Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 6, 2020

Public Art Chattanooga launches City Creators

Public Art Chattanooga, the city of Chattanooga’s public art division, recently launched its City Creators program, which provides opportunities for artists to collaborate with city government and apply their practice to civic and community-focused projects.

“This program emphasizes the essential role the arts and artists play in Chattanooga, broadens our minds to consider new possibilities and demonstrates the power each of us has as creators in shaping the future of our city,” Mayor Andy Berke says.

City Creators is modeled after similar programs in cities around the country and is guided by national best practices for artists and municipal partnerships outlined by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts that promotes arts and culture as contributors to civic and social change.

The launch of the program fulfills Public Art Chattanooga’s plan to initiate artist-led community engagement strategies that help guide neighborhood empowerment through public art.

Action steps include the development of a roster of regional artists with an interest in and track record of working with community groups, as well as the launch of artist-in-residencies working with city departments and in communities.

PAC is rolling out City Creators with two opportunities: city artist and creative strategist.

The inaugural city artist is a part-time position embedded within the Chattanooga Department of Transportation. The city artist will work with staff to incorporate their artistic vision and creative process in the early planning stages of CDOT projects and systems.

The Footprint Foundation has provided support for this role by funding an artist mentorship that will foster specific skills, broaden the artistic practice and expand the community engagement tactics of the city artist as they orient to working in city government.

Chattanooga’s 2020 city artist is dancer Jules Downum. Downum has danced professionally since 2006 and traveled internationally to teach and perform as a solo artist and as a member of Urban Tribal Dance Company based in San Diego, California.

Downum has a Master of Arts in applied cultural anthropology from San Diego State University, where her thesis research focused on the social and emotional effects of dance participation among homeless women.

Creative strategists are contracted by PAC to work with city departments and residents to develop a community vision for public art including project location, direction and scope.

Using their own creative process, artists develop engagement and art-making activities to build relationships with residents and draw out interests, needs and aspirations.

PAC piloted the creative strategist role in 2019 while working with ELLA Library to inform public art projects in the East Lake neighborhood. It will continue its work with the community as projects are implemented in 2020.

2020 creative strategists include 2CREATE (led by Anna Carll and Claire Vassort), Erika Roberts, Katie Hargrave, Josiah Golson, R.I.S.E. (led by Shane Morrow) and Significant Developments (led by Daniel Johnson).


Source: Public Art Chattanooga