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KCCI Reveals 2019 Placemaking Project

The Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) announced its 2019 placemaking initiative tentatively named Red Hills Rhythm and is seeking volunteers, called Community Catalysts, to cast a vision for an interactive outdoor musical experience and then work to make it a permanent fixture within the Tallahassee landscape.The application cycle for the 2019 program year begins today and closes Nov. 2, 2018.

“This placemaking initiative has great potential to strengthen our community’s vitality, connectedness and sense of pride,” said Betsy Couch, Executive Director of KCCI. “Music transcends boundaries, has therapeutic effects, and can be a catalyst for bringing together diverse groups of people.”

The 2019 project was announced during KCCI’s Showcase and Preview event at The Edison Restaurant overlooking Cascades Park, the site of KCCI’s Cultivate Cascades Project, which was featured recently in Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines, a groundbreaking playbook for creating well-designed and well-maintained public spaces.Cascades Park will also host theExperience Tallahassee Festival on October 13. The event is the culmination of the 2018 Catalyst team’s efforts to build ties between local higher education entities and the community. Implemented in partnership with FSU, TCC and FAMU – it will feature performances by local organizations, a career area for networking with local business owners, and a wide variety of local eats. The 2018 Experience Tallahassee Catalyst Team also created “Tallahassee’s Top 50” – a list of fifty experiences that students and residents alike can enjoy, which is available as a free download at

“Our community benefits when university students feel more connected and put down roots here,” saidHeather Mayo, a member of the 2018 Catalyst Class. “We want students to know that Tallahassee is wonderful place to live, work and play, become invested in its growth and stick around for a while.”

The 2019 project marks KCCI’s 11th year of shaping Tallahassee’s identity through placemaking endeavors, which help drive economic development and bring a wide variety of people together. KCCI trains its Community Catalysts on research which shows that the ability of a region to attract and retain members of the creative sector and stimulate economic prosperity depends on a balance of the 4Ts: Talent, Territorial Assets, Technology and Tolerance. Research also shows that communities with a strong sense of place fare better economically. KCCI then challenges the Catalysts to implement a sense of place project that helps attract and retain the creative class, young professionals and college graduates.

A sampling of past influential KCCI projects includes:

  • TLH/ #iHeartTally. The #iHeartTally team leveraged public art to cultivate community pride and celebrate the city’s uniqueness by creating the larger-than-life “TLH” statue that is situated at the edge of Cascades Park in the emerging SOMO District. Working in collaboration with neighbors, businesses and local government, the group also created a mobile statue of the popular #iHeartTally hashtag and painted a colorful mural above the entrance to Tallahassee’s most popular public parking garage in the heart of downtown. Within months of installation, TLH was named a “Tallahassee Icon” by local media outlets and quickly became a go-to spot.
  • Reimagining Waterworks. The 2016 Waterworks team set out to bring new life to the historic, yet deserted, Waterworks building nestled between Cascades Park and Downtown Tallahassee by gathering feedback from area residents and collaborating with local government and community partners to determine its highest and best use. As a culmination of these efforts, the Old City Waterworks Building will be preserved and fully refurbished in accordance with Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation guidelines as part of the city’s plan to revitalize the area and create an 18-hour downtown. A private developer will completely restore the Waterworks building as part of a larger mixed-use development project bordering Cascades Park, which is projected to generate more than $350 million in economic output.
  • Frenchtown Farmer’s Market. In an effort to help resolve Frenchtown’s food desert, KCCI volunteers worked in conjunction with Frenchtown neighborhood leaders and established Tallahassee’s only all-local, twice-weekly market. Funded by donations —including a $100,000 USDA grant in 2015 —the Frenchtown Farmers Market lowers the barrier to entry for local farmers and food entrepreneurs by providing equipment and business development services. In 2017, it served more than 4,000 customers and sales exceeded $50,000.
  • Cultivate Cascades. What started as a research project highlighting the potential of Cascades Park led to the team making this outdoor destination even more of a Tallahassee landmark. The team, working with more than 30 partners, successfully advocated for a comprehensive amphitheater that would meet the community’s needs for an outdoor performance venue and created the “Discovery” playscape. The 2017 Word of South Festival at Cascades alone amassed $990,700 worth of economic impact and almost 32,000 people have paid to attend concerts in the Cascades amphitheater as of fall 2017. Discovery, presented by First Commerce Credit Union, is one-of-a-kind in North Florida and has become a popular attraction in Cascades Park.

For more information about KCCI, or if you would like to apply to be a 2019 Community Catalyst, please visit



KCCI was created in 2007 and has been annually selecting Tallahassee residents and training them on the concepts of the book, The Rise of the Creative Class. These Community Catalysts volunteer their time to learn the concepts and implement a project that enhances Tallahassee’s sense of place as a community that would be able to attract and retain the creative class, young professionals and college graduates. To date, KCCI has led 23 total projectsand more than 240 Community Catalystshave volunteered their time to help create a sense of place throughout Tallahassee while engaging the creative class. KCCI is a program of The Village Square and is funded through private and public donations including: Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, Archibald Foundation, Leon County, City of Tallahassee, Brown & Brown, The Taproot Agency, FAMU, Florida State University College of Business, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Inc. CenturyLink, NAI Talcor, Capital City Bank, Rowland Publishing, Tallahassee Democrat, ABC Channel 27, Mainline Information Systems, The Summit Group, Sachs Media Group, Flightline Group, Inc., Nolia and Bill Brandt, Periodontal Associates of North Florida, PA, OliverSperry Renovation, Drs. Chaney, Couch and Associates Family Dentistry, Charlie Johnson, WilliamsGautier Law Firm, and Target Copy.  For more information, visit