By Nicole Coleman
On a recent afternoon this fall, Kevin Love, the director of Innovation District programs, led about a dozen locals on a walking tour of Chattanooga’s Innovation District. Since the Innovation District of Chattanooga was established in 2014, there has been significant growth in the area, with new businesses and restaurants opening, and investments being made in public spaces and art. The district is about a quarter-mile radius from Miller Park, and the area boasts a high concentration of both startups and legacy businesses, historic landmarks, and attractive public spaces.
Next time you’re in the area and want to stretch your legs, take a stroll to some of these iconic spots in the Innovation District of Chattanooga!
EPB Community Stage at Miller Park
The EPB Community Stage opened September 13, 2018. Built with sliding glass doors, the performance venue faces green space in Miller Park measuring 25,500 square-feet. Concert events and shows featuring local artists are held throughout the year. This new addition to Miller Park gave Chattanooga residents an opportunity to enjoy a variety of music genres during the summer at the Nightfall Music Concert series. Ideal for outdoor entertainment, the space is versatile and has been used for movie screenings, live theater, concerts, and other community events.
Cooper’s Alley is a hidden gem, centrally located between 7th, Cherry, and Market Streets. A covered entryway opens up to a colorful and striking courtyard, where large-scale lime green and teal installation coils down the length of the alley.The award-winning public art installation, City Thread by SPORTS, makes Cooper’s Alley a unique venue for a variety of community events, meetups, and festivals.
If interested in hosting an event in Cooper’s Alley, click here to fill out and submit the online request form.
Patten Square, previously known as Patten Parkway, re-opened in July after major renovations to become a more pedestrian friendly public event space near Miller Plaza.
This historic square that was once home to the first Coca-Cola bottling facility, is flanked by the Tomorrow Building apartment building, Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy restaurant, and The Honest Pint Irish Pub. A new centerpiece overlooks the area — the Radiance sculpture designed by FUTUREFORMS, that provides shade to visitors during the day and lights up to cast scenic shadows at night.
ArtsBuild, formerly Allied Arts of Chattanooga, is the leading nonprofit organization for arts funding in Hamilton County. Located on 11th Street, the dark gray building with the prominent white and gold logo has three floors that support local arts establishments. Scenic City Clay Arts (ground floor), the Townsend Atelier Art Gallery (1st Floor), SoundCorps (2nd Floor), and Southern Lit Alliance are all housed within the ArtsBuild facility.
With a mission that centers around implementing arts opportunities for diverse and underserved communities, ArtsBuild seeks to have art in more places for more people.
Artists and individuals with the potential to impact Hamilton County through projects and programs are encouraged to apply for the various grants that ArtsBuild makes available to residents. For more details about the grant application process, please visit the Artsbuild site at https://artsbuild.com/grant-making.
AT&T Mural On MLK
One of the most visible murals in Chattanooga, this colorful canvas on the AT&T building is across from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Titled “We will not be satisfied until”, it is one of the top five largest murals in the country. Meg Saligman took the lead on this 42,000-square-foot project, which also included efforts from local artists.
Inspiration came from community input meetings and feedback sessions. Everyone featured in the mural is a real person, photographed in the former “Big 9” neighborhood.
The mural explores the themes of race and how the old and the new create equilibrium within a city block. Local artists who were involved in the process are Hollie Berry, Anier Fernandez, Anna Carll, Rondell Crier, Mercedes Llanos, and Shaun LaRose. All were commissioned by the City of Chattanooga Public Art department under the supervision of director, Peggy Townsend.