All are invited to the first public planning meeting for the Connections Macon Arts and Culture Festival. The meeting will be held at the Rosa Jackson Community Center (1211 Maynard St) on December 11 at 7 PM. At this meeting, a class of Mercer Service Scholars will present their findings and recommendations for this festival based on extensive interviews with residents, groups, and stakeholders in East Macon and members of the community will have an opportunity to share ideas for the festival. Connections Macon is a free arts and culture festival to be held on April 21, 2018 at the new Mill Hill Auditorium in East Macon. The first Connections festival was held in April 2016 at the Terminal Station as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations for that building. At that festival were 35 artists and arts and community groups, as well as 6 arts activities and performances all day from various community groups. Approximately 500 people attended that event. This version of the festival aims to nearly double the number of artists and groups presenting, as well as significantly expand the number of activities and food vendors. Performances will take place all day in the newly restored auditorium, as will an art show hosted by [&] ampersand arts and a special curated show by a featured professional artist. This festival, partially funded by a seed grant from the Downtown Challenge, aims to serve 2,000 people. The purpose of this planning meeting is to solicit ideas for this free festival, and all are welcome to come and share ideas with the Connections board for activities, performances, events, displays, vendors, etc. There will also be an opportunity for individuals and/or groups to volunteer or participate in the festival. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to all.