Fill 'er up for the Southern Shorts Film Festival

Fill our pockets...so we are not left empty handed. In the next two weeks, we are asking for your help. By donating a little, you'll be helping a lot. For every $250 raised, a winner will be selected to receive two premiere tickets. See the side column to donate via paypal.

Southern Shorts Film Festival is October 17 with a premiere party October 16. Anyone can enter a film. Visit the Art on the Square website for film entry information.


Hometown Tour on Alabama Bloggers

Read Christopher Paysinger's post about Athens on Alabama Bloggers.



Donated Painting Brings $$ to SOA

Trisha Black, SOA Executive Director, receives check from Lisa Milby, AOTS Vice President.

Many thanks to Art on the Square for giving SOA proceeds of the "Cruise In" painting by Alissa Rose-Clark. The painting was auctioned during the Art on the Square Silent Auction on August 8th. Be watching for future projects by AOTS and SOA!!


Why Main Street?

Spirit of Athens follows the "Main Street" approach and is working to qualify as part of the state program being launched January 2010. Read the following entry from the Michigan Main Street blog titled, "Why Main Street?"

By Laura Krizov, Manager, Michigan Main Street Center

Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Why Main Street? I am sure Main Street communities ask themselves often…. Why do we continue to follow the Main Street Four-Point Approach TM?

The answer should be that it gets those individuals who are passionate about their downtown or commercial neighborhood involved. The commitment and enthusiasm is what drives the program to success. It doesn’t matter how big your budget is or how large your volunteer base is, it is about the passion volunteers have for their downtown that will make the program successful.

The philosophy of Main Street, which is centered around the Four-Points (Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restricting), has Eight Guiding Principles that make the program so successful. The philosophy is what makes this grassroots effort, community-driven program so great.

The Eight Guiding Principles are:

Comprehensive – Each of the four points need to be focused on - not just focusing on one or two points. If one point is not working, then it will be hard for the other three points to achieve what they want to accomplish.

Incremental – Successful programs begin with the basics, that is , small visual changes. There are no quick-fixes to revitalization. Downtowns or Traditional Neighborhoods didn’t get in a state of disrepair overnight, so we need to begin with those baby steps.

Self-help - Nobody knows what’s better for the community and how to do it than the community itself. Success can only be formed by local leadership demonstrating community involvement and commitment to their own revitalization efforts.

Partnerships – Common goals of the revitalization efforts need to have public and private partnerships. The entire revitalization process shouldn’t fall entirely on either the private or public sectors. Both parties have roles to play in the revitalization efforts of downtowns.

Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets - Every community is unique and has its different strengths and opportunities on which they must capitalize. Main Street recognizes what makes each community different and uses that as its basis for success. These existing assets create authentic experiences that can’t be experienced anywhere else.

Quality – Quality is more important than quantity. For a program to be successful, quality must be applied to everything. A community’s revitalization efforts will have a much bigger impact if they achieve a few things very well instead of a lot of things only half done.

Change - Attitude is everything. Perception is reality. Change is an opportunity to do better. Main Street must change people’s attitudes and perceptions towards the downtown. The worst thing that a community can do is continue doing things the same way because that is the way that it has always been done.

Implementation – There is no more sitting around and thinking of ideas or talking about what needs to be done. Now is the time that volunteers take change, roll-up their sleeves and get to work. Visible results, success, and revitalization only comes from completing projects.

The Main Street program has been successful in both rural and urban communities of all sizes. The Main Street approach is not designed to generate immediate change. In order to succeed, a long-term revitalization effort requires attention to detail in every aspect of our own downtown.


Celebrating My SOA Anniversary

Today the SOA Board President pointed out that it was my one year anniversary as Director of Spirit of Athens. Wow! What a ride! It couldn't have been on a better day. We had a great board meeting. The SOA Board is fired up and ready to make some positive changes to Downtown Athens. In January 2010, the Alabama Main Street program will be launched and I have no doubt...we'll be ready. Thank you to all that have supported me this past year and I look forward to many more!

Trisha Black



Alissa Rose-Clark and Diane Lehr relaxing after the auction.
Both Clark and Lehr are AOTS Board members, SOA members, and talented artists.

Me (on the right) with Cindy Conlon

Okay, it was warm, sweltering August night. The AC indoors couldn't keep up the demand as hundreds filtered through Carole Foret's Art Gallery during the Art on the Square Silent Auction Saturday evening. The heat, however, certainly did not deter those determined to leave with their own piece of local art. I was elated to find out that I had the winning bid on four...yes 4 pieces. Two of which are previous AOTS Festival winners- Johanna Littleton and Ronnie Riner. I also purchased a fabulous painting and mosaic of the Limestone County Courthouse by Athens State University art instructor Gail Bergeron and "Fruit" pottery bowl by Becky McBrayer.

An active art community is vital in a vibrant community and I am thrilled to see Art on the Square and Carole Foret continuously bring art experiences to Downtown Athens. Don't forget, the 4th Annual Art on the Square Festival is September 12 on the courthouse lawn. Over 50 artists participating in the juried art show. For more information on AOTS, visit their website.

Trisha Black


Local artist donates piece to be auctioned at AOTS Silent Auction

Alissa Rose-Clark, local artist and photographer, donates this mixed media piece called "Cruise In" to be auctioned this Saturday at the Art on the Square Silent Auction. Proceeds from this will benefit SOA. SOA thanks Alissa for all her hard work and Art on the Square for help us fund revitalization efforts Downtown. Make plans to attend the silent auction at Carole Foret's Fine Art Gallery from 6:30-9 PM. For ticket information, visit the AOTS website.

Good News for Main Street: Volunteerism Is Up

Good News for Main Street: Volunteerism Is Up

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