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Grayson tapped for problem solving summit

In partnership with the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Power Company, the Black Belt Community Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood and Warren Averett Wilson Price, DesignAlabama hosted its 7th Annual DesignAlabama Mayor’s Design Summit at the Legends Marriott Capitol Hill in Prattville, Alabama. The intense day and a half workshop partnered 5 Alabama mayors with 6 design professionals from in and outside of Alabama to work in a roundtable environment to create tangible solutions for design and planning challenges facing their communities.

Five Alabama mayors were hand selected in the fall of 2011 based on interest and leadership to attend the event. Mayors selected to attend included: Mayor Mike Grayson of Demopolis, Mayor Ray Nelson of Fayette, Mayor Daryl Craig Patterson of Gordo, Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw and Mayor Johnnie B. Washington of Greensboro. Each mayor prepared a presentation focusing on their community and a specific design/planning issue which they were seeking innovative and creative ideas to solve. The issues brought forth ranged from downtown redevelopment, ways to create moderately priced income housing, to the connectivity of streets throughout a community.

The design professionals helping each of these mayors included Belinda Stewart from Belinda Stewart Architects in Eupora, Mississippi, Mary Shell of the Alabama Historical Commission, Nisa Miranda with the University Center for Economic Development, Andre Nata with The Terminal, Inc. and Randy Shoults. Cheryl Morgan of the Auburn University Urban Studio served as moderator during the two day event.

The participants also listened to brief talks from Hettie Jordan Vilanova of New York and David Preziosi from the Mississippi Heritage Trust.

DesignAlabama is a partnership organization of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants programs and provides financial assistance in arts education and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.