A grant from the Alabama Power Foundation will help a Selma organization working to revitalize the community through the arts continue their work year-around.
The $5,000 grant to ArtsRevive will assist with the installation of a new HVAC system at its Carneal Building headquarters.
ArtsRevive uses the space for art classes and exhibits as well as community events like the annual Kathryn Tucker Windham Tale-Tellin’ Festival. Executive director Becky Youngblood said ArtsRevive has always been at the mercy of Mother Nature since the building doesn’t have heat or air conditioning.
“We’ve been able to use it in the winter, but you have to rent a heater, which has never really done the job,” Youngblood said. “During Tale Tellin’ last fall, it was so cold because you had to turn the heater off when people were talking, which was most of the time. Literally, we were just freezing in there – and that was October.”
ArtsRevive was incorporated in 2004 with the belief that art can be used as a means of economic and community redevelopment. With the new HVAC system, ArtsRevive can build on its mission whether it’s the dog days of summer or dead of winter.
Youngblood said plans are in the works to add art workshops, pottery classes and more, especially for young people.
“The space is designed for the community to come together. We do different art programs and host exhibits, but one of the things we want to do more of going forward is working with our children and our public school system,” Youngblood said. “Rather than paying for a heater, we can invest that money in the community. Being able to have events all winter or all summer is going to be great.”
ArtsRevive was also awarded a $10,000 energy efficiency grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to assist with the upgrades. In addition to the new HVAC unit, two garage doors and the building’s front door will be replaced and insulation will be added to help conserve energy. Work should be finished by mid-summer.
ArtsRevive recently renovated another downtown Selma building, turning it into an art gallery and giving local artists an outlet to sell their work. Long-term plans are to turn an entire city block into a center for the arts.
Selma business office manager Aubrey Carter said ArtsRevive had previously applied for an Efficiency Forward grant. While that grant wasn’t approved, Carter said ArtsRevive was still an organization worthy of Foundation support.
“The grant will help ArtsRevive continue their important work of revitalizing Selma 12 months a year,” Carter said. “So many times, we think of redevelopment as industry or commerce, and that is important. However, what ArtsRevive is doing through the arts is also vital to the Selma community and the revival of its downtown.”