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MAM Center: A Culture Incubator For Nashville

Entrepreneur MJ Batson recently unveiled development plans for the MAM Center (Make A Mark) on Buchanan Street. She's got a big goal: to be a multidisciplinary culture incubator in an economically challenged Nashville neighborhood—and so be a part of the efforts to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. We chatted with MJ about the project.


Bisnow: Why is now a good time to develop the MAM Center?

MJ: Because the future is now. A month or so ago, I was sitting in the Mayor's Real Talk forum at the Music City Center and an elderly man at my discussion table said, "I'm still useful. I would like to be a mentor or something for the youth and not just age in place." I thought he deserves a space to age with grace. Little did he know, I was working on providing a such a space, the MAM, but for the elderly, middle-aged and youth.

Bisnow: Why is Buchanan Street a good place for it?

MJ: The North Nashville neighborhood is in a state of transition, just as the city as a whole is in a state of flux. What happens next has the ability to define what the city looks like for years to come. Putting a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary culture incubator in the middle of an economically challenged neighborhood promotes economic growth by creating jobs and also promoting social responsibility. MAM won't be the be-all and end-all of the area, but it will be committed to doing as much as it can to be on the right side of progress.


Bisnow: What's your background that led you to the decision to develop the MAM Center?

MJ: As a native Nashvillian, and Brown University alum, I've witnessed the changes here over the past few years. This is a city that helped build me and contributed to the woman that I am today. As a social entrepreneur, I dare. I dare to enact change. I dare to care. I dare to impact. And I dare all of us to believe in the power of the collective. The Make A Mark Center is a culture incubator looking to support the ongoing effort to increase the quality of life for all. 

We dare to address three of the city's top concerns—quality of life through thriving communities, affordability and investment in sustainability through arts, culture and education—to drive the economy by being an impactful part of the Nashville ecosystem.