Helping people connect is part of artist’s Macon visit

Georgia Public BroadcastingMarch 12, 2014 

Hunter_Franks

‘Creative Interventionist’ Hunter Franks, center, and Andrew Haeg, with the Center for Collaborative Journalism, work on a project Wednesday at Jittery Joe’s in Mercer Village.

WOODY MARSHALL — wmarshall@macon.com Buy Photo

  • Franks’ activities

    Here’s a sampler of scheduled activities for Hunter Franks’ visit to Macon.
    For a complete list, go to www.creativeinterventionists.com/macon.
    • March 13, noon-1 p.m., 567 Center for Renewal, 533 Cherry St., Macon Neighborhood Postcard Project Station. Come by Lunch Beat to share a personal, positive story about Macon and your neighborhood.
    • March 17, 1-3 p.m., Cruz Plaza at Mercer University, 1400 Coleman Ave., Free Advice Station. Join us to both give and receive advice from strangers.
    • March 21, noon-3 p.m., Location to be determined, Love Story. Come share the story of your first love and read other people’s stories.
    • March 27, 6-8 p.m., Capricorn studio building, 548 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Vacant Love. We will be bringing life to a vacant building downtown by posting collected love notes to Macon on the exterior of the building and hosting a community potluck on the sidewalk.

There is a man visiting Macon for the next three weeks who has one of the most unusual job titles on earth.

Hunter Franks is a “creative interventionist.”

“The base idea is using creativity and art in public space to get people talking that wouldn’t normally talk,” the San Francisco-based artist said.

Franks kicks off his Macon residency Thursday at the 567 Center for Renewal on Cherry Street. He’ll be collecting “love notes” to Macon at the weekly noontime Lunch Beat Macon series.

Franks is looking for handwritten notes “identifying the challenges, but celebrating the possibility for positive change as well,” he said.

After that, “We’ll be taking all of those love notes and posting them up on a vacant building in downtown Macon.”

Saturday, Franks will go out with the Macon Roving Listeners, a project based at Centenary United Methodist Church.

“We’ll being going into folks’ houses and collecting their favorite homemade recipes and creating a community cookbook,” he said.

Franks believes food can be a unifying force between disparate communities. His Macon residency will culminate in a potluck meal at the end of the month.

Also on Franks’ schedule is launching a version of the Neighborhood Postcard Project in Macon, something he’s done in San Francisco and other cities around the world.

“The idea is to collect personal, positive stories from neighborhoods and then mail those postcards out to random people around the city in different neighborhoods,” he said.

“So, somebody’s getting a surprise piece of mail with a personal, positive story of a neighborhood they’ve maybe only heard or seen a negative side of on the news before.”

After being in Macon for a few days, Franks is impressed with what he’s seen. “There’s amazing architecture, amazing weather,” he said.

“There’s also a lot of challenges that Macon faces, and I’ve gotten to see a lot of that as well. I’m hoping to address a lot of that in my time here.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation commissioned Franks to work in four of the cities around the country on which the foundation focuses.

Franks also plans to leave something lasting in Macon. He’ll establish a permanent chapter of his League of Creative Interventionists, with a meet-up for prospective participants Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m. at the Macon Arts Alliance, 486 First St.

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