MAINx24: A Dispatch from Allie O’Connell Wednesday, December 07, 2011
My friend Michelle turned to me and said, “Why can’t this happen every weekend!?” We were sitting on the floor at Green Spaces listening to local bluegrass musicians pickin’ and grinnin’ Saturday night during MAINx24. Main Street had turned into a huge party for the whole family all day and night. Musicians were out busking on the sidewalks on anything from a guitar to an electric organ. Arial performers hung from silks, and paintings were sold out of truck beds. Kids were drawing on sidewalks and chalkboards, and people and their pets pranced along with the parade.
The streets were lined with people. On Monday, all the CreateHere Fellows gushed about all the different things they did and saw Saturday on Main Street. Matt Adams discovered a grilled mac and cheese sandwich at the Famous Nater’s cart. Austin Reed was in awe of Mark “Pork Chop” Holder shredding guitar in front of the fire station. Dave Walker started the day off with a pancake breakfast at the fire hall, and was entertained by MakeWork Grantee Christie Burns and friends from the Folk School of Chattanooga performing there. Teal Thibaud was amazed by the tons of things to do at any moment, and the biggest crowed she’s seen at MAINx24 yet!
Prophets & Kings performed on top of the Discoteca building, and gave CreateHere a shout out for supporting their work. Kids were crawling all over rainbow hammocks by Color Cloud Hammocks. Allison Reedy spectated a bit of mechanical bull riding, and teams of corn hole players competed in a tournament as offices and businesses all along Main Street held events and gallery openings all day long. And then as night came, hundreds gathered around to watch Andrew Nigh’s huge sculpture burn with fireworks flying out of the blaze, and then move indoors for The Wailers at Track29.
The week leading up was full of painting, building, and planning for CreateHere’s last MAINx24. Inspired by Candy Chang, we installed three chalkboards along Main Street headed with prompts about community and creativity. Buddy Shirk coordinated students to play on Summitt Pianos’ Steinway D, the same grand piano the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera uses, and featured students of the Chattanooga Music Teachers Association, UTC-Cadek Conservatory and Lee University. The block was adorned with inspiring words and framed quotes, the office was transformed into a a gallery space for the MakeWork Showcase where artists performed and displayed their work, the sculptural Supernova Pavilion was completed and lit on the corner of Main and Market, and MakeWork Grantee Philip Andrew Lewis illuminated the Levin Building in a stunning feat of brick mapping. Seeing all the projects come together and live out in the bustle of MAINx24, where people could interact with them while enjoying the scores of community events, was a wonderful moment. Kate Creason said that seeing kids come up to the huge white Supernova Pavilion sculpture and wonder if it was a snowflake or an igloo, and just being amazed by the beautiful structure made the mad dash to construct it last week all worth while.
CreateHere was surrounded by friends and family as they joined together all throughout the day and night to celebrate five years on Main Street, and the emergence of Co.Lab as the designated economic incubator for Southeast Tennessee.