What makes Lookout Mountain home

What's on your summer bucket list? A hike to Glen Falls? A mountain bike ride on the Cloudland Connector Trail? Or maybe a road trip to Nashville to see Alan Shuptrine's new watercolor exhibit?

The season has already kicked off with Community Movie Night. There's another in August and here's 5 reasons you can't miss it. Get ready for the fun, because summers on Lookout are anything but lazy!

Patrick and Mary Shelton Wells - Why I Love Lookout

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Patrick and Mary Shelton Wells both had jobs they loved. He was helping lead a turnaround for a legal outsourcing company; she was a personal trainer with flexible hours for their then newborn, Hallie Grace. There was just one problem – they were too far from friends and family in Mobile, Alabama.

It was such exciting work being able to run a company right out of graduate school,” says Patrick, who received his MBA from Samford University. “But my best friend Cameron Bean kept asking us what we were doing. He noticed how often we were driving back to Chattanooga and Birmingham and kept asking me ‘Are you having fun? What about family?’

When Cameron was tragically killed on an early evening run in September 2015, the Wells decided shortly after it was time to move closer to family. The question was where: Patrick’s hometown of Birmingham or Chattanooga, where Mary Shelton grew up?

The couple met in Birmingham when both attending Samford. They were both collegiate athletes; Mary Shelton a soccer player and Patrick a pole vaulter. The two seemed destined to meet, and it was in fact Cameron (a fellow Chattanooga native) who introduced them.

Ultimately Chattanooga won out for its access to nature, its business friendly environment, and local commitment to the community. But the decision to move to Lookout Mountain had more to do with their daughter.

When they first moved back the family was living in Soddy Daisy at Mary Shelton’s parents’ lake house. Both found jobs downtown but childcare was a different issue. Thankfully they secured a spot at Good Shepherd School, where they both felt welcomed with open arms.

You could tell immediately how much they loved the kids,” says Mary Shelton. “You really felt the Lookout Mountain community at its roots through how intentional the teachers were and how welcoming everyone was.

Mary Shelton recalls her daughter being invited to a birthday party about a month after moving, and the mom emailed to ask about Hallie Grace’s food allergies and what she could have. As they got to know the Lookout Mountain community more, it seemed a natural fit.

They recalled a weekend winter morning when they were driving around Fairyland, watching parents and kids playing in the streets and catching up with neighbors. They knew they wanted that for their daughter.

There’s a real community here that’s rare,” says Patrick. “From Halloween to the Carnival to Family Movie Night, these events bring you together, slow you down and remind you of what’s important. Living in a community like this keeps you grounded.

Although Mary Shelton grew up on Signal Mountain and her parents still live there, she also finds her new home extremely welcoming.

They encouraged us to look everywhere and were super excited about us moving up here,” says Mary Shelton. “They have a lot of old friends here and love coming up to visit. Even though they’ve never lived here, they knew there was something special about Lookout.

Coach Dockery Retires from Lookout Mountain Rec Department

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On a warm July morning, Coach Rick Dockery is straightening up the Parks & Playground toolshed. With torrential rains and baseball tournaments for the past three weeks he’s been juggling schedules, dealing with sink holes and cutting down or trimming trees. Pretty soon he’ll hop on the riding mower, a machine he’s logged thousands of miles on during his 36 year career.

The week was even more hectic than usual because it was one of his last. This summer Dockery stepped down as Director of Parks & Playground, with his assistant Scott Shell stepping into the director role. Newcomer Brandon Adams was hired as the new Assistant Director.

There isn’t anything I won’t miss,” says Dockery. “It’s always one challenge after another, and the manual labor can be tough. But at same time I’ll miss that too.

The job has been demanding from day one. When working under Director Buck Stamps in the early ‘80s, the two men personally coached every sport, working six days a week for 10 years without a vacation or sick day.

On his first day Dockery met LMS principal Marvin Lane, who almost immediately noticed Dockery’s aptitude for teaching. They began talking about the possibility of bringing him into the classroom, and before long Dockery was coaching three teams and taking night classes for his teaching certificate. Even so, he says there’s never been a single day he didn’t want to come to work.

I’m surrounded by the best group of people,” he says. “I’ve always felt supported by the community, by parents and even the kids. So in that sense it’s been easy. And I certainly haven’t done it alone. I’m grateful for people like Susan Taylor and Lee Dyer, who have contributed so much as volunteers.

Dockery started full-time at Lookout Mountain School in 1990, where he will continue teaching for this school year. His work in youth sports has impacted thousands of children – some who’ve gone on to play in college or even professionally. But he was virtually a kid when he started in 1981, just five years older than the 16 year olds he was coaching.

“I’ve always tried to treat the kids like they’re my own,” he says. “Sometimes they think of me as a strict disciplinarian, but at same time I always try to put my arm around them. The times I’ve had with the kids – the jokes, the stories – still brings laughter to me years later.”

In his career Dockery has overseen the rebuilding of the baseball fields alongside Ryan Crimmins, as well as a recent $380,000 tennis court renovation with the help of Joe Hailey. He teamed up with Brooke Pippenger several years ago to rebuild the “Mountain Maze” playground at the Commons. But the highlight was having his son go through the Rec program, during which time they played in two Dixie Youth World Series.

The travel those years to Arkansas and Virginia were some of Dockery’s only times out of Tennessee during his career. He has plans for much more travel In retirement, including the Grand Canyon this fall.

Coach Dockery’s influence on Lookout Mountain’s youth sports will be greatly missed, by both parents and kids. He assures us the feeling is mutual.

I’m going to miss everything – but I’ve still got another year at LMS,” he adds with a smile.

Music on the Mountain Early Bird Discount Ends Thursday

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Credit: Benjamin Grizzell Photography

The early bird gets the worm, but they also score the best prices on event tickets. If you want to be a smart birdie then you have until August 18 to get the discount for Music on the Mountain, benefitting the Fairyland Education Fund.

One thing everyone will be tweeting about is this year’s silent auction, which includes an overnight design excursion from interior designer and Fairyland parent, Michelle Workman. This package entails an in-home consultation coupled with a trip to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) where Michelle will personally advise you on items needed AND pass along her decorator’s discount. Hotel accommodations are included.

Other exciting items include a sign-up party at the new Lookout Mountain Club, Tennessee vs. Alabama football tickets in the end zone, and a security clearance level tour of the Pentagon. And the best part? At the end of the night you don’t have to wait in a checkout line (if you register your credit card beforehand at motm.fairylandschool.org).

We strive to move in the direction of no checkout,” explains MOTM Co-Chair Carrie Gallant. “We encourage everyone to pre-register on our site so that as soon as the auction closes, they are automatically checked out with an invoice sent via email that same night. Auction items can either be picked up that night, delivered the following day, or we can schedule a pickup.

This will be Gallant’s first year chairing the event along with Courtney Guthrie, supported by event founders Caroline Williams and Justin and Michelle Workman. Other planning committee members include Susan Colmore, Jennifer Deal, Maria Fowler, Susan Gentry, Ginny Johnston, and Wendy Taliaferro.

As always, MOTM includes a seated dinner featuring Chef Margaret’s finest, such as BBQ pork sliders, fried chicken, tomato pie, potato truffles and Caesar salad. Music will be provided by former Fairyland parent Jeff Joyner and his bluegrass band, The Wood Nymph Pickers. Joyner also provided music for this year’s Swing Ding.

All proceeds from the evening help support the Fairyland Education Fund, which allows the K-5 school to employ a full-time technology teacher and support a Fine Arts curriculum that includes music and theatre. The PTO also helps fund a Spanish program for Pre-K and – beginning this year – Kindergarten. Finally, the education fund supports an RTI specialist for children who needing extra help.

Get your tickets today at motm.fairylandschool.org

Cafe on the Corner Celebrations This Week

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Café on the Corner has helped countless people celebrate birthdays. But this time the party is for them, and everyone’s invited. Owner Ruth Oehmig and Head Chef J.R. Crutcher share a birthday on August 17. It’s a milestone for Chef – the big 5-0. As for Ruth…

“Mine’s insignificant – no one needs to know my number,” she laughs.

The festivities kick off this Thursday with complimentary red velvet cake, a favorite dessert of both Ruth and J.R. Other favorites will be highlighted with a special menu running Thursday until Saturday, which will feature both Ruth’s and Chef’s favorite meals (in addition to the regular menu).

There will be a contest to see who can guess whose is whose, with every guess entering your name in a special drawing for a gift card. A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will benefit Metropolitan Ministries.

Menu 1 will include BBQ ribs, potato salad, slaw, baked beans and banana pudding. Menu 2 will be a shaved radish salad, swordfish, coconut cilantro rice, Asian slaw and cinnamon ice cream served with hot fudge sauce, warm bacon bits and Bergeron’s pecans.

In addition to the birthday celebrations, Café on the Corner will be holding its final back-to-school Kid’s Night this Tuesday, August 15. They’ll grill out on the patio, kids still eat free, and they will be giving all students a pencil to put in their new backpacks.

For more information, find them on Facebook

Cap Off Summer With Community Movie Night This Friday

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Don’t forget Community Movie Night this Friday, August 11 at the Town Commons. The now bi-annual event, sponsored by Love Lookout, will kick off at 6:30 pm.

Bring games to share and enjoy eating dinner under the stars. Food trucks will be on hand so remember to bring cash and anything else you may need such as picnic blankets, chairs and beverages. The movie will begin around 8:45 pm as the sun sets.

If you’ve never attended a movie night or you just need reminding, here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t miss this Lookout Mountain summer tradition!

1. FREE MOVIE AND POPCORN

Yes, the best things in life ARE free. Usually that doesn’t apply to entertainment, so take advantage while you can. The movie selection is always a recent family favorite so everyone from toddlers to teenagers will enjoy.

2. THE CHANCE FOR A "DRIVE-IN" MOVIE EXPERIENCE

Even though you’re not watching from your car, an open-air movie allows younger generations to connect with a bit of American nostalgia. Plus, without the confines of a car little ones can run around if they get antsy.

3. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SNEAK IN FOOD

Love Lookout actually invites you to bring your own dinner and drinks! If you don’t want to bother with a picnic, food trucks will be on hand for delicious treats. Just be sure to bring cash.

4. IT'S SOMETHING THE ENTIRE FAMILY CAN ENJOY

Unlike a traditional movie theater, you won’t be given the stink eye for bringing a baby or for not making your toddler sit still. The festivities begin at 6:30, with the movie starting at 8:30. So if bedtimes are a problem you can still enjoy an evening out and not worry about the early departure (remember, the movie is FREE).

5. IT'S MORE THAN A MOVIE

When’s the last time you got to watch a movie with 500 of your friends and neighbors? And the film is just half the fun. Love Lookout encourages anyone to bring games such as corn hole or Kan Jam for pre-show entertainment. The real experience is connecting with your community in a laid back setting. In other words…the perfect end cap for summer.

OddStory Brewing Gives Chattanooga Something to Talk About

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It’s a typical night at OddStory Brewing. The garage-door windows are rolled open, mixing the din of conversation and clinking glasses with the street sounds of MLK Boulevard. There are no TVs – just long tables set up biergarten style.

Beer and conversation go together, and we wanted OddStory to be a place where you can tell your story to the person across from you,” explains Co-Owner Bryan Boyd. “It’s a bit counter-culture these days with iPhones and iPads, but we intentionally wanted to make this a place for conversation.

The name was inspired by the odd level under the streets of Chattanooga, a result of raising the city to escape flooding from the Tennessee River. But it also refers to the odd stories that can only come from sharing pints with friends and sometimes strangers.

Bryan recalls a story of a rather surly guy from Texas who ordered a flight one early evening. He ended up meeting the people next to him and enjoyed a night on the town with new-found friends.

“He came back later that night overjoyed, telling us how impressed he was with the place,” recalls Bryan.

The idea to open OddStory also began with a conversation over beers. It was on Bryan’s back porch, when he asked his son, Jay what he wanted to do with his life. He had just graduated college and was living at home. His answer: open a brewery.

So Bryan did what any good dad would do – sell his successful business of 12 years, move to a different town and become his son’s business partner.

Ok, so it wasn’t that simple.

After that initial conversation, Jay dedicated the next three years learning how to make craft beer. He worked for three different small craft breweries and also attended brewing school in the summer of 2014, which concluded with an internship at Vermont’s Harpoon Brewery. With a PhD in finance and experience running a small business, Bryan began researching the market and drafting a business plan.

As things progressed, both men saw the opportunities in craft beer, which is currently exploding in popularity across the country. They knew they were onto something, but they also knew their long-time Decatur, Ala., home might not be the ideal location. They researched 30 different cities across the US.

When it was decision time, the entire Boyd family rated where they wanted to live. Chattanooga won over Boise, Idaho by a tight margin, with Lookout Mountain likely being the tipping point.

The Boyds were familiar with Lookout because Jay had played soccer at Covenant College. Bryan’s wife, Denise fell in love with it years ago when they would come up to watch their son’s games. Bryan and Denise moved to the Mountain this January, while Jay and his wife, Emily moved to Main Street.

Lookout is such a unique place – we love it,” says Bryan. “We live two blocks from Rock City and I’m always surprised by how many people you see on the street walking, biking, skateboarding. You don’t really see that in most places in the US.

Today Bryan handles everything with the business while Jay focuses on brewing the perfect pint. Their recipe is working well, with sales moving faster than expected. In addition to the 16 taps they offer at the brewery, OddStory sells to approximately 30 establishments around town including The Flying Squirrel, Champy’s, Easy Bistro and FEED Co.

While the Boyds have lived here less than a year, they’ve quickly integrated into the local scene. SORBA, the Southeast Climbers Coalition, Young Professionals of Chattanooga and Lula Lake Land Trust have all partnered with the brewery for events. One evening they even hosted a church event.

Three churches got together and brought in a keyboard, sang hymns and drank beer,” Bryan smiles. “This is unlike any business I’ve ever been in. There’s always something going on.

OddStory’s flagship beers include the Belgian Blonde, American Pale Ale and Vienna Lager. But Jay is always brewing something new, such as an apricot rosemary Saison for summer or his coconut milk stout – which sells out every time he makes it.

One of the biggest surprises for the new business is how all ages have embraced it. Their initial business model was built for the 25- to 40-year-old demographic, mostly urbanites starting out in their careers.

We see 25 year olds to 85 year olds and everything in between,” he says. “I’ve been proud of my generation, who are a curious bunch. We were raised on Budweiser and Miller, and I love surprising them with the taste and quality of craft beer.

And with his next oldest employee being 30, Bryan appreciates whenever the age gap is evened out.

“It’s nice to see someone in here my age,” he adds with a laugh.



Odd Story’s Tap Room Hours

Tuesday – Thursday: 4 pm until 10 pm
Friday: 2 pm until midnight
Saturday: noon until midnight
Open Sunday and Monday for private events

The Lookout Mountain Club Becomes Official with June 30 Merger

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A club merger may not seem like a monumental undertaking. But when you consider the history behind the Lookout Mountain Golf Club and the Fairyland Club, you’ll understand why it took an almost community wide effort to get approved.

There were some obstacles in helping people understand why it was not only good for Lookout Mountain but also for both clubs,” says Will Kline, co-president of the new club’s board. “It was a real concerted effort by a lot of people.

The idea was spearheaded two years ago by five local families –Caroline and Nelson Williams, Natalie and Rob Huffaker, Nini and Elliot Davenport, Karen and Miller Welborn, and Candy and John Killebrew. A merger had been attempted at least three times prior, so organizers knew they had their work cut out for them.

Both clubs have rich histories spanning 90-plus years. For decades the two clubs co-existed but always competed for a relatively small market share. While both offered dining, the Golf Club offered golf; the Fairyland Club offered tennis, a fitness center and a pool.

If families wanted both amenities they had to pay separate initiation fees and monthly dues. While a merger made sense going forward, members who joined under different terms had to be considered. Each property also had its own debts and arrangements for financing.

Despite the hurdles, the merger passed both clubs three-to-one with 60 percent participation. On June 30, The Lookout Mountain Club became official.

It’s a real win-win, not only for our members, but also for the entire community,” says Andy Pippenger, who will lead the new board with Kline. “Rather than competing for members, we can now offer something for every member of the family to enjoy, all within one club.

Since the initial merger vote in January, twenty-four new members have applied and a larger-than-expected number of Fairyland members have expressed interest in becoming full golf members. Most importantly the merged club has received new financing, on better terms, with the ability to make much needed improvements at both facilities.

The real beauty of combining the two clubs is the ability to consolidate and streamline operations for greater efficiency, while offering expanded amenities and services to our members,” says General Manager Victor Balcom.

One example is the recent decision to transfer lunch service to the Golf Club, reserving the Fairyland Club for special luncheons and other banquet events. Speaking of events, the new Club offers more venue choices. Wedding parties can now hold a rehearsal dinner or bridesmaid’s luncheon at one location and the wedding and reception at the other site.

The new club offers two membership options: full membership includes golf; regular membership includes all amenities except for golf. Within those two classifications there are different sub-categories of membership, with dues and fees based on age and place of residence, as well as a deferred payment plan for initiation fee payments.

We have worked hard to structure the fees to be very competitive with other clubs in our market,” says Membership Director Charlotte Lindeman. “By offering things such as a deferred payment plan for initiation fees we’ve tried to make it very accessible for young families to join.

The new board will be led this first year by Co-Presidents Andy Pippenger and Will Kline. Jim Haley will serve as Vice President, Ben Probasco as Secretary, and Ben Brown as Treasurer. Committee Chairs include Caroline Williams, Angie Sutherland, Terri Holley, Wes Robbins, Patton Smith, and Larry Parks.

Our main focus post-merger will be to provide the best product in all areas of the club, whether that’s golf, tennis, or food and beverage,” says Kline. “We share a vision to elevate the Lookout Mountain Club to a whole new level and to become one of the preeminent private clubs in the Southeast, all while continuing to offer a great value for our current and future members.

Some highlights of the new Club include:

  • Regular lunch service moving to the Golf Club (banquet luncheon service still available at the Fairyland Club)

  • Breakfast service now available at the Golf Club on Saturdays and Sundays; with Sunday brunch at the Golf Club from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

  • Barre classes on Wednesday mornings at the Fitness Center through a partnership with Kelly Armstrong of Neighborhood Barre

  • Yoga classes throughout the week

  • Water aerobics during the summer

  • Pickleball instruction and group play through Tennis Pro Sue Webb

  • Ongoing family events such as Wednesday night poolside buffet dinners throughout the summer, and Thursday night Fried Chicken Dinners at the Golf Club

Kicking It On Lookout - A New Soccer Season Starts Soon

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School bells will soon be ringing, which means it’s almost soccer season. And this new year brings some exciting changes to the Lookout Mountain Soccer Association, including a new technical director, Chris Cushenbery.

Cushenbery will lend his expertise to assist volunteer coaches with training drills, improve referee training and will hold an additional Friday skills session with players. A former player at Covenant College, Cushenbery recently coached the McCallie varsity soccer team to win a state championship this year.

Chris is a key asset to growing and elevating the level of soccer on Lookout Mountain,” says Kim Brock, LMSA director. “We are all very excited to welcome him.

Registration for the 2017-18 season is already open through the Lookout Mountain Rec’s Blue Sombrero page.

The deadline to register is August 11, with a $20 late fee for signing up after that.

Another change will be an Opening Day, held Saturday, August 12 for all age groups. Kids will play scrimmages so that coaches can evaluate skills and abilities to ensure evenly matched teams. Please bring your child ready to play, including shin guards under socks. (See below for times.)

“Kids shouldn’t feel any pressure at all during these scrimmages – they are strictly to help us create equal teams,” says Brock. “We want the kids to come play and have fun.”

Teams will be made and announced later that day. If you feel your child should play up or down an age group, please contact Brock directly. She requests that you do not email regarding friend or carpool requests. Instead either make a note on your child’s registration form or tell someone at Opening Day on August 12.

“Creating even teams is our main priority, although we will try to accommodate special requests,” she says. “We can’t promise these will all be granted, however.”

Once the teams are finalized, your child's coach will contact you with information on practice day and time and any other details. Players will receive their uniforms at practice the week before their first game.

Practices begin the week of August 14th.

First 4th of July Parade Comes to Lookout Mountain

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Join your community for the first Lookout Mountain Fourth of July Parade, held July 4 at 10:30. There will be floats, golf carts, walkers, bikers and vintage cars – basically anything that can move you down the street en route to the Town Commons, where food trucks, sno-cones and live music await.

All ages are encouraged to participate including Girl Scouts on a float, teenagers popping wheelies on 10-speeds, and toddlers waving in wagons. The parade is the brainchild of Georgia resident Michelle Workman, supported by a recently formed committee including Angie Sutherland, David Bennett, Justin Workman, Sarah Lehn, Wendy Taliaferro, and Katherine Smith.

“A large part of the reason people choose to live on Lookout Mountain is the lifestyle and our unique, inclusive community,” says Smith, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. “As a committee our goal is to help showcase what a great a place this is to live and continue to foster community through events like this.”

The parade will be the committee’s first event, with hopefully more to come. To participate, simply visit their website to register. Then plan to line up at 10 a.m. in front of Georgia’s City Hall.

“We were inspired by places like Highlands and 30A who’ve been holding 4th of July parades for years,” says Smith. “The idea is to get something started this year and let it grow from there.”

Floats can be as casual as streamers on a golf cart but participants are encouraged to let their creativity flow. Lookout Mountain business Pro-Ad Sports has produced t-shirts for the event at a special rate, paid for by Love Lookout. The shirts will be FREE and handed out the day of the parade.

Don’t miss this picture-perfect summer memory. Plan to participate or watch, then eat lunch at the Commons before heading to other celebrations.

Lost Art - How Townsend Atelier is Building Chattanooga's Art Scene

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Michelangelo had the Medicis. Chattanooga artists have Townsend Atelier. Lookout Mountain native Peggy Townsend and her husband Stan may not be funding up-and-coming artists like the famous Florentine family did, but they are playing a key role in keeping the arts alive in Chattanooga.

With lofty ceilings, easels as far as the eye can see and near life-sized figures in charcoal, Townsend Atelier could pass as any prestigious art school in the country – with one key difference.

The pressure is not there like you have in an academic setting,” explains Peggy. “If you’re a professional, there’s a place for you here. If you’re just curious and intimidated, there’s a place for you too.

Atelier is the French word for “workshop.” In the art world it has come to mean passing on a skill set from a practicing professional (master) to an apprentice. At Townsend, it means offering classes of all levels taught by professional artists.

We’re very deliberate about engaging with instructors who are great teachers but are also successful practicing artists,” says Peggy. “Students not only receive excellent instruction but also timely advice when it comes to marketing or selling their work.

Once a common practice, ateliers are a rarity these days, particularly in the Southeast. But the movement is growing, says Peggy. Townsend focuses on classical disciplines such as drawing, painting, sculpture, color mixing and theory. Their facility does not allow them to do anything with metals or glass, and they don’t focus on things that tend to be on the side of “craft.”

Classes range from $15 per class for open studio drawing with live models, to $250 for a weekly oil painting class with well-known local artist Mia Bergeron. Weekend workshops with visiting artists attract students from across the country, such as the upcoming alla-prima portrait workshop with California-based Sean Cheetham.

All ages are welcome at the Atelier, especially at the five weeks of children’s art camps this summer. During the fall there are offerings for homeschool students and even “Mommy and Me” classes. They also rent space to up-and-coming artists like Caleb Stoltzfus, who’s decision to study art at Covenant College was influenced by the fact that Chattanooga has an atelier.

Peggy and Stan have been heavily involved in Chattanooga’s cultural scene since the late 80’s – Stan as a professional artist and Peggy as an arts administrator for the Hunter, AVA, and the City of Chattanooga. They started Townsend Atelier in 2007 as a web store for artist’s supplies, but classes were always part of their long-range vision.

We love Chattanooga, and are committed to helping make it a cultural and arts destination,” says Peggy. “We see the arts as an ecosystem, and you need every flavor. We’re one flavor, and hopefully filling a void that’s not being met by other entities.

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