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Our Town Founder, Dawn McGriff, has supported the creation, exploration and performance of art at Gorham's Bluff since the town's inception. Her commitment has manifested itself in two distinct ways:
  • the creation of a non profit organization (Gorham's Bluff Institute) which presents a wide range of programming such as the Alabama Ballet's Summer Residency, the Gerhart Chamber Musical Festival, the Storytelling Festival, Jazz on the Bluff, and the Summer Theater Festival.

  • the gathering together of a number of people to help shape Gorham's Bluff into the ideal venue for discovery, exploration and creativity.

The Gorham's Bluff team seeks to incorporate creativity into every aspect of the community (not simply as it relates directly to the arts).

To create an environment that celebrates and nourishes our thirst for discovery, exploration, and creativity, we are focusing our energies on two concepts: process and people. The emphasis on process means that no matter what we are doing---whether it is the way we build a tree house for the kids, the way we design tennis courts, or the way we fold napkins at the Lodge---the first question that we will ask ourselves is "How can we accomplish the task at hand in a more artful and imaginative way?" Our desire is to foster the creation of a community that naturally attracts people who can express their own creativity or enjoy the creativity of others. We want to create an ideal setting for people who enjoy asking why and how, and who use this intellectual curiosity to improve the world around them. In short, we want to fill our town canvas with a diverse, energetic population of interesting and interested individuals.

Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy

We have extensively researched existing small towns across North America in hopes of finding a role model. Our research ultimately led us to Chautauqua ( This 125-year-old community in upstate New York nourishes the mind, spirit and body during an intensive nine-week summer season. During a typical day at Chautauqua, you can attend a lecture, participate in a discussion with a noted author, learn to hand-tint photographs, go sailing, and depending on the day of the week, see a play, experience the Opera, or listen to the Symphony in an evening performance. Our hope for Gorham's Bluff is that we can capture the special atmosphere of Chautauqua, but enjoy it on a year-round basis.

The Tomlinson-Graham Group, a highly regarded arts and culture planning firm, is working with the Gorham’s Bluff Institute and the Town Founder to make the arts an integral part of daily life at Gorham’s Bluff.