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YAC Receives $4,750 Grant for “Southern Creative Places”

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC) recently received a $4,750 grant from South Arts—a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine southern states—to pilot the Connected Communities Creative Lab project, an incubator for local creative businesses.
According to South Arts, these grants were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Georgia Council for the Arts, which are organizations that support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South.
YAC sent a team of community partners and individuals from YAC’s organizations to the Creative Placemaking Forum in Chattanooga to apply for the grant, said Wayne Andrews, director of YAC.
“Based on our proposed idea, our team received a scholarship to attend the Creative Placemaking Forum,” Andrews said.
Andrews said that YAC partnered with The Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation (EDF) for this initiative. Allan Kurr, vice president of the EDF represented the group at the conference.
“[Kurr] has been an active partner in programs including our Big Bad Business Series and the Arts Incubator,” Andrews said.
YAC’s initiative and proposed plan at the conference was to help define the Oxford community, build partnerships outside the arts and create economic opportunity.
The grant will support YAC’s initiative by supporting creative startups, like providing creative workspaces. The workspaces will be more than just office space, but will allow Oxford residents to be apart of the YAC community by building and testing business ideas rooted in creative skills while having administrative support, Andrews said.
“We hope by removing some of the financial barriers for a creative person to scale an idea to a business we can help launch new ideas that tap into our sense of place and which reach beyond Lafayette County,” Andrews said.

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