Train video, outdoor mural funded in 2007 by Alabama Power Foundation grant

NEW YORK – A $20,000 grant from the Alabama Power Foundation is helping fund a program at the Coleman Center for Arts and Culture to attract artists to work in York and throughout Sumter County in an effort to bolster the community.

The Public Artworks Program provides residencies for artists to involve the community in projects to foster social change, address civic needs and solve problems. The program conducts about six projects a year.

“The Alabama Power Foundation has been one of the key contributors to the Public Artworks Program,” said Coleman Center executive director Shana Berger. “Our projects have really started to garner some national attention, and the Alabama Power Foundation plays a critical role in the success of this program.”

Next year, the program will feature Auburn University professor Suzanne Hagood, who will interview and video senior citizens about their memories of trains in York. The younger generation will discuss their perceptions of trains, with the two combined for a video presentation to be shown on the side of a building in York.

“Suzanne hopes to start a dialogue between these two generations of what York was like through the history of trains,” Berger said.

The Public Artworks Program has also lined up Tierney Malone, a Mobile native living in Houston, Texas, who will paint an outdoor mural based on his childhood memories of the Port City, and from his research of Sumter County history.

“The Alabama Power Foundation believes the Public Artworks Program can make a big difference in bringing the people of York and Sumter County together,” said Danny Cooper, manager of Alabama Power’s York business office. “That’s the foundation’s purpose – to make life better in our communities.”

Last year, the Public Artworks Program featured 12 Sumter County students who documented their lives on murals printed on local billboards.

“We hoped it would provide a chance to share the viewpoints and outlooks of our youth, to give them a real voice in the community and to instill pride in them working together,” Berger said.

The Coleman Center was founded in 1985 with the notion that exposure to contemporary and traditional arts encourages open dialogue, provokes sensitivity about the world and inspires hope in society. The center accomplishes these goals through workshops, exhibitions, festivals and events in partnership with the city of York, Sumter County Public Schools, the University of West Alabama and other local institutions.

More information about the Coleman Center is available at

The Alabama Power Foundation works to improve the quality of life of Alabamians and strengthen the communities in which they live. Since 1990, the foundation has granted more than $90 million to worthy projects across Alabama. Details about the foundation are available at

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO), provides reliable, affordable electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across the state. The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2006. Learn more about Alabama Power at