MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) - One of the first things Anasa Troutman will tell you is that she's in love with Clayborn Temple.
As the new and first Executive Director of the historic church that's a great quality.
Troutman moved to Memphis 2 years ago to consult on the restoration project of the downtown church, pivotal to the Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968.
"When I first visited Memphis I knew I'd be back, but I never imagined it would be as executive director of Clayborn Temple," said Troutman.
Experience lending strategic and creative support in various cultural projects are what lead Troutman into the position.
Grammy Award winner India.Arie and Troutman due to her experience in the recording industry as a founder of Groovement/EarthSeed Music recording label during her time as a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Troutman is passionate about the vision for Clayborn Temple and says the controversies surrounding the National Treasure are all part of the fabric that makes it so valuable to the Memphis community.
We toured the santuary of the church with Troutman, which has hosted weddings, parties and the International Blues Challenge since reopening to the public in the last couple of years.
Besides a steel beam supporting the once sagging roof, not much has been done to restore Clayborn Temple.
Troutman has grown found of trees growing through the bricks in the library off the pulpit and marvels at the original electric pipe organ installed in the church nearly 150 years ago.
"This is the most important time to see this place, even in it's decayed form because it will never look this way again." said Troutman. "This is the closest it will ever be to it's original self when sanitation workers sat here in 1968."
Clayborn Temple will close for a multi-million dollar interior and exterior renovation next spring.
Troutman says when it reopens it will be a place for the community to gather and add to the rich culture of the city.
Under Troutman's direction the Clayborn Temple is preparing for the holiday season and ways to get people into the church and involved in the restoration process.
She's got plans of a big community choir filling the balcony of the sanctuary during a Christmas party where Memphis can come and reclaim the their Temple.