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NIF Grantee Spotlight: ACH Clear Pathways Arts Center

April 2020

ACH Clear Pathways is renovating the Kaufmann Center to create a permanent arts hub in the Hill District, with financing assistance from the Neighborhood Initiatives Fund.

Project name:

ACH Clear Pathways Arts Center


ACH Clear Pathways

Award amount:


“ACH Clear Pathways acquisition of the Kaufmann Center and Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium, allows us to continue and broaden our mission, ‘to nurture creativity through the visual and performing arts by providing an opportunity to youth and family within the arts.’ This expansion will not only create a safe haven for youth, but will provide opportunities for young adults and the community at large.” - Tyian Battle, Founder & Executive Director

About ACH Clear Pathways

Tyian Battle founded ACH Clear Pathways out of her own heartbreak. In 2009, Tyian lost her son, Amon C. Harris, who passed away at age seven due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

Amon loved the arts, and Tyian wanted to honor Amon’s memory by providing access to the arts and a platform for youth and families to learn how to manage and express their emotions in a healthy way.

Amon’s legacy lives on through Tyian’s passion and the work of ACH Clear Pathways students.

About the Project

The auditorium at the Kaufmann Center opened in 1928 and initially provided social services and artistic programs. In more recent years, the Kaufmann Center, currently owned by the Hill House Association, has served as a hub for arts programming in the Hill District. With the dissolution of Hill House Association, ACH Clear Pathways has purchased and will be renovating the building to create a permanent arts hub in the community and expand its programming to community members.

Thanks to Tyian Battle for giving us an update on the project:

How did you hear about the NIF program?

ACH Clear Pathways was on the URA’s email list and received notification that the RFP had been announced.

Sign up for the monthly URA newsletter here.

How will the NIF grant be used towards in your project?

This NIF grant will assist in the design phase including: programming and schematic design; design development; architectural drawings; and bidding and construction admin.

How will this project support your community once it’s complete?

This project is aligned with the Greater Hill District Master Plan. It helps to fulfill the master plan goals and program initiatives of youth arts education, youth safe haven, and economic empowerment.

Initial design plans for the Arts Center (2,500 sq. ft. addition designed for artist programming space) include a composition-writing digital media center, multipurpose cafeteria, ensemble suite, recording studio, art studio and administrative space. These spaces will enable the Arts Center to become a hub of activity that offers the community the opportunity to learn, grow and achieve its full potential through the arts.

In addition to serving youth, ACH Clear Pathways envisions the Arts Center as a community arts hub where youth and their families, seniors, as well as individuals with disabilities, can participate, and community partnerships are fostered.

Current participants in ACH Clear Pathways programs will soon have access to a writing composition center. It will be a quiet place to do their homework, read and engage in creative writing.

One area of significant need is the addition of a cafeteria to provide a hot meal and a community fellowship space for every child who comes to the center.

The Kaufman Center and Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium will be utilized for music and performing arts programming, as well as a gallery to display artwork. The flexible nature of the theater will allow for a variety of productions and experiences.

When can we look forward to the completed project?

January 2021

Anything else you want to add?

It has been a pleasure working with the URA staff - Shantalaya Mathews on the NIF Grant; Anita Stec on the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program administration; and Diamonte Walker with community support.


* The URA is now taking applications for the Neighborhood Initiatives Fund Program Round 2.

New this round, up to 25% of total grant funds may be used for operations or administrative costs for those organizations that have faced hardships due to COVID-19. Additionally, priority will be given to projects that respond to the COVID-19 crisis, address equity and maximize public benefit.

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