During a presentation for the Causeway Challenge in August, artist Hunter Franks introduced us to the Neighborhood Postcard Project.
The Neighborhood Postcard Project “collects personal positive stories from residents in underrepresented neighborhoods and sends them out to random people in the same city to change perception and build community,” according to the project’s website.
In just over a year, the project has spanned multiple U.S. cities and even Chile.
And now Chattanooga.
Volunteers were busy in Miller Plaza Wednesday afternoon, coloring and addressing postcards to be sent from the Glass Street neighborhood. Franks offers a toolkit to help communities start a similar project with minimal funding.
The event is a part of Startup Week, a celebration of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial community.
The stack of postcards will be taken back to Glass Street, and residents will write heartfelt, inspiring stories before they are mailed to random recipients in the city.
“We’re focusing on a connection people haven’t had,” said Teal Thibaud, founder of the Glass House Collective. “It’s kind of awkward, but we’re forcing a connection. With Glass Street, we’ll look toward the North Shore, Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain and even downtown.”
The Glass House Collective is a diverse team of talent gathered to revitalize historic Glass Street in Chattanooga.
“Greetings from Glass Street” is written across the front of the postcard. On the back, the postcard begins with the prompt “I love Glass Street because .” and encourages residents to relay a positive story to a complete stranger.
Thibaud is seeking volunteers for the next stage of the project, which will include finding residents and encouraging them to share their stories.
She can be reached here.
Franks told us in August that it works because it’s simple to carry out.
“I think you have certain areas that people stereotype, and I think people are able to relate to it, especially people who live in those communities,” he said. “They know there’s more to those neighborhoods than just what people see on the news and those negative stereotypes.”
In the coming months, Thibaud hopes to send out at least 100 postcards from Glass Street.