The Old Federal Road Storytelling Festival at the Ridge Interpretive Center in Warrior Stand, South Macon County has become a wonderful and memorable tradition! This festival was born to strengthen community arts and rural place-making in Macon County Alabama. To do this requires building trust and sharing vulnerabilities with the communities with which we work. The Festival honors the layered histories, the unsung herstories, the rewritten our stories of South Macon creating a place of sharing and exchange. The 2017 performers, musicians, historians and community leaders that shared the stage were absolutely excellent!
Through the sponsorship of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, AL 200 and Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, this festival is free to the public. It is part of the larger initiative to catalyze sustainable economic growth and community development throughout the County and capital of Tuskegee. As Lindsey Lunsford, featured storyteller who brought back Mrs. Nellie Reid, founder of the South Macon Training School, says of her own work it ” draws on Black Power and cultural sovereignty to strengthen and reshape the modern environmental ethos that reclaims community, food and space.” Already looking forward to 2018!
San Francisco is now the first major US city to build a new memorial to the ‘Comfort Women’. Mobile Studio served as Project Managers for this major World War II Human Rights Memorial and worked hand in hand with the City of San Francisco Arts Commission and SF Rec. and Parks to make it happen. After hosting an international call for artists, acclaimed sculpture Steven Whyte was chosen to honor and interpret the suffering, resilience and courage of those women and create a beacon within this great international city that calls for the continued fight for justice and serves as a place of peace and reconciliation.
It was an absolute pleasure to build this Memorial with our San Francisco based crew on behalf of the ‘Comfort Women’ Justice Coalition. There really are no more competent and talented builders than Sheedy Drayage, who hauled the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge, and Hathaway Dinwiddie, General Contractors who built the TransAmerica Tower. With the architectural direction of Heller Manus and our project management, these gentlemen handled the corten steel column, internal armature and bronze figures with with absolute expertise. We hope you will visit St. Mary’s Square , discover the history and vibrant culture of the Pan Asian community of San Francisco and make a pilgrimage to the “Women’s Column of Strength”, ‘Comfort Women” Memorial. It is a very special public gathering space at the crossroads of Chinatown and SF’s Financial district, a landscape of memory and inspiration.
In partnership with Mobile Studio and local civic leaders, the Auburn University Master of Community Planning students have developed a strategic action plan for the revitalization of the City of Tuskegee and greater Macon County. http://tuskmac.businesscatalyst.com
The Tusk-Mac plan researches, analyses and generates a projection of sustainable futures for the involved community. From small business eminence and the implementation of reliable public transportation, agritourism to green industry sector growth, affordable housing to historic preservation incentives, the project advances pathways towards prosperity. Urban design proposals and policy recommendations are aimed at improving overall community health, food security and economic growth, overturning a legacy of systemic disenfranchisement. The 2030 plan is regionally interconnected, organically grown, resourceful and strategic. We the people of east Alabama, are planning for success and hold every intention of creating a beautiful, progressive future for Macon County, Alabama.
For more information, please visit: http://tuskmac.businesscatalyst.com and please share your thoughts and comments!
Mobile Studio is honored to serve as project managers for the “Comfort Women” Justice Coalition to give the gift of a new piece of public art to the City of San Francisco, a Memorial to the “Comfort Women”. Working with leaders in international human rights and justice issues around the world dedicated to ending violence against and sexual trafficking of women and girls, this memorial remembers the suffering, resilience, strength, courage and on-going struggle for justice of the so-called “Comfort Women”. Mobile Studio’s leadership resides our ability to orchestrate a project of this complexity with transparency, and best practices between multiple agencies and civic groups including the SF Public Art Commission, Rec and Parks, a fantastic team of engineers, architects and builders, and the amazing Artist Steven Whyte. Please follow along as we choreograph and deliver this important new landmark and beacon of hope to visitors from around the world, the citizens of the Bay Area, and the residents of St. Mary’s Square in Chinatown.
Of many submissions around the globe, the “Women’s Column of Strength” by Stephen Whyte was selected to serve as the Comfort Women Memorial! Whyte is a classically trained figurative sculptor, whose work has recently been accepted into the Smithsonian Institute of Art. For this project in particular, he has created a powerful and inspiring piece that captures the story of the Comfort Women, soon to be cast in bronze. “Women’s Column of Strength,” is due to be installed in September of 2017. As approved by the San Francisco Public Art Commission and Department of Recreation and Parks, the memorial will be displayed proudly in St. Mary’s Square- to be looked upon with admiration and remembrance.
Casey Family Programs have selected Opelika, Alabama, to become a Community of Hope, or city where the foundation will work to strengthen struggling families and reduce the need for foster care intervention overall. In order to face such an imposing and complex issue, project leaders and community members alike must collaborate to reach a solution. Mobile Studio is excited to participate in this significant quest as project managers to the Opelika Community of Hope. Currently, we are in the process of working to analyze and understand relevant background data in order to develop a solution. Mobile Studio has met and will meet with many partners from the Lee County Youth Development Services, city officials, Carver Jeter neighborhood leaders, and members from Casey Family Programs to discuss the projected path moving forward. We all share the vision and hope to support local families, create safer and happier environments, and eliminate the necessity for foster care as completely as possible.