600 Broad to host Arrow Institute of Art Spring Show by Matthew Kwatinetz

600 Broad is excited to announce that we will be hosting the 3rd Annual Spring Show for the Arrow Institute of Art in the gallery for the entire month of May. The Arrow Institute of Art is an art program affiliated with First Presbyterian Church located on Telfair street and their Spring show is a fundraising event featuring the art produced by the children enrolled in their program. 600 Broad will be waiving all of its commissions on sales of the art throughout the month so come down and help support some of Augusta's newest artists!

ARC hosts community forum on Mass Transit in Augusta by Matthew Kwatinetz

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On February 5th the Augusta Regional Collaboration held the first of a series of community forums on topics important to the economic vitality of Augusta. This month's topic was mass transit, something near and dear to ARC's Asst. VP Jack Wilde.

"A robust mass transit system can be both a social good and an economic one," Wilde claimed, "If it connects workers to jobs and consumers to stores." Many people in Augusta have voiced complaints about the local transit system, but fewer have stepped forward with solutions. "We need to find out what people mean when they say 'I want better bus service' because that's an outcome, not a specific suggestion."

1st District Commissioner William Fennoy was in attendance, as was Pat Stephens, the new director of  the city's bus service Augusta Public Transit. Participants in the forum spent some time nailing down specific improvements they wanted to see to the system, but then were asked to evaluate whether their improvements were aimed at enhancing social benefits like access for non-drivers, or economic benefits like access to jobs and stores. What was a surprise to everyone involved was how focused all the participants were on the economic benefits of their improvements.

Take a look at the video, leave your comments, and get involved!

First Friday Forum on Homelessness by Matthew Kwatinetz

One of our partners in the community, the Augusta Housing and Community Development Department, tipped us off to some of the great work they've been doing on addressing the homelessness problem in Augusta. As a growing city that's trying to attract visitors, customers, and eventually residents into our urban core, dealing with the homelessness issue is an important part of our economic development plan.

The question that we started with was what it means to "deal" with homelessness because for a long time it was thought to be an intractable problem. New research and new practices are turning that perception around though. A new movement in addressing homelessness called "Housing First" is enabling some communities to approach or even achieve "functional zero homelessness".

Believe it or not, there are several organizations in Augusta who are employing this approach to move Augusta's homeless population to functional zero and they are seeing some success. But they're also facing some problems. Paradoxically, there are more vacant properties in Augusta than there are homeless people, so it would seem like there is an obvious solution. Unfortunately, getting people into those properties can be very tricky.

Watch the video below, leave your comments, and get involved!