Transitional Year ahead following multi-year Successes

Transitional Year ahead following multi-year Successes for Macon GA Gateway Initiative

MACON, GA –The announcement of the upcoming transitional year for the initiative that has become commonly known as Gateway Macon, comes almost two years to the day after the initial funding of the $1.5 million dollar project on October 1, 2010.  “Funding is in place for the next twelve months,“ according to Carley Carden, who will assume the role of project manager this week.  “Our focus in the coming year will be SEO and further enhancement of the web site,, as well as working more actively with our thirty-eight partnering organizations in promoting Macon’s unique resources and opportunities to the region.”  Carden, a Macon native and graduate of Wesleyan College, has been being groomed to assume this position since the beginning of 2012.

“The foundation has been established,” states Beth Dunwody, “now it is time to fully utilize the massive capabilities built into the site.”  Dunwody will end her contract term as Director this week.  “I am grateful to have had the unique opportunity to lead this innovative initiative.  It is impossible to name the hundreds of individuals who have contributed to the success of the various aspects of this project.  To each of them I offer my heartfelt thanks.  In 2010 Macon, along with the rest of the country, was stunned by unprecedented economic challenges. The Gateway Initiative exemplified community at its best by meeting the challenges with creative solutions, providing economic stimulus at a local level and recognizing that we can accomplish far more together than we can apart.”

Since October 2010 this innovative initiative has taken the marketing of Macon online and on the road throughout the state and beyond as its team touted the strengths of the community as evidenced by its existing organizations, attractions, and institutions.  Once the partnering organizations were recruited, the team created and launched an original song and music video entitled “A Little More Soul.”  Next came the Macon Shorts, Macon Music and Macon Mogul competitions, each designed to draw attention to the possibilities of the creative economies and natural assets of the community. 

In November 2011 finalists and friends from around the state joined Macon locals at a sold out event at The Grand Opera House to celebrate the winners of the film and music competitions and to hear the live performance of Macon’s new theme song, “A Little More Soul.”  The three competitions each garnered over a hundred official entries each from around the world, focusing attention on Macon’s ‘camera ready’ film locations, the living legacy of a new generation of musicians from every genre, and its serious commitment to attract and support small local business endeavors.  Besides the winners recognized in each of the categories, Gateway Macon continues to work behind the scenes with New Town, The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Macon Economic Development Commission, Main Street, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Macon Arts Alliance, The Film Commission and its other partnering organizations to cultivate prospective new businesses and attract new residents and visitors to the area.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Peyton Anderson Foundation, I wish to commend the Creative Team behind the Gateway Macon project for its work in advancing an atmosphere of collaboration within the community, and for an outstanding promotional campaign” stated Karen Lambert, President of the Foundation.  Over the past two years Gateway Macon’s work has been recognized not only on a local and regional level but also nationally, receiving over three dozen highly prestigious awards for advertising, including two Mosaic Awards for promoting diversity in advertising. The team was brought together by Beth Dunwody of Thin Place Creative who has acted as project manager for the initiative since its inception; the primary creative team incude Burt & Burt, Bright Ideas Group, Bright Blue Sky Productions and Third Wave Digital.  

The work of the initiative will continue over the course of the next year as relationships with partnering organizations are strengthened and a strategy for the continued use of the significant stockpile of resources is refined.  Mike Ford of New Town Macon stated, “The thousands of stock photos and hours of video footage, including current aerials compiled over the past two years will continue to be available to the Gateway partners in order to effectively leverage these vast resources for the common good.  Gateway Macon has built a valuable archive, as well as a highly recognizable brand for the community as a whole.”  Much of the footage and stills have been used in the development of the website,, which is designed to provide viewers an overview of the vast resources, assets and attractions of Macon and Bibb County and link the viewer to sites of the partnering organizations.  The ‘mobi’ version of the site went live this summer and provides smartphone users with direct links to a Google map to partnering organizations, museums, and attractions.  Local organizations and businesses are invited and encouraged to add links on their websites to the Gateway site.  For more information, contact Carley Carden at (478) 722.9909, ext. 110.