How an artist ended up in Mill Hill Macon art village

In 2016, the Urban Development Authority and Macon Art Alliance created the Mill Hill project to redevelop part of east Macon into an artists’ village.

MACON, Ga. – What was once an abandoned East Macon neighborhood full of rundown homes is now the Mill Hill East Macon Arts Village. In 2016, the Urban Development Authority and Macon Art Alliance created the Mill Hill project to redevelop part of eastern Macon into an artists’ village in hopes of preserving the neighborhood’s homes and history.

Some would say that being a first-time buyer is… tricky. For Hannah Frey, she fell in love at first sight.

“It’s just my favorite thing. It’s literally, I don’t know, it’s like a character. It really is. There’s so much character in it,” Frey said.

Frey says his 120-year-old home in the arts village of Mill Hill has remained for many reasons.

“I thought that was adorable. I love that they kept the two original doors, everything inside this house is pretty much original. The fireplace is still there, the wood floors are also original,” Frey said.

When she saw the house, she knew she had to buy it.

“As a first-time home buyer, I needed a little help. So, I reached out to some people, and they were like, ‘Hey, you’re making money. ‘art? ‘” Frey said.

Ironically, art is one of his passions. Her real estate agent told her about the Macon Arts Alliance Artist Assistance Program.

“Basically that’s where they would help move into the house and in return I would basically do volunteer community service work,” Frey said.

So that’s what she does, from teaching art classes to implementing artwork in shows held at the community arts center.

“As downtown grows, which we’re very happy about, the development and the cool things happening there, it’s getting harder and harder for people to afford to live in these cool lofts and these spaces. So one thing we wanted to do here is preserve the affordability of a place to live that is also still close to downtown,” said JR Olive.

The Mill Hill Village now includes rehabilitated homes, a park, and the new and improved Macon Art Center.

Olive, Project Director of the Arts Alliance, says the program gives them a chance to preserve this historic neighborhood and help people realize their dreams.

“In Hannah’s case, she was a practicing artist who had a body of work she wanted to exhibit, but had never been able to do a gallery show. Now we can use the gallery from the community center to really show off her work for the first time,” Olive said.

“I always dreamed of being in the field of art and it turns out that when I arrived here, the opportunity was given to me. the end,” Frey said.

Olive says it feels good to know he helped turn a derelict, vacant neighborhood into something people truly cherish, and the Macon Arts Alliance couldn’t have done it without the Urban Development Authority .

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