The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced Public Art Chattanooga’s “On the Fence” series as a winner for the Bright Ideas program. Bright Ideas is designed to recognize and share creative government initiatives around the country with interested public sector, nonprofit and academic communities.
Public Art Chattanooga, a division of the City of Chattanooga's Parks and Recreation Department, formed a partnership with the Lyndhurst Foundation to launch “On the Fence.” Through an open city-wide competition, area artists, individuals or teams were invited to submit designs and to construct installations to enhance and transform chain link fences on the Southside.
“’On the Fence’ is a temporary innovative public art installation designed to transform an unsightly series of chain link fences along Main Street, the primary urban corridor of Chattanooga's bourgeoning Southside,” said Peggy Townsend, Public Art Chattanooga director. “Main Street connects three historic neighborhoods – Fort Negley, Jefferson Heights and Cowart – each with its own distinctive character. Once severely neglected, each neighborhood is experiencing a rebirth through reinvestment; much of the confidence generated is attributable to using public art as a revitalization tool.”
Bright Ideas seeks to complement the long-standing Innovations in American Government Awards Program by providing government agencies with a collection of new solutions that can be considered and adopted today. This new program serves to recognize promising government programs and partnerships that government officials, public servants and others might find useful when faced with their own challenges.
This year’s Bright Ideas winners were chosen by a team of expert evaluators made up of academics, practitioners and former public servants. Selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants, 2010 Bright Ideas address a range of pressing issues including poverty reduction, environmental conservation and emergency management.
“For over 20 years we have been honoring the country’s most creative public sector initiatives through our Innovations in American Government Awards Program,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “The creation of Bright Ideas was a natural next step to shed light on an even greater number of noteworthy programs and practices across our nation and to encourage practitioners to make these ideas work in their own backyards.”