Friday, April 22, 2011

The Week in Review 18-22 April 2011

Hello Everyone, John here. 

Whew! What a whirlwind of a week!

Briefly, even though this is a holiday, I'm hard at it, alone in the office preparing for a meeting on Good Friday with members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Mayor's office to discuss an exciting mural campaign set to launch in May. I can't discuss the details of this privately funded project, but I can tell how excited I am to be a part of it!

Monday was the monthly gathering of Executive Directors roundtable at the Alliance for Non-Profit Excellence, a vital, innovative and thought provoking group of professionals committed to serving the missions of their respective organizations and moving Memphis forward, conducted by the always excellent Nancy McGhee and Tim Bolding. To have that group as a sounding board and resource for learning best practices is a true godsend of a professional development activity. Thank you ANPE for all you do, I can't wait for your conference on Wednesday!

Later that afternoon I was fortunate to be invited to a meeting with the Mayor and the director of CEO's for Cities, Carol Coletta, in the Mayor's office with about a dozen other local professionals also dedicated to the cause of increasing the vibrancy of the public realm. I may have been the chatty cathy of the group, because I got a little giddy at being able to sit next to the Mayor of our town and talk about art! How great that he lead the discussion and contributed such great ideas to the mix for the purpose of developing a grant proposal to the NEA for developing the cultural vibrancy of our community. Thank you, Mayor, for the opportunity to inform the discussion about the crucial role of public art in making Memphis a city of choice!

Tuesday brought an interesting conversation with a local developer interested in the possibility of a public art makeover for one its newly acquired commercial shopping centers in east Shelby County.

Wednesday I met with the Aerotropolis working group headed by Dr. Raines of the University of Memphis and Jim Covington from the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce. With the expert insights of the assembled members including landscape architect Ritchie Smith and the dynamic Julie Ellis we got some great feedback for developing a project along a major entry route into the city from the airport. What an amazing and committed group!

Later that day we did a walk through of the Cook Convention Center to identify possible areas for public art and design enhancement of the facilities with a deputation from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wow, that place could use some help!

Thursday we held an advocacy awareness session for the first group of local artists chosen to participate in the city's new Mural Program, and gave them the good news that we should be able to give them confirmed site options by the same time next week!

Later that day I presented a talk on public art applications for increasing the vibrancy of the public realm to a group of urban design professionals to the Urban Design 101 class of the Memphis Regional Design Center headed by the inimitable Chooch Pickard. I had a great time talking about all the possibilities available in Memphis, especially in regards to an idea I have for 'tax parcel sculpture parks' and underpass improvements.

Now, our staffer Siphne Sylve and I are about to discuss final preparations for the mural to be painted on the warehouse across the street from our office beginning next week by Guillaume Alby!

Wow, what an action packed week...and that's not even counting all our Project Managers have been working on to move our caseload of 54 individual public art projects closer to completion across the city for all the various partners we currently serve!

So it goes in a typical week of a public art worker in Memphis!

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