Tattnall Square Center for the Arts

The Corporation of Mercer University

Funding Received: 2013
Macon, GA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 11, 2013

Interior view Tattnall Square Center for the Arts

Update and Reflection
Macon is chock full of arts spaces like beautifully restored theatres, vintage storefronts-turned-art galleries and newer museums strewn north between Mercer University and Wesleyan College. Tattnall Square Center for the Arts will be the first arts space in Macon, though that was specifically created to serve multiple arts disciplines in one venue. This aspect of its mission has influenced the design of the main performance and exhibition space. It has also inspired an underlying spirit of collaboration between Mercer University, partnering arts organizations, and the neighborhoods surrounding the Center, resulting in new opportunities to collaborate.

“The Tattnall Square Center for the Arts will be a hub where multiple artistic disciplines will converge,” said Scot Mann, director of Mercer Theatre, who will eventually serve as director of the Center. “I see this project as a strong enhancement for the arts at Mercer and the Macon. Exposure to dance, film, concerts, and visual arts will foster collaboration between artists and organizations and [encourage] greater community participation in the arts that will hopefully raise the quality of each discipline. It's an exciting time to be in the arts at Mercer!” he added. This new spirit of collaboration is like a blank canvas, as is the interior of the building is still in transformation. Church pews and center aisle carpet has been removed along with ceiling tiles and old window air conditioning units. Gothic beams and arches now stand with neutral colors masking bold character. The space itself has become a neutral canvas awaiting a first brushstroke of new vitality.

Recent Wins
Since Mercer Bears Football returned to our school for the first time since 1942 (and two record sellout games thus far), there is a new energy and engagement between the university and the community. Each game week, thousands of people pass the Center and see its progress – many for the first time since they graduated from Mercer. The Center’s location is the entrance to Mercer’s little corner of our city, and it is poised to become a perfect welcome gate to Bear Country. The Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from various arts organizations who will present or perform at the Center, meets later this month for the first time since construction began. Slated for discussion are the sound needs from the various contingents. We expect that this discussion will kick off many inter-organization-collaborations as the economy of scale becomes real and they realize how many technical needs they share.

Insight/Provocation from the Field
The arts and sports don’t usually go hand in hand, but the buzz of Mercer Football is fueling interest in all things related to the college, including the arts. Mercer Theatre—the future primary tenant of the Center—is capitalizing on Bear spirit. They turned a scheduled evening performance of Moliere’s Tartuffe into an afternoon “Tartuffe & Tailgating” event! Audiences enjoyed a lively performance followed by the opportunity to tailgate with the cast and crew.