Catalyst Interview Series: Nancy Blum-Heintz
Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you first get involved with KCCI?
Nancy Blum-Heintz (NBH): I received an email from FSU looking for people to apply to the program. It was the first time I had heard of KCCI and was intrigued by the opportunity to give back to Tallahassee in a new way. At the time, I was volunteering for the Junior League of Tallahassee which aids organizations in fulfilling with immediate needs. Having the opportunity to shape Tallahassee’s future through KCCI provided a whole new way for me to make a difference.
KCCI: What was your biggest challenge working on the Southside Sense of Place project?
NBH: Back in 2010, it was hard for people to see the potential of the Southside of Tallahassee. So much focus at the time was being spent on Gaines Street. But what was great about the project and place projects in general is how they connect communities within Tallahassee. While each neighborhood can have its own identity, connecting them together is what makes people feel at home.
KCCI: What was your favorite aspect about working on the project?
NBH: My favorite part of working on the project was getting to interact with a diverse group of volunteers and city officials. Together, we were able to reimagine a part of town that had not generated a great deal of attention or investment.
KCCI: What was it like to see your project come to life with the construction of the new streetscape for Palmer Ave.?
NBH: It has been truly rewarding to see progress being made. We are fortunate to live in a community that values a sense of place and respects its volunteers. A favorite quote of mine is by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” KCCI’s catalysts help advocate for Tallahassee’s future which is what makes the program truly special.
KCCI: Where are some of your favorite places in Tallahassee?
NBH: I love the J.R. Alford Greenway, especially the bridge and views. It a perfect place to spend a few hours with my family and away from all our electronic devices. I also enjoy the Capital City Amphitheater and the host of free family events – it provides cultural entertainment for everyone. And I am very biased but I love SouthWood. I live, work and play there. The trees are beautiful, it’s a family community and the wide sidewalks encourage outdoor time.
KCCI: Who should apply to be a KCCI Community Catalyst?
NBH: Tallahassee is a community that is evolving and it is an exciting time to be a part of its growth. If you want to be pushed outside your comfort zone, outside your neighborhood and want to help Tallahassee reach its full potential, you should apply to be a catalyst. The experience won’t disappoint – it’s truly rewarding.