Athens, Georgia—Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, a non-profit that has worked for over 50 years to celebrate and conserve community heritage in Athens, is changing its name to Historic Athens. To commemorate the change and expand its mission, the organization will be launching the first-ever “Historic Athens Porchfest” on Sunday, Oct. 6.
“We are so excited about this new chapter in our story, as well as the ways our new name will help the public better understand and participate in our mission,” says Tommy Valentine, Executive Director for Historic Athens. “We remain committed to our long-term mission and supporters, while also feeling confident that our new name will provide a more effective and inclusive way to present ourselves to the community.”
“The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the name change and new logo at our July meeting,” said Historic Athens Board President Kevin Bates. “In doing so, the organization is aligning itself with a coalition of over a dozen leading historic preservation organizations around the state, including Historic Macon, Historic Savannah, and Historic Columbus.”
As part of the celebration, Historic Athens is launching a new music festival, the Historic Athens Porchfest. Porchfests are a growing national trend, with more than 300 individual festivals launched nationwide since the first porchfest in 2007.
For this event, Historic Athens is inviting homeowners, musicians, and visitors to participate in concerts throughout four historic Athens neighborhoods: Pulaski Heights, Newtown, Boulevard, and Buena Vista Heights. From 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 6, residents in those neighborhoods can volunteer their porch or yard to host a free, live music performance by a local performing artist. Historic Athens will be coordinating the festival and accepting sign-ups at historicathens.com/porchfest.
In total, the event will include 48 pop-up concerts, two each hour in each historic neighborhood. Talent acquisition and support will be handled by the Athens-based Clip Art Presents, known for organizing the annual Odd Street Block Party. Sponsorships are also available through the Historic Athens website, with Tom Ellis Construction and Architectural Collaborative LLC (Arcollab) already confirmed.
Known for its work in historic preservation and heritage conservation, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation was founded in 1967 when a group of concerned citizens banded together to save the Church-Waddell-Brumby House from demolition. Today, the newly renamed Historic Athens oversees the Athens Welcome Center (which operates in the restored Church-Waddell-Brumby House), Hands On Athens (an initiative to provide home repairs to low- to moderate-income homeowners in historic homes and areas), and works to “develop community-wide understanding of the value of neighborhoods, buildings, and heritage” through education, advocacy, and public programming.
In recent months, Historic Athens has earned headlines for new initiatives, alongside increased efforts on equity and outreach. In November, the organization hired Valentine as their new executive director. In March, it attracted more than 300 people to the inaugural Historic Athens Mardi Gras Masquerade at the 40 Watt Club. In June, the organization celebrated its 50th annual Athens Preservation Awards at the Morton Theatre. Last month, the organization secured two projects—“Beech Haven Park” and “Athens Welcome Center Improvement Project”— on the 2020 SPLOST list. Most recently, Historic Athens has earned front-page coverage (Flagpole Magazine, Athens Banner-Herald, and Boom Magazine) for the new Athens Places in Peril Initiative, which encourages and guides ongoing efforts to save endangered historic spaces in Athens.
About Historic Athens: Historic Athens is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to celebrate and conserve community heritage in Athens, Georgia. For over 50 years, we have worked to improve historic preservation and heritage conservation in the Athens area. Founded as Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation in 1967.