Cleveland And Dalton Receive $20,000 Thriving Communities Implementation Grants

Monday, June 13, 2016
Thrive 2055, in partnership with the Lyndhurst Foundation, ArtsBuild and the Southeast Tennessee Development District, is pleased to announce that Cleveland, Tennessee and Dalton, Georgia have each received funding approval for a $20,000 grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to begin implementation of arts and culture projects in their communities.

Thriving Communities was conceived by Thrive 2055 and the Lyndhurst Foundation as a way to empower citizens of the region to leverage their arts and culture assets toward community vibrancy and economic prosperity. Other participating communities are Cohutta, Murray County and Rossville, Ducktown and South Pittsburg, and Fort Payne.

Cleveland and Dalton are the first to apply and receive funding approval from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

The grants are the second step in the Thriving Communities process, which began in January, with an intensive design thinking crash course powered by Bridge Innovate. Volunteer teams from each community participated in the three-month course, which included high energy creative work sessions and active public engagement within their home towns.

As a result of the course, all of the participants discovered untapped community arts and culture assets that could be used to energize their cities and help attract sustainable economic development.

Dalton leadership asked the community to re-imagine the vacant Lee Printing property in the middle of downtown as "The Spot," a place where members of the community could get together for art, music and cultural activities.

"It is amazing to see so many individual people and community groups and organizations all coming together for a common goal,"said Amanda Brown, executive director of the Creative Arts Guild. "Through a community survey and a resulting tester pop-up event, our team was able to move forward with a plan to create a space to house outdoor centralized arts and cultural events confidently knowing that it is something that is desired and supported by our community at large."

Cleveland plans to engage local artists to develop what will be known as "Back Alley Galleries" in underutilized downtown alleys, which will create places to host future popup events and concerts. Their vision is to use the alleys to connect and enliven Cleveland's historic downtown.

"We are incredibly excited about implementing this project as way to take the first steps toward embedding the arts and culture into the fabric of our historic downtown," said Corey Divel, senior planner for the City of Cleveland. "We believe it will create a sense of place in these unique areas and encourage citizens and visitors alike to explore all downtown has to offer."

Both communities will now begin implementing their ideas. All eight Thriving Communities teams will gather again in August for another training session on accessing additional resources for project implementation.

"Thrive 2055 has always been about making the most of our economic opportunities while preserving what we love about our home communities," said Bridgett Massengill, executive director of Thrive 2055. "These eight vibrant and distinct communities are leading the effort to enrich the culture and heritage of our entire tristate region."
Thrive 2055 is a citizen-led, public-private endeavor engaging people from across the tristate, 16-county region of Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama to make the most of economic opportunities while preserving what is special about the region's communities. Its objective is to advance regional values and goals on strategies related to regional economic development, the region's natural treasures, regional transportation, and education and training that can be implemented for the long-term prosperity of the region. For more information, visit

The 16 counties of the tri-state Chattanooga region include Jackson and DeKalb in Alabama; Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Murray and Whitfield in Georgia; and Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie in Tennessee. For more information, visit

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