If you go
› What: The Arts Building grand opening/open house
› When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday
› Where: The Arts Building, 301 E. 11th St.
› What: Anne Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission, and County Mayor Jim Coppinger will speak, and patrons can enjoy live music, refreshments and building tours.
› Admission: Free
› Southern Lit Alliance
› Association for Visual Arts
› Chattanooga Theatre Centre
› Choral Arts of Chattanooga
› Ballet Tennessee
› Creative Discovery Museum
› Chattanooga Boys Choir
› Chattanooga Girls Choir
› Hunter Museum of American Art
› Chattanooga History Center
› Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
› Shaking Ray Levi Society
It's time to show off the new baby.
That's the way ArtsBuild President Dan Bowers feels about The Arts Building, the new digs for the arts advocacy organization.
The former Dover Building at the corner of 11th and King streets was given to the organization in January by Walter Hussman, publisher and chief executive officer of WEHCO Media in Little Rock, Ark. Hussman owns Chattanooga Publishing and The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Hussman said at the time the gift represents his commitment to both the arts and to Chattanooga.
"We have a sincere interest in trying to make the communities we operate in better communities, and we have a long history of trying to support the arts in those communities," he said.
After a $1.5 million renovation, ArtsBuild moved in in early September.
Bowers said the building's new name, the arts-related tenants and the structure itself all "give us the chance to elevate the arts as a focal point."
"Being where it is, in the innovation district, The Arts Building will help cement the arts in people's minds," Bowers said.
The 15,000-square-foot, 100-year-old building also is the new home for the Southern Lit Alliance, SoundCorps, Townsend Atelier and the Chattanooga Film Commission, which will move in in the coming months.
The rent paid by those organizations helps cover the mortgage for the building's makeover, according to Bowers.
"It's important to note that our yearly cost is right at what it was when we were renting on Frazier Avenue," he said. "That was very important for us."
Works by artists Juanita Tumelaire, Jan Chenoweth, Miki Boni, James Courtenay James and Mike Holsomback hang on the walls. ArtsBuild has partnered with the Association for Visual Arts to feature works by AVA members on a four-month rotating schedule. Jackson said a hallway wall will showcase art works by area young artists.
The office lobby contains a large metal sculpture by the late Verina Baxter. It was donated by her husband, Sam Turner. Students at the Chattanooga Woodworking Academy designed and built the reception desk and back wall, and local artist Isaac Duncan designed and made metal brackets that hold signs and banners inside and outside the building.
ArtsBuild, SoundCorps — which was created to grow the local music industry — and the Southern Lit Alliance occupy the top floor of the three-story building.
The space features a large meeting area with a roll-up glass gate that can be raised or lowered to create an intimate or large gathering space.
"We've already had several arts groups use it for their own meetings," said Julie Jackson, ArtsBuild director of development and communications.
Townsend Atelier is using the entire second floor for its studio and art classrooms. Owner Peggy Townsend said she has twice as much space as her previous location on Main Street, so she can offer more classes and even concurrent classes. A retail area selling art supplies such as brushes, paints and canvases is open to general public.
"The other thing that is exciting is that we are part of this new endeavor," Townsend said.
"Having like-minded people in one place focused on lots of different media is exciting. And being in this part of town that is a new frontier, and to be a change agent, is very exciting. Plus, the space is just gorgeous. It's so pretty and there is so much light. It's a place you want to hang out."
The building's basement will be home to Chattanooga Film Festival organizers. It plans to hold regular movie screenings, workshops and guest discussions, founder Chris Dortch said.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.