Many people have ideas about improving their communities but lack the means to bring those ideas into reality. A dinner planned as part of Design Week Birmingham activities in October will provide one person or group with a $5,000 grant for such a project.
Bham FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) will be a public micro-granting event at which diners will see presentations about several proposed projects and then vote to provide funding for one. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25.
“We are asking the question, ‘How can you use design as a transformative tool?’” says Karla Khodanian, a visual media specialist who is one of the organizers of Bham FEAST.
“Right now, we are taking all of the ideas. We want to see what people have to offer,” she says.
There are no specific rules on the type of projects that can be submitted. Khodanian says the proposals could include anything from a community garden to a food and nutrition program, social justice effort, public art or even pop-up retail. She adds that organizers are especially seeking submissions affecting Jefferson County communities, but will accept ideas from the entire Birmingham metro area.
“The more applicants, the better,” she says. “We want to give everyone an opportunity to join in and change the landscape of our city for the better.”
Khodanian says Bham FEAST organizers want to see innovative concepts that involve design. The backers include architects, designers and others, and the event is intended to be a conversation about design and innovation. Organizers seek to empower residents, promote actions and change, foster dialogue and instill pride in neighborhoods.
“The FEAST dinner was inspired by a similar model they did in Brooklyn, N.Y.,” she says. “Many other cities have adopted it.”
Khodanian hopes a cross section of people will attend the dinner. “We want a good crowd,” she says. “We would encourage people who want to see innovative design in the city to come.”
The deadline for submissions is noon on Sunday, Oct. 5. Organizers will judge the proposals on quality, creativity and potential execution of the idea. Khodanian says several will be selected for presentations at Bham FEAST. After the presentations, participants will vote on which project to fund.
“The winner should be feasible,” Khodanian says.
Information and the application for submissions are available at bhamfeast.com.
Khodanian explains that the $5,000 grant will come from ticket sales for the event, which will be $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The event will be held at the Social Venture in Woodlawn. Tickets are not yet available, but information will be posted soon on the Bham FEAST website.
Bham FEAST will be the culminating event for the second annual Design Week Birmingham, which is scheduled for Oct. 18 to Oct. 25. Design Week is a multifaceted event that brings together architects, graphic artists and interior, landscape and industrial designers to promote and celebrate great design and its relevance in everyday life.