Artist Scott Allen created this mural on Morgan Place in September 2014 through a project called Fondren Art Walls Now, a placemaking initiative began by Chane.

Special to Find It In Fondrenâ„¢ (Laura Pickard Johns)

When I take a trip that requires air travel, I like to ask those sitting next to me on the flight home what brings them to Jackson. In the event they’ve never visited Mississippi’s capital city before, I also feel it’s an opportunity to share with them some of the best restaurants in the area and to tell them which unique shops to visit. When making recommendations, I always start with Fondren.

Fondren has some of the most wonderful, creative and beautiful spaces in our city. On any given weekend, you can experience a festival, parade or shop for one-of- a-kind art, jewelry or locally-roasted coffee. One of my favorite things about Fondren is the way the community can make otherwise ordinary spaces — a street, a cement wall or a parking lot – come to life. This is an art form known as creative placemaking.

For decades, arts-based placemaking has changed the landscape of urban areas and has provided tremendous economic incentives to communities. Important components like landscaping, historical perspective, function and societal impact must be considered. Placemaking involves architects, artists, civic leaders, engineers, urban planners and people who feel strongly enough about their communities to commit to creating these public destinations that help the city thrive.

If you’ve are planning to attend Arts, Eats and Beats on May 4, or if you have ever seen one of Scott Allen’s murals around town, you’ve witnessed creative place making. There are so many opportunities for more of this throughout Jackson. Spaces that with a little TLC, effort and money, could be a beautiful attraction in our city.

This Thursday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Duling Hall, the tenth Fondren Covered concert will take place. This event occurs twice a year and benefits a local non- profit, ministry or community need. The band will cover music from Journey, Queen, Heart, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner and more. Proceeds benefit TeamJXN, an organization dedicated to driving positive momentum in our city, who plans to use the funds raised from the event to host a creative placemaking competition in August. More details can be found at

Prior to Thursday’s Fondren Covered concert, attend FuseForward, a networking event hosted by downtown-based technology company Fuse.Cloud and TeamJXN. To purchase tickets to Fondren Covered, visit

Laura Pickard Johns is the vice president of marketing at Fuse.Cloud and serves on the TeamJXN board of directors.