Last year, renovations were completed for an initiative started in Mill Hill in order to revitalize houses and bring artists to the east side of Macon. The Mill Hill East Macon Artist Village was created by the Macon Arts Alliance in conjunction with Macon-Bibb County in order to renovate houses in the neighborhood.
The first phase of this initiative was to restore the auditorium on Clinton Street to create a community arts center. After this, the Macon Arts Alliance started renovating the historic cottages along Schell Avenue and Hydrolia Street in order to create living spaces for artists in the community.
According to the Mill Hill website, “these 14 homes will make up the artist village in which artists will live, work and take full advantage of the adjacent Mill Hill Community Arts Center.”
Mill Hill project director JR Olive was able to work closely with the Mill Hill Artist Village and also helped the artists in residence who have lived there since its opening.
The houses have hosted three artists in residence so far. The first artist in residence was Loganic, a visual artist who is a Macon native. After graduating from Mercer, he went on to get his Masters of Fine Arts at New York University. Following a brief period in Germany, Loganic returned to his roots and began living in the Mill Hill East Macon Artist Village.
Loganic lived in a cottage at Mill Hill for six months. During his time there, he hosted various art events in the community while also working on his own projects. After he left, more artists came to live in Mill Hill.
“We offered another longer-term residency to Forrest Gard and Jeni Hansen Gard,” Olive said. “They were a husband and wife team of ceramicists who specialize in integrating public participation into art. They lived in Mill Hill for 18 months completing tons of activities including a summer of free kids programming in the Community Arts Center.”
While there is no one currently living at Mill Hill, the houses are on the market for sale. The Macon Arts Alliance hopes to fill these homes with artists in order to bring art and creativity into this community.
“The Mill Hill initiative will empower local artists and neighbors to fight blight, identify and develop existing creative assets and create a plan based on a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood as a creative place to live, work and play,” according to their website.