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Birmingham Creatives for Impact

Birmingham Creatives for Impact

March 2024

Application Packet



1. Appendix A: Letter of Interest

2. Appendix B: Bio

3. Appendix C: CV or Resume

4. Website

5. Appendix D: 10 Images of past work

6. Appendix E: Proposal Details

7. Appendix F: Preliminary budget proposal based on proposed project

8. Contact information:

Lillis Taylor

2860 Norwood Blvd Birmingham, AL 35234

(206) 200-3451

9. Appendix G: Letter of Support from Red Mountain Makers

Appendix A: Letter of Interest


Artist Lillis Taylor proposes a community art project that will transform the way we view trash and garbage. Taylor will engage participants in garbage collection to gather elements to be used in the creation of fabric murals. The resulting murals will be portable and capable of display throughout the city. Though it is meant to occur in stages, this project can exist as a one-off or can be replicated around Birmingham depending on interest and available funds. Taylor proposes enlisting the services of Birmingham’s department of sanitation to educate participants in effective and sustainable waste management for the home and beyond. Stage 1 will include a field day of collecting and sorting trash (disposing of soiled and unusable items), along with engagement from department of sanitation representatives. Each participant will receive a trash-picking tool. Stage 2 will include manipulation of found objects (bottles, caps, cans, garments, paper products, etc) that will be placed on mural-sized, pre-treated fabric to create large scale cyanotypes (blue and white prints that are made when the treated fabric is exposed to sunlight). During stage 2, trash manipulation will take place with guidance from representatives of Red Mountain Makers (i.e. cutting of metal cans, stripping plastic bottles, drilling holes, etc). Stage 3 will focus on manipulating the resulting cyanotype mural with hand-sewing, embroidery, applique, and other embellishment techniques. Participants will participate in all three stages of the project, allowing for reflection and conversation during the final convening. Each participant will receive a trash picker, a journal, and a sewing kit. The journal will include writing prompts and reflection questions, as well as a place to record future picking expeditions. The intention of this project is to gather citizens of Birmingham together to facilitate a project that transforms garbage into visually stunning and thought-provoking works of art while also transforming the individual’s relationship to the trash they see in their community. It is the artist’s hope that each participant will feel empowered to take action against litter, but through a new-found artistic lens. Furthermore, the hope is that the murals will act as catalysts for those who witness them to think differently about litter, use, reuse, materiality, and how beautiful things can be made from trash.

Appendix B: Bio


Lillis Taylor is a Birmingham, AL native who left her hometown in 1998 to pursue a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. After graduation, Taylor worked for a book and toy development company that manufactured all of its products in China. A trip to Hong Kong and China to address safety testing issues left Taylor feeling the need to focus on US-China labor relations and so Taylor returned to the UW for a masters in China Studies. Before grad school Taylor lived in Wuhan, China for a year, teaching English and learning more about the country she planned to study. Upon completing her masters, Taylor realized that her time was better spent focusing on community work, social entrepreneurship, and artistic pursuits. Before returning home to Birmingham, Taylor joined her husband in Italy, doing design work for the international theater company he was a member of. Taylor attributes her appreciation for community to her travels. She gained great perspective, patience, and the ability to listen from spending time amongst groups where she was the outsider. Since returning to Birmingham in 2010, Lillis Taylor has committed herself to expanding access to the arts for Birmingham citizens. Taylor has built a network of community partners that reach all parts of the city. In 2014, Taylor co-founded Bib & Tucker Sew-Op with Woodlawn resident, “Ms. Annie” Bryant. The two originally met in 2010 and started swapping sewing skills and stories at Inglenook Library once a week. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op continues to cultivate skills for those who sew or want to sew and Taylor is proud of her legacy with the organization. In 2023, Taylor created a nonprofit for The March Quilts, an annual community art project that sheds light on different themes of civil or human rights. The inaugural theme of The March Quilts was the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches. During that community project, facilitators led by Taylor worked with residents of Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, collecting 461 quilt blocks. Facilitators then stitched the blocks together and Taylor completed 3 community quilts, while also facilitating a special members’ quilt with blocks that artistically addressed the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches. In 2014, Taylor began working with UAB‘s Institute for Arts in Medicine (AIM) as a teaching artist, splitting her time between AIM and Bib & Tucker Sew-Op. During the 6 years she spent with AIM, Taylor taught hundreds of patients, family caregivers, and medical staff to sew and embroider. Taylor especially enjoyed bringing this art form to expecting mothers in the high-risk obstetrics unit and to family members of babies in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UAB Women and Infants Center (WIC). While with AIM, Taylor facilitated a project to upcycle donated scrubs into sewn fabric units called “hexies” that she then sewed together into two wall hangings for WIC. Again, hundreds of patients, family caregivers, and medical staff participated in this months-long community art project and the wall-hangings are still on display in the lobby of WIC, nine years later. At this stage of her career, Taylor is focusing on her work in fiber arts and textile crafts but a core component of Taylor’s career has been community engagement and that will always be at the center of art-making for her. 

Appendix C: Resumé

Appendix D: Images of Past Work



Studio Wall and entrance to 2024 solo exhibition in UAB’s Department of Art and Art History gallery, Art Lab. Title of exhibition was, I’d really rather sew than eat, or a lot of other things! Title taken from a letter artist’s maternal grandmother wrote to her Aunt Edna (artist’s great-great aunt)



Cast Your Net, It Shall Bring Tales

2023, 67" x 87"

This piece was constructed improvisationally from the scraps of other sewing projects. The top was embroidered before being hand-quilted



Detail of Cast Your Net, It Shall Bring Tales

2023, 67" x 87"



Top, Christophe’s Bouquet

2015, 18” x 22.5”

Middle, Home is Where the Heart Is

2022, 13” x 13”

Bottom, Coloricombo Stitched Sampler

2021, 22” x 22”

Three examples of hand-embroidery and fabric manipulation



Left, Stitched Calendar

2023, 17” x 22”

Right, Dia de los Muertos Stitchings (set of 4)

2015, 6” and 4”



Image from solo exhibition at UAB’s Art Lab Gallery

Various community and solo fiber arts projects, paintings, and soft sculptures



Babukeshi Tapestry

2021, 35” x 55”

Digitally-printed cotton, embroidery floss, assembled from 6 watercolors on paper, manipulated in Photoshop; hand embroidery



The March Quilts: Year 1, Members’ Quilt

2015, 53” x 65.5”

Blocks made by members of Bib & Tucker Sew-Op celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches. Conceived, assembled, and quilted by Lillis Taylor. The small blocks evoke stained glass windows as a nod to the churches that were instrumental to the Civil Rights Movement. These fabrics were also used in the three community quilts made during the first year of The March Quilts and tie the Members’ Quilt to the rest of the project.



Top, Mother and Child and bottom, Nurse and Patient

2015, 4 ft x 3 ft each

Wall-hangings for UAB’s Women and Infant Center lobby, designed and facilitated by Lillis Taylor, this project transformed donated scrubs into fabric hexagons made by patients, family caregivers, and medical staff. Taylor then sewed the hexagons together and added the black piping to create the imagery of a mother with her child and a nurse with her patient.

Appendix D: Work Samples

Appendix E: Detailed Proposal



  • Proposal is accepted

Month 1

  • Communicate with Dept of Sanitation to coordinate Stage 1 event - FIELD DAY trash collection

    • Determine site for FIELD DAY based on amount of litter

    • Determine protocol for FIELD DAY

  • Set date for all three stages, especially Stage 1 event - FIELD DAY

  • Identify facilitators for all three stages, especially Stage 1 event - FIELD DAY

  • Purchase and gather supplies for FIELD DAY

    • Purchase trash pickers, trash bags

    • Gather safety vests, bins and buckets, safety gloves (purchase if not available for rent)

  • Market event via social media channels, television, radio (requesting support from the city for marketing of event)

  • Prep sign-up forms to identify 30 participants who will attend all three stages of project

  • Confirm Stage 2 location (first choice CITY WALK) and Stage 3 location (first choice Bham Public Library)

  • Create and print out signage and other print materials (journals) needed

Month 2

  • Facilitate Stage 1 event - FIELD DAY

    • Give each participant a trash picker to keep and a journal and encourage reflection in journal and at least one self-guided litter collection outing

    • Debrief after FIELD DAY and identify issues to prepare for prior to Stage 2 event - ART DAY

  • Purchase and prep supplies for ART DAY: cyanotype mural pre-treated material, transparencies, sharpies

  • Planning meeting with members of Red Mtn Makers to determine protocol for ART DAY

  • Create and print out signage and other print materials needed

  • Communicate with participants leading up to ART DAY

Month 3

  • Contingency plan for bad weather on ART DAY (need - at least - overcast sky with high amount of light present for cyanotype to work)

  • Facilitate Stage 2 event - ART DAY

    • Participants will manipulate trash collected during FIELD DAY and will place on the cyanotype mural

    • Participants will be encouraged to share thoughts from their journals on transparencies using sharpies in order to print writing on the mural as well

  • Purchase and prep supplies for STITCHING DAY: needles, embroidery floss, scissors, hoops, scrap fabric

  • Create and print out signage and other print materials needed

  • Communicate with participants leading up to STITCHING DAY

Month 4

  • Facilitate Stage 3 event - STITCHING DAY

  • Finish mural so that it is ready to install (a 5th month might be needed for completing the mural)


Additional opportunity: plan and implement an unveiling day for the completed mural and ask participants to share their experiences from working with the project on this day.


One goal of this project is to engage city infrastructure so as to introduce city initiatives and opportunities to participants at large. To that end, I hope to work with employees from the department of sanitation. I have already made contact with Sade McClaney-Hammond, the project manager for Keep Birmingham Beautiful. She has informed me that her office supports “litter ending, recycling improvements, and beautification projects” through their tool-loaner program, which includes bags, gloves, and trash pickers. I didn’t know these were available and learned something new just in preparing this proposal. If the project is replicated in other neighborhoods, Keep Birmingham Beautiful will be an excellent partner to help reduce costs by providing trash pickers (though in the initial phase of the project, it is important to me that participants get to keep their pickers for use in their own communities).


Additionally, Red Mtn Makers is an incredible resource located just west of downtown and they are interested in supporting the project through additional tool loans and sewing support. Please see their letter of support included at the end of this proposal packet.


Defense of proposal

I have brought community art projects to life since returning to my native Birmingham, AL in 2010. Committed to community building as well as artistic excellence, I strive to expand opportunities for self-expression and creativity for all. My professional background underscores my belief that creativity is a universal characteristic of being human and that community art projects should work to expand rather than limit access to an individual’s sense of personal artistic ability. I taught sewing workshops through ArtPlay from 2010 to 2012, beginning my work with community almost as soon as I moved home. From 2012 to 2014, I created art workshops and managed programming for Desert Island Supply Co. In 2014, I co-founded Bib & Tucker Sew-Op, helping to bring forth annual arts projects dedicated to cultivating sewing skills for all. From 2014 to 2020, I worked as an artist in residence for UAB’s Arts in Medicine program, where I taught hundreds of patients, family caregivers, and medical staff how to sew during. I have a decade-long track record of facilitating complex community art projects in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. In 2024, I re-centered my career on my own artistic practice, beginning the year with a solo exhibition of work at UAB’s Department of Art and Art History gallery, Art Lab. Yet, I am drawn to teaching and discourse and during the exhibition, I offered several gallery sessions where I engaged students in discussions about practice and craft.


This proposal suits the CoB DCD objectives of enhancing the city’s image and sense of place and improving the community’s exposure to arts. If the initial project is chosen and is successful, there is the option to replicate it throughout the city so that various neighborhoods could rally around litter collection and the transformational power of art to shift perspectives and expand awareness and vision.


This project is personal. I currently contend with waste from the creations of my own fiber works of art and I am committed to challengeing wasteful practices in the fabric and fashion industries. On many occasions, I have joined a family member or a friend to clean up a section of neighborhood, feeling incredible pride when a littered area is made clean again. While this project intends to give citizens active tools for combatting litter in their own neighborhoods, I also hope that it creates a lasting and beautiful work of art in the form of a fabric mural: a testament to the need for new perspectives and a belief that art can transform hearts and minds. Individual participants will walk away with a shared art-making experience, layered in meaning. They will also have new and acquired sewing and mending skills. Viewers, too, will have the opportunity to reflect on their own relationship to litter when they view the finished mural.

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Budget Narrative:

The funds provided for above would allow 30 participants to each receive 9 hours of programming (valued at $287 per participant or approximately $32 per programming hour). Participants would also each receive a sewing kit, trash picker, and journal. The city would receive one 5 ft x 7 ft, gallery-ready fabric mural as a finished work of art. One artist would be compensated for planning, scheduling, implementing, and completing the work of art. 3 additional artists would be compensated for 12 hours of facilitation time and Red Mountain Makers, a local nonprofit, would receive a participation fee. Depending on the city’s interest, there are many factors that can be reworked to reduce costs if the project takes place on a larger scale. Trash pickers are available for temporary use from the city’s Keep Birmingham Beautiful program. The supplies needed to produce the finished murals can be procurred for less than $100 per mural. Head artist, Lillis Taylor, could enlist volunteers to embroider and complete additional murals or neighborhoods could complete this task with minimal instruction from Taylor.

Appendix G: Red Mountain Maker Letter of Support

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