At a press conference yesterday afternoon, a new grant program was unveiled, intended to take the place of Chattanooga’s ArtsMove grant program which was implemented in 2006 to encourage talented artists of all varieties to move to Chattanooga to stimulate the cultural growth of the city.
Artists who agreed to live in Chattanooga for a certain minimum length of time and who purchased housing in specific areas would be rewarded by having a significant portion of their mortgages essentially paid by the grant.
The grant program was enacted by the non-profit funding organization Allied Arts before moving to CreateHere in 2007; after CreateHere experienced its planned conclusion at the end of the year 2011, its so-called “White Dwarf,” administration of the ArtsMove program moved to the organization Choose Chattanooga.
As spokesperson Sandra Lautonne explained, program administrators noticed that a significant number of the grant recipients decided to move away from Chattanooga after fulfilling the minimum requirements of the grant.
“We discussed this phenomenon and thought, ‘Why not streamline the whole process?'” said Lautonne. “Let’s award valuable grants to out-of-town artists, let them move to Chattanooga and exhaust all local opportunities and resources as quickly as possible, and make it easy for them to swiftly move away, with little-to-no accountability.”
Thus, the TakeTheMoneyAndRun grant program was born.
Lautonne described how the program will challenge artists who have been loyal Chattanooga residents for years or decades to be more resourceful, careful and economical, since the TakeTheMoneyAndRun grant recipients will usurp the already meager local funding opportunities.
Additionally, after the TakeTheMoneyAndRun grant recipients move away from Chattanooga, they can become ambassadors for the city; Lautonne spoke about one ArtsMove grant recipient who has since moved to Brooklyn and wrote an article about her experience for the New York Times, entitled, “‘See ya, suckers!’: How I escaped the Chattanooga hell-hole.”