THE CREATIVE DISTRICT
Thomasville’s creative district, The Bottom, was born from a close collaboration among city officials, the Office of Main Street and Tourism, Thomasville Landmarks and Thomasville Center for the Arts. The Bottom, named for its dip in elevation, was formerly a thriving African-American and Jewish district on the road to downtown. Over time, businesses there declined, and by the early 2000s not much was left in the area. It was the perfect opportunity for revitalization.
In the spring of 2014, after gathering input from more than 120 community members and much deliberation, the partner organizations approved a master plan for transforming The Bottom into a creative district. The plan revolved around building an amphitheater at the trailhead for a new multi-use trail system connecting the city’s historic districts. The amphitheater would provide a venue for performances and exhibitions and serve as an anchor for the rejuvenated neighborhood.
“When we went through the planning process, we shifted to a creative economy [vision] that allowed us to work with writers, designers, makers – even culinary artists – and we expanded the definition of business types that we could imagine in the district,” says Michele Arwood, executive director of the Thomasville Center for the Arts.