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Department of Architecture Receives Two Collaboration Grants University News
For release: July 14, 2009

For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson (901) 678-4164

The Department of Architecture received two of the four Strengthening Communities Initiatives Grant awarded for 2009/10. The Strengthening Communities program is managed and administered by the School for Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Memphis and supported by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis (CFGM), United Way of the Mid-South (UWMS), and the University of Memphis Research Foundation (UMRF).

Both of the $18,000 grants are fully funded capacity building grants. Michael Hagge, chair of the Department of Architecture, is excited that the department received several of the Strengthening Communities Grants since the initiative was launched two years ago. "In our project with Bridges USA, which was funded last year, we were able to involve students within the department in a variety of activities," Hagge says. "With these grants, architecture and interior design students from all academic levels, graduate and undergraduate, will be able to participate in meaningful, hands-on projects."

One of the grants will allow Tom Mason and Tim Michael, instructors in the Department of Architecture, to continue their work with the City of Millington, Millington Community Court Services (MCCS), and the Old Town Vision Plan Steering Committee for their project Old Town Millington Vision Plan. This past semester, the department's Design IV Studio students coordinated and moderated a community design workshop of more than 80 citizens to solicit community improvement ideas for Millington's Old Town.

For the second grant, Randle Witherington, associate professor of interior design, partners with the Victorian Village Community Development Corporation to build a new and vibrant residential/commercial community around the 21 historic structures in the district, which reaches from Poplar Avenue to Danny Thomas Boulevard to Madison Avenue and Manassas. The Heritage Tourism Resident Training will train low income housing residents, who live in the Victorian Village, to give brief tours and direct visitors to historic sites in Village. Trainees will receive a stipend applicable to their Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) rents once they graduate from the training and participate in the program. The goal is for resident tour guides to wear uniforms and take on a role similar to the existing Blue Suede Brigade in downtown Memphis, giving a safe presence to the neighborhood and notifying authorities of problems in the district.

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