Transy students and North Limestone join forces
By Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde
If you live, work, or study on North Limestone, you may have already encountered one of us or the two dozen Transylvania students who have already participated in “Community Engagement through the Arts.” This course was created as a way to clear pathways and to open communication between two neighbors: Transylvania University and the North Limestone community.
Two years ago, we brought Transylvania students into the community for the first time. Because it is difficult to have pizza delivered north of Fourth Street and because our students, like everyone else, are influenced by this kind of social message, we crafted a course to address the visible and invisible walls erected to the north side of our campus. The already existing focus of our courses—literary narratives written from the American social margins in Kremena’s classes and interventionist art in Kurt’s—allowed us natural connections to this form of community engagement.
In the first year, we met on Wednesday nights at Al’s Bar (a once notorious neighborhood hang-out which had just reinvented itself under new and auspicious ownership) and tried to find out what the people in the neighborhood perceived as its biggest challenges. The area’s unfounded bad reputation emerged, almost unanimously, as the largest concern. We heard about it from the Commander of the Central Sector police force, from the owner of a brand-new gyro shop at the corner of North Limestone and 6th Street (since relocated to a different town), and from residents of the neighborhood with whom our students recorded oral history interviews.