Downtown Macon has a continuing history of artists ranging from music to visual arts. The 567 Center for Renewal fosters the creative aspects in downtown Macon by encouraging and helping artists and businesses.
The 567 is a non-profit art center, music venue and business incubator whose goal is to help revitalize downtown Macon through music, the arts and small business development.
The 567’s webpage shares their “dream of a vibrant downtown Macon filled with successful businesses and creative professionals, a downtown filled with the arts and enjoyed by people of all ages from all places.”
The 567 Center for Renewal began out of The 567 Cafe on Cherry Street. New City Church saw a need and desire to create a space to help the community. It saw that musicians and artists needed a place to showcase their talents.
From there The 567 Cafe was created and continued to grow until more space was need. Eventually The 567 Center for Renewal grew into a separate organization that is now located in a larger building on Cherry Street.
“We help artists and musicians by providing them a place to showcase their talents. We have monthly art exhibits featuring a mix of local and regional artists,” said Melissa Macker, executive director of The 567. “Most of them are emerging artists who are still trying to get their name out there, or they may have never hung their work in a gallery before.”
The 567 offers art classes for both children and adults, and local artists have an opportunity to come and teach their skills to the community. The 567 also has concerts once a month where singer-songwriters and local bands are able to get their start.
“One area we’re growing in this year is helping artists and musicians to learn business skills. We had a workshop this past weekend called ‘Ignite Lite’ where artists, musicians, any kind of creative entrepreneur could come and learn how to create a business plan and set goals for their work,” said Macker.
The 567 plans to have more workshops similar to “Ignite Lite” soon.
“The 567 really encourages this idea that everyone has a little bit of artist in them,” said Macker. “In our society, children are discouraged from becoming artists or musicians because the chances of doing that as a successful career are so slim.”
“The people showcasing their talents aren’t full-time artists or musicians much of the time—they’re chefs or teachers or engineers who love to create,” said Macker.
The 567 works to encourage the creative life downtown as well as help take action to continue its development. In addition to supporting local musicians and artists, The 567 also supports businesses through their business incubator.
“The business incubator helps new business owners get through those difficult first couple of years of owning a business. We provide affordable work space and equipment so they don’t have to make a huge initial investment,” said Macker.
Once The 567 has helped the new business owners get their start, The 567 continues to help through providing the business with a community of support.
“The business owners in our business incubator can come to us when they need to bounce off ideas or get a recommendation for a website designer. They also network with each other and share their experiences,” said Macker.
The 567 is able to help Mercer students as well. “For students who are artists, we’re happy to take a look at your portfolio. We’ll exhibit the work of anyone who’s talented—student or not. If you have a business idea, we’re happy to hear it, and to give you some pointers on what it takes to start a business. After all, many famous companies have been started by college students,” said Macker.