First Public Planning Meeting Set for Arts and Culture Festival at Historic Mill Hill Auditorium


MACON – All are invited to the first public planning meeting for the Connections Macon Arts and Culture Festival. The meeting will be held at the Rosa Jackson Community Center (1211 Maynard St) on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.

At this meeting, a class of Mercer Service Scholars will present their findings and recommendations for this festival based on extensive interviews with residents, groups and stakeholders in East Macon, and members of the community will have an opportunity to share ideas for the festival.

Connections Macon is a free arts and culture festival to be held April 21, 2018, at the new Mill Hill Auditorium in East Macon.

The first Connections festival was held in April 2016 at the Terminal Station as part of the 100th anniversary celebration for that facility. At that festival were 35 artists and arts and community groups, as well as six arts activities and performances all day from various community groups. Approximately 500 people attended that event.

This version of the festival aims to nearly double the number of artists and groups presenting, as well as significantly expand the number of activities and food vendors.

Performances will take place all day in the newly restored auditorium, as will an art show hosted by [&] ampersand arts and a special curated show by a featured professional artist.

This festival, partially funded by a seed grant from the Downtown Challenge Fund, aims to serve 2,000 people.

The purpose of this planning meeting is to solicit ideas for this free festival, and all are welcome to come and share ideas with the Connections board for activities, performances, events, displays, vendors, etc. There will also be an opportunity for individuals and/or groups to volunteer or participate in the festival.

Light refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to all.

About Mercer Service Scholars

The Mercer Service Scholars program was founded in 2000 upon the belief that gifted, motivated college students bring vision, energy, intellect and hope to our communities, locally and globally. We believe that students are transformed by working in a program whose focus on the common good gives them a sense of purpose and meaning. Each year, a few select entering students are invited to become Mercer Service Scholars. They are selected because each has demonstrated a commitment to service and leadership as well as outstanding academic performance. MSS is a dynamic program that engages diverse students in substantive service in both the local community and internationally. Mercer Service Scholars are leaders on our campus and are developed to become leaders in their careers and life‐long contributors to their communities.  

About Connections Macon

The second Connections art festival will be held at the soon‐to‐be restored Bibb No. 1 Auditorium in the Mill Hill neighborhood in Macon on April 21, 2018, and is partially supported by a seed grant by the Downtown Challenge. The all‐day arts festival will be free and open to the public, and will include: tables for artists, arts groups, and community organizations; performances by community arts groups as well as headliners; arts activities; food vendors and other entertainment. A featured artist curated show will be on display and an artists' showcase with prizes is planned. Our goal is to have over 2,000 people participate in this community event. The mission of the festival is that a process of healing long‐standing divisions in Macon can be brought about through inclusive arts and cultural activities. We have confidence that the arts can bring people together and creative community building is a key aspect of our mission. The arts community benefits by having an arts festival to showcase their work, and to show their work to communities not typically included in the downtown art gallery scene. Mill Hill/Fort Hawkins are neighborhoods fractured by long standing economic problems. Part of neighborhood revitalization is community building, and this event will literally bring the community together. It will also provide a venue for entertainment and creative expression in a neighborhood that has scarce opportunities for either.

About The Downtown Challenge Fund

The Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia was created to implement the Macon Action Plan through a series of grants to local businesses, nonprofits, individuals, and government entities. The Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, was made possible by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; each provided $1.5 million in support. This three‐year program will fund the best ideas to transform downtown Macon. The goal is to make Macon a place that can grow with grace, build upon its good bones, dance to its local rhythm, care for its heart, and coordinate and focus for maximum impact.