Funds given for Music Ambassador Program

Tim Regan-Porter, director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University and founder of Paste Magazine was awarded funding for his grant entitled the Macon Music Ambassadors Program on Wednesday Sept. 26.
The main idea of this program is to bring in both national and regional musicians or bands to Macon. Regan-Porter explains that he wants to, “Make [the artists] ambassadors of Macon. Let them know how cool Macon is, how cheap it is. What great architecture and art there is here.” The goal for this idea is to expose nationally known artists to Macon so that they will want to play here, while enticing regional artists to relocate and record in the city. When comparing this city to other popular music towns Regan-Porter argues that, “It’s even cheaper to live in Macon, we have a richer music history, and it’s something of a college town. It has real potential to become like Athens or Houston, here.”
The Community Foundation of Central Georgia awarded this grant through a community revitalization initiative called the Knight Neighborhood Challenge.
The Knight Foundation gave a grant of $5 million to the College Hill Corridor, which is a section of Macon including Mercer University, the Beall’s Hill Historic District, and the Intown Historic District. $3 million of the grant will go towards the Knight Neighborhood Challenge. According to Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Inc. website, “This grant will fund creative, transformational ideas for the Corridor from organizations and individuals.” Companies, individuals, and non-profit organizations are open to apply for grant money in order to fund a program that will in prove the College Hill Corridor in some way.
So far, $1.3 million has been spent in total on the 88 grants awarded by this program. In the last round of applications, 21 proposals were made that would have equaled a sum of $389,906 but only 12 of these grant proposals were accepted. In total the grants amounted to $249,394. Macon Music Ambassadors Program grant is worth $51,116. It is the second largest grant given out among the last 12.
The music program involves a series of seven events in which one national artist and one regional artist will perform in Macon and take tours of the city in order to expose them to its rich music history.
The artists will perform one free concert in Mercer Village in front of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at lunchtime. Then the musicians will be given a Rock Candy Tour of Macon, which will show them the musical history of the city. They will become better acquainted with the historical significance that artists such as Little Richard, Blind Willie Mctell, James Brown, Otis Redding, and The Allman Brothers had on Macon. After the tours, the musicians will play another concert in one of Macon’s historical homes. In conjunction with the concert the Macon Arts Alliance will display an art show in the historical home that is either themed or focused on a particular artist.
While discussing this process Porter states that “bands will get to see these great homes, people on college hill will have a great event, hopefully we will get some people from North Macon, and the surrounding area to come into downtown and see that it is a great, safe, fun, place.”
The first of these events will most likely begin in February or March of 2013. Others involved in the program include Historic Macon, the Macon Arts Alliance, the Rocky Candy Tours of Historic Macon, and the Blue Indian Blog. Jessica Walden and Jamie Weatherford run the Rocky Candy Tours of Historic Macon and Sean Pritchard is the Head of Booking for The Blue Indian Blog.
The blog reviews music and is based in Georgia. Pritchard books acts for the Hummingbird and the Cox Capitol Theater.
Regan-Porter noted that the music selection will not be broad and will contain artists similar to those found in Paste Magazine. He listed some possible artists for the program including Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile, the Avett Brothers, or Mumford and Sons. Essentially Porter wants to, “continue to build this vibe that Macon is a very progressive, creative place.”