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Glass House Collective is a Chattanooga-based non-profit founded to bring life back to Glass Street and Glass Street back to life. GHC gathers talent from in and around the community to develop creative projects of all kinds, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing the historic Glass Street commercial corridor. ArtPlace spoke with Katherine Currin, director of Glass House Collective, about how the organization is gaining political traction with their efforts.

ARTPLACE: Have you gained any political traction with your efforts? With whom and how did you do it?

CURRIN:  Yes – we are constantly reaching out and asking our city officials and state representatives for their support. Taking the time to communicate our goals and efforts has really paid off.

The City of Chattanooga has committed funding for streetscape and infrastructure improvements, including new sidewalks and green, high-tech lighting. We are working with the Department of Engineering on the layout and design to help achieve the desired character and appearance for the corridor.

Public Art Chattanooga (PAC), which is housed in the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department, is providing funding for a temporary sculpture to be installed on Glass Street this coming February. We are also working collaboratively with PAC to engage individual artists in the design and fabrication of new benches, bike racks, and trash receptacles for the street.

We are partnering with the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) to transform three new bus shelters into works of art.

So, needless to say, this has been a really exciting year for Glass House. Our partners, both public and private, are demonstrating new enthusiasm for East Chattanooga.

ARTPLACE: Who’s helped you along the way?

CURRIN: Our city councilman has been an ally and advocate since day one.

We are also engaging a broad-based of citizens in the planning and implementation of our projects. This type of meaningful engagement has resulted in stakeholders asking their representatives for support on our behalf. What more could you ask for?

The excitement over the revitalization of our urban neighborhoods as well as a focus on and pride in Chattanooga’s artist community, points to a city and a population that values artists for their contributions. We are grateful for the individuals who sowed those seeds of appreciation and proud to be building o

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