Told like old family history, the story takes us back to the heyday of agricultural commerce when Chattanooga’s intersection of river and railroad made it the perfect trade post. But 100 years of industry took a toll, and in 1969 Walter Cronkite announced to the world that Chattanooga was the “dirtiest city in America”. That low point led to a community visioning process and some major investment to create the strong city Chattanooga is today.
Chattanooga is a meeting place of southern charm and urban progress; where you can find the fastest internet speeds in the western hemisphere and the best swimming holes in Appalachia. Twice it’s been voted Outdoor Magazine’s “Best Town Ever”. Chattanooga was the first US city to declare an official typeface–designed and crowdfunded by its own citizens. Our Public Library is redefining what it means to be a library. Our teachers are creating change that starts in their own classrooms. Like all cities, Chattanooga is not without its problems. But for every major problem, there is a dedicated group of people working to solve it. Chattanooga’s size, along with it’s emerging tech, entrepreneurship, art, and design scenes make it an easy place to get involved in building the city you want to live in. Chattanooga is big enough to foster ambition and small enough to offer the personal support to make it happen.
Chelsea is a Memphis native who now finds her home tucked between the mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Despite having absolutely no artistic background, her dreams of starting a humanitarian magazine led her to go after a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Through her experience there, she discovered a whole community of creatives who were doing more than just telling the stories of good in the world, they were engaging with that “good” in a more tactile way.
These days Chelsea is the Director of Creative Engagement at Causeway where she works with visual and verbal communication to inspire and equip Chattanoogans to act on their good ideas for the city. She is interested in the relationship between ownership and community action, and is fueled by human connections across diverse backgrounds. Chelsea is a member of AIGA, an advisor for 800, a trustee of The UNfoundation, and an alumni of Camp Firebelly.
Good is: balance: valuing differences while finding common ground, recognizing the bad while elevating the good, practicing both confidence and humility, taking time to be creators and consumers of the world, having an urgency for small changes and a patience for big ones, being both a critic and a cheerleader, loving both the city and the citizen.