At this point, we are all on the same page about one thing: The Hattiesburg American Building is the PERFECT site for a NEEDED community arts venue for our city. But where do we go from here?
We cannot hope to move forward without the continued support of the community. We need your talents, your voices, and your resources! Here’s what you can do:
1.) Be an advocate
While the city waits for the New Markets Tax Credits to be picked up by private investors, it is essential that supporters of the CAC continue to push our agenda in local government. At our last meeting with city council in March, our proposal included a request for almost $5 million dollars in funding over a 10 year period to provide for staffing and renovation. Unfortunately, the city is in no position to fund such an ambitious proposal, with big line items like the Public Safety Complex and repairs to the waterways already eating up the budget and threatening tax increases. However, given the social and economic benefits that such an investment would yield, the city should AT MINIMUM take ownership of the building donated to the HAC while the offer is still on the table. This would allow us to begin slowly marshaling our fundraising, grant-writing, and creative resources while we wait for tax credit financing.
If you have an opportunity, contact your City Council Representative or Mayor Johnny Dupree and urge them to continue to work towards the CAC! Of course, make sure that you thank them for all of the work they have already done- a quick look at our timeline shows a continuum of enthusiastic city support. The next preliminary budget meeting is September 6th, 2016– so the sooner you get in touch, the better! And, of course, be sure to spread the word- there’s no such thing as too many visionaries! (It may be helpful to flash around our nifty brochure, as well!)
2.) Contribute your talents
Are you a grant-writing wizard? A program-success research extraordinaire? A low-budget miracle renovator? Or are you just interested in volunteering to support the work that the Hattiesburg Arts Council already does to keep our city creating? Shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org and see if there is any way you could work with our organization’s board to put some of these great ideas on paper and into practice. You may also want to email two of our former student interns, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to see where their projects left off. We are always excited to have collaborators- but keep in mind that a lot of our administrative capacity is focused on maintaining our current programs, so you’ll have to be pretty self-sufficient!
3.) Continue to patronize the arts in Hattiesburg!
Keep on dancing at Live@5 and Brown Bag Concerts, keep on walking that ArtWalk, and keep on sending your kiddos to smART Space programs! Our thriving arts scene is what makes Hattiesburg one of the Most Livable Cities in the nation, and nothing is going to stop that- Hattiesburg American Building or no. The more you continue to support local artists and organizations, the more likely we will see a Community Arts Center of some variety or another in our bright and art-filled future!
Check out the Hattiesburg Arts Council’s website for more information about our upcoming events, and stay tuned in to local offerings from all of the inspired folks that make the ‘burg great!
4.) Keep in touch!
Shoot us some comments down below, and keep an eye out for news!