Catalyst Interview Series: Alana Taylor

Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you get involved with KCCI?

Alana Taylor (AT): I was looking for a way to get more involved in the community that went beyond socializing and networking. My father was involved in the 2014 KCCI class, and I loved the idea of all of the catalysts working together toward a shared common goal that benefitted our community.

KCCI: What was the mission of the SeeTallahassee project?

AT: The concept for SeeTallahassee was developed from the mission given to us to create “way finding” in our community . As we began meeting, we had to ask ourselves and each other what we thought “way finding” really was. We began an endeavor to create a community based “PR campaign” for Tallahassee, through way finding tools such as murals, signage, maps, and soon a website. We also utilized social media through Instagram and Facebook to get people excited about Tallahassee’s hidden gems in each of our city’s unique districts.

KCCI: How does art play a role in creating a sense of place?

AT: Art played a huge role for us in developing way finding. Each artistic mural we completed allowed the district’s sense of place to become recognizable, from large typography and arrows in midtown highlighting their favorite spots, to street signs and birds flying high in South Monroe calling out some of their local highlights. The SeeTallahassee map evolved in partnership with a Tallahassee-born graphic designer, Max Pepper, who was able to work with us to identify and create icons representing some of Tallahassee’s hidden gems.

KCCI: What was your favorite part of working on the project?

AT: My fellow catalysts! The bonds you make creating something that you are passionate about is an irreplaceable experience. We bickered and laughed and in the end the output was a culmination of all of us. It’s a really exciting and important experience to have at any age!

KCCI: What was the most valuable lesson you learned while working on the project?

AT: Divide and conquer. Identify your team’s strengths and create separate tasks to keep things moving.

KCCI: What are some of your favorite places in Tallahassee?

AT: I have so many… Cascades Park is one of my new favorites. I love the Leroy Collins Downtown public library, Lake Ella, our food scene, our breweries. I love many of our neighborhoods… the new FAMU way is stunning, I especially enjoy the playground near Proof. We have many amazing places in Tallahassee to get out and explore in.

KCCI: Who should apply to be a KCCI Catalyst?

AT: Really everyone, but especially I think someone who is looking for something more, maybe something bigger than yourself. My year (maybe 2 years, maybe its still ongoing) as a KCCI Catalyst opened up my eyes to everything going on around me AND that there is much more Tallahassee can become. I’m so excited about the future of our city!