In the next step of Imagine Chattanooga 20/20, Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga is hitting the refresh button on several fundamental aspects of the organization, including its name.
Teaser banners popped up earlier this week on the Chattanooga institution’s website and Facebook page, tantalizingly signaling an exit of sorts, reading “Farewell Allied Arts,” “Ta Ta Allied Arts” and “L8R Allied Arts.”
Allied Arts issued a press release late Friday afternoon to announce a 'major transformation' and grant recipients would be unveiled at a press conference Monday at 10 a.m. at the organization's headquarters.
The front of the group’s Frazier Avenue office is also draped with a sign that says the organization is “under construction ‘til Dec. 3.”
When asked on Tuesday if the teasers were evidence of an upcoming name change, Dan Bowers, president of Allied Arts, denied there was such a plan. Instead, he characterized the Facebook and website activity as part of a public awareness campaign.
“What we’re doing is trying to create a conversation about Allied Arts and to get people thinking about what Allied Arts does for the community and what public art does for the community,” Bowers said.
However, board member Maury Nicely confirmed the name change on Friday and noted that the change will be announced soon. This publication also confirmed with a second board member that the name change had been recently voted on by the Allied Arts board.
Nicely noted that although he was not at liberty to disclose the chosen name, he had received approval from Bowers to verify that the organization will soon adopt a new calling card, as well as speak to the action steps Allied Arts will take at the end of this year and into next spring.
“If you want to boil down the things we’re doing, it comes down to the idea of highlighting the role the arts play in a community such as ours,” Nicely said.
Broadening the reach
Allied Arts’ name change is the newest development in Imagine Chattanooga 20/20.
The initiative is a large-scale planning process governed by a steering committee composed of city, county, education, philanthropic, artistic and business leaders in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Allied Arts is facilitating the initiative.
A plan debuted in February of this year handed Allied Arts the reins on implementing new cultural measures based on five pillars: diversity, quality education, economic development, quality of life and a “vibrant downtown.”
Nicely explained that, moving forward, the organization will focus on how to maximize the arts' involvement in those four areas of Chattanooga, as well as looking beyond the fundraising tract to ensuring those funds are distributed throughout the community.
The steps in the coming months will also contain a measure of public awareness, in the manner of continuing to promote the organization's tagline, “The arts are for all.”
On the practical level, Allied Arts plans to investigate the ways in which it can extend support to organizations and individuals not historically included in its roster of 14 cultural partners—the Association for Visual Arts, Ballet Tennessee, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre and the Hunter Museum of American Art, to name a few.
“We recognize that we need to be broader,” Nicely said. “There are other organizations and individuals that have good ideas, and be it through grants or other assistance, we can help them bring their ideas to life and help build the community through the arts.”
Editor's Note: Nooga.com reached out to Bowers and Allied Arts spokeswoman Julie Jackson Friday in an effort to give Bowers the opportunity to clarify his earlier statements that contradict those of his board members. As of the time of publication, messages left for Bowers and Jackson had not been returned.