided both times by the #10 CARTA bus. One group of eleven youths went up in May and the second group of older youths went up in July. It was a first for many of the kids, both riding the Incline and experiencing the natural beauty and monuments at Point Park.
The first Juneteenth that GHC has hosted was held at the Sherman Reservation, complete with a cookout, music, poetry readings, special speakers, and reenactments. The new trail was utilized by many to hike to the event, and volunteers from around the community made the celebration and reflection of history happen.
In October, the youth got another chance to participate in both a “fake out campout” and a real weekend campout in cabins at the Tennessee River Gorge, where they got to learn about the conservation efforts of the area and explore the trails and wilderness.
The benefits of introducing the neighborhood to the fresh air just down the street from them has been incalculable, especially for the youth who participated in the excursions. During the most malleable part of their lives, it’s important that the youth are exposed to safe, meaningful activities that will inspire their futures and get them out in the world, even if their world right now is just our little city. GHC wants to make sure experiencing nature while learning the history of Chattanooga becomes a priority in the community.
National Parks Foundation
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Southeastern Conservation Corp
Trust for Public Land
Civil War Trust
trips were funded
participants across the trips and events
volunteers participated across the events and trips
http://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/File_001.jpeg15362049Tara Poolehttp://www.glasshousecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ghc-logo-large-2.pngTara Poole2016-08-10 14:48:542018-06-11 17:11:20CARTA from Glass Street to Lookout Mountain
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The alleyway behind the Glass Street corridor was overgrown and full of trash; the backs of the rows of buildings were dirty and in need of new paint. It used to be a beckon for fast drivers and dumping. New Covenant Holiness Church came to Glass House Collective with the idea to clean up and revitalize the alleyway.
Not only was the alleyway an eyesore, it was a health hazard and dangerous to trek on foot due to speeding cars. Wes Mohney and his company Market 3D, a 3D visualization and landscape design firm, provided design services and coordinated the work day, GHC provided supplies, and New Covenant Pure Holiness Church helped enlist volunteers for the work day.
With the help of business owners, pastors, volunteers, and residents we removed all trash, stripped rear facades, added a fresh coat of paint, removed graffiti, and added minimal landscaping. Since this clean up, we’ve had numerous volunteer days on the site and continued support from our neighbors to keep the alley way clean, thus improving the health and safety of the neighborhood. We took an overlooked, neglected area once used for dumping trash and decided that no matter how insignificant it may seem, it needed to be reclaimed as a proud part of the community.
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How do you help local business owners do what they do best?
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.
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.
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.
Connect business owners with creatives to develop projects that connect neighbors and bring foot traffic to the area
Create paid work for local artists
Art Means Business Overview
Everything you need to know about AMB (and how to replicate it somewhere else). Download the one-pager here.
“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 wanted to turn her grant into an event that honors her art and her community.
Tina’s project featured 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 brought 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 focused on showing how African American expression has impacted the music industry across genres. And finally, Tina commissioned 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.”
“Bethlehem 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 in 2020 with her daughters, she used grant funding to extend this holiday tradition in 2021.
“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 added new scenes to the popular Nativity, working in partnership with local churches, Chattanooga Choral Society, and neighborhood residents and businesses. The Nativity project engages local artists in painting backdrops; local kids created ornaments and act as characters. Tina also built a stage for singers to perform and generate extra holiday income.
“Fresh Produce, Fresh Mural” Project by Christina Mack, Save A Lot
Christina Mack manages the newly renovated Save A Lot. As part of her project, Christina supported helped connect the dots between local kids, fresh produce and the arts.
We connected Miss Mack with the outreach programs Young Ladies of Power and Archway Kids to host a day of taste-testing and fun. To prepare, we chatted with muralist Golden to create coloring pages that the kids could work on and talk about, all with the goal of giving Golden a bit of inspiration for his upcoming mural. The pages featured beautiful fruits and vegetables that the kids could color — but how about taste?
Piggybacking off of a fall-break visit to Booker T. Washington State Park, we brought Asia Wiggins from I Am Fitness and her epic juicing powers to the kids for an afternoon of taste-testing fresh juices. From celery and beets to ginger and apple, the kids had a chance to learn about each piece of produce and taste the juice for themselves. At the end of the day, they were each given a jar to create their own custom juice, putting together the ingredients they’d tried.
And of course, there was coloring. As the kids learned about each fruit and vegetable, they added new layers of color and fun to their coloring pages, which our GHC team scanned and shared with Golden. These sheets, along with quotes, poems and stories from the kids, became the basis for his mural.
In early November 2021, Golden turned all these inputs from the community into a big, bold, beautiful mural along the Save-A-Lot — conveniently just six feet away from the door to the market’s produce section. The mural brings color to the block, but it also shows our kids that their input matters.
“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 set 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 created a new mural in that space and the Glass House Collective Advisory Council worked with Joe and another local muralist to create mural on his vacant storefront facing Glass Street.
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How do you create a temporary totem to a community’s enduring experiences and inspiration?
As part of the Planning By Doing Workshop, our Homebase Team saw a need to create an art installation along the Glass Street Gateway that would be a reflection of the community. The art piece would need to play a functional role in encouraging foot traffic and beautifying the street, as well as an important engagement role in bringing neighbors together.
Create an art installation that plays back reflections and quotes from community members, inviting visitors to linger, read, gather and connect.
Volunteers, artists, and community members came together to build a temporary portal featuring quotes, poems and reflections from neighbors. This interactive sculpture is an invitation to engage with the community and literally enter the new community space mindful of its history and people. Initially installed near other Crutchfield activations, including our asphalt art project, the portal is a celebration of creativity and community togetherness.
Create an art piece that reflects Glass Street as it is — and as it could be
Create a gathering place where neighbors share their stories
Encourage reflection and sharing between neighbors
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How can we make a regular commute for children safer and more creatively engaging?
Hardy Elementary School sits in a central — albeit heavily trafficked — part of the neighborhood. Busy Roanoke Avenue is a regular commuter path for vehicles, but more importantly, it also sees lots of foot traffic to and from the school, by students, parents, teachers and more. Traffic, paired with unreliable pedestrian safety crosswalks, makes the area a source of stress for parents and teachers, who want safe walking routes for their kids.
Over the course of the Planning By Doing Workshops, our Safe Walk Team heard from local parents and teachers on the need for safety improvements around the school, particularly from Roanoke to Glass Street. The team investigated temporary, quick and effective interventions to help keep kids on foot safer, then partnered with other PBD workshop teams to execute.
First there was the issue of traffic. The Hardy Safe Walk Team created a yarn mural woven into a fence on Roanoke Avenue that says “Slow Down” to oncoming traffic. The mural is located in a bend in the road and is over 6 feet tall, making it visible from a distance and helping alert drivers to greater foot traffic not just in front of the school, but along the entirety of Roanoke up to Glass Street.
Second, the team identified the safest routes for students walking home and created murals and stencils to mark the route. And who better to make this happen than the kids themselves? Over a series of field trips, students learned about stencil art and murals, and then helped apply Hardy’s eagle mascot to the sidewalk along the safest path, ultimately encouraging students to “follow the eagles.” Plus, the students applied eagle designs and buildings along the street, further reinforcing which route students should take to stay safe on their way to and from school. The eagle stencil was designed by a local resident and team member, Jonathan Dean.
Create an art installation that warns drivers of increased foot traffic
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How do you create a gathering space for the public, before the public space for it exists?
For years, Glass Street residents have had limited access to a grocery store. But when a new Save A Lot opened in the spring of 2021, this new community anchor became a point of pride — and a potential hub for community gatherings.
During the Planning By Doing Workshops, our Gathering Spaces Team identified an opportunity to emphasize the new Save A Lot’s impact. The team wanted to symbolize the stores’ ability to gather locals and promote engagement. But with limited seating areas nearby, it seemed like creating a sense of place near the new store would require some creative solutions.
With the store being a new anchor for the community, the team focused on creating a temporary space that would invite people in and feature models for safety, seating, lighting, beautification and art. The team created a boardwalk and recruited volunteers to sand spools from our partners at EPB and make them into tables for gathering.
New shade umbrellas were installed, as well as planters that help beautify the area. And at the center of the project is an art installation with large wooden letters that spell LOVE and have built-in seating for individuals or groups. The space is designed to invite the entire community in, but particularly families and kids.
Located just outside the Save A Lot, the temporary installation was unveiled at the store’s grand opening alongside the Crutchfield Asphalt Art mural. While the installation is temporary, organizers hope to assess the community’s interest in a more permanent installation in the future and use learnings from this process to inform the design of that piece.
In the coming months, our team, led by artist and activist Erika Roberts, will also animate the space with community events and music.
Create family-friendly gathering spaces near the new grocery store
Invite neighbors and volunteers to create a pop-up installation
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How do you make accessing a vital community center safer for kids and adults alike?
The area’s Youth and Family Development (YFD) center is an important homebase for social services and a gathering place for Glass Street residents, particularly for local children who visit after school for sports, play and study time. But the YFD’s location near a major thoroughfare made walking to and from the center a constant negotiation between vehicles and pedestrians.
Over the course of the Planning By Doing Workshops, the Safe Routes Team identified a need to encourage use of the sidewalk in front of the YFD. The hope was that a creative intervention could make the building’s entrance more appealing and welcoming, while also keeping pedestrians safe.
The YFD Safe Routes Team envisioned a Walk of Fame, located on the sidewalk from Crutchfield to Daisy in proximity to the YFD. This installation was created in partnership with local artist 2$on — himself a regular at the YFD growing up — and includes a stenciled pattern and spray painted stars mentioning local community heroes, and an outdoor art gallery highlighting pieces by local kids from the nearby Hardy Elementary.
Encourage use of sidewalk near YFD, especially by children
Honor locals through a Walk of Fame
Beautify the street using art from local students
Provide an opportunity for local youth to participate in art installation
How do you connect neighbors, designers, and artists together to solve public space challenges and co-create a roadmap for short-term projects that lead to long-term change?
Placemaking doesn’t just happen: it’s a process that happens over many conversations and projects. In the Glass Farm community, past visioning efforts often fell short of true follow-through — leading to scepticism of the process. But what if a visioning effort had next steps built in? The Planning By Doing Workshop was developed to create tangible plans and teams of owners to implement tactical urbanism projects that make Glass Street cleaner, safer and more inviting.
Create a workshop for neighbors, designers and artists to work together and develop specific, actionable, Glass-Street-specific projects. Further, support these “planners” with financial backing to help them work in teams and bring their projects to life.
In the Fall 2020, Glass House Collective hosted a charrette style workshop coined Planning by Doing, where five teams of artists, designers, community members and other stakeholders worked together to envision and implement tactical interventions across the “Glass Street Gateway,” the intersection where Glass Street meets Dodson Avenue.
The purpose of the Planning by Doing Workshops was to involve residents in the future of their neighborhood through their personal connection to public safety enhancements and projects that make the area more inviting. Importantly, the workshops also sought to connect residents with the area’s social assets — from Hardy Elementary School, to the East Chattanooga Youth and Family Development Center (YFD), to the new Save-A-Lot grocery store.
Each team focused on a different community priority previously identified through community engagement efforts, from beautification to safe routes to community gathering spaces. Teams conducted project brainstorming sessions, refinements, and public presentations. And finally, each was given a $3,000 budget to implement at least one of their intervention ideas.
Creating a Walk of Fame near the area’s Youth and Family Development Center to encourage use of the sidewalk, designed by local students honoring the area and its heroes. In addition to the safe route element, an outside art gallery is on display along the nearby fence, featuring work from Hardy Elementary’s art students.
From wheatpasting to yarn art, this project answered the requests of local parents and teachers and installed creative interventions that help slow down traffic and mark safe walking routes for Hardy Elementary students.