published Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Chattanooga Glass House Collective gets $300,000 ArtPlace grant

Designer and builder Garth Brown works on the front door of an old bank building on Glass Street that is home to the Glass House Collective. The group has been awarded a $300,000 ArtPlace America grant.
Designer and builder Garth Brown works on the front door of an old bank building on Glass Street that is home to the Glass House Collective. The group has been awarded a $300,000 ArtPlace America grant.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Glass Street work

• Phase I begins in July with the design and fabrication of street light fixtures, benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and bus stop shelters. A request for proposal also will be released in July.

• Phase II projects begin in January and will introduce artisan signs, basic facade enhancements, murals and greenspace improvement.

• During those phases movies and block parties are planned to get people out of their homes and cars and into the streets while revitalization is in progress, organizers said.

Three dreamers started off with about six months worth of funding and a design using art to make the Glass Street area into a special destination.

They used the money to host block parties to get the East Chattanooga Glass Street area active, and they started renovating their building. And then this month, the three who make up Glass House Collective learned they are one of 47 organizations to get a national ArtPlace America grant.

"We've been including a lot of volunteers, but now it's official," said Teal Thibaud, Glass House's director of communications.

There will be requests for proposals and design charrettes, she said.

Glass House Collective got a $300,000 grant to be spent over the next year to fix up the Glass Street area.

Gerald Lane, who lives on Glass Street next to T&B Lounge, stood on his porch listening to music while the Glass House Collective team worked on plans for community restoration.

"Fix up the stores. Put the washeteria back," said Lane, referring to a coin laundry that once stood across the street near Sandy's Mini Market.

There are more vacant buildings on the street than anything else, organizers said.

ArtPlace chose Glass House Collective out of more than 2,200 inquiries, according to the ArtPlace news release.

ArtPlace is a Chicago-based collaboration of 11 foundations, eight federal agencies and six banks, according to the artplace america.org website.

Glass House Collective's plan is to commission artists to do streetscaping and create benches and interesting street lights along Glass Street. Designer Garth Brown already has started fixing up the Glass House Collective's office, an old bank building that Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise donated to the group.

Dolores Wolfe, a registered Tennessee designer, and design intern Sally Morrow also discussed interior design ideas for the old building.

The plan is to restore the buildings on Glass Street so well that they will attract businesses that will sustain the East Chattanooga community, Thibaud said.

Glass House Collective also includes Brown and director Katherine Currin.

The group noted that Glass Street is an area with lots of commercial potential because of the traffic that comes through while people travel to Volkswagen.

Thibaud said using artists is a way to get the community involved and invested in its own revitalization.

"If we can involve the community through creative projects, it's a way to get people out of their houses and involved rather than a developer just coming in and developing the whole thing," Thibaud said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@times freepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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