Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's a "Burble Bup"? Why, It's Goverors Island's First Secret Art Hideout, Of Course -

What's a "Burble Bup"? Why, It's Goverors Island's First Secret Art Hideout, Of Course -

Cat Pena Grows Big Art

Well done, Cat Blackwell Pena for this green wall public art project overlooking Riverside Drive in Downtown Memphis! UrbanArt loves seeing other groups making public art happen all over town! Cat works with Memphis College of Art, but produced this commission as an independent artist for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. See Photos HERE.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Guillaume Alby Arrives in Memphis

Artist Guillaume Alby arrived in Memphis over the weekend to make a new mural on Broad Avenue, and has already hit the town to develop ideas!

We met with him and the contingent from Loeb Properties, who own the building he'll be painting for lunch today and got to know each other better.

UrbanArt staffers Siphne Sylve and Whitney Washington will be showing him around and assisting his progress.

Memphis voted a top US city for young artists!

YAYYY!!! Memphis is voted one of the top US cities for young artists (and ANY artist for that matter!)!!! See the article here on FLAVORWIRE.

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!

REMED Mural starts next week on Broad!

Many thanks to Loeb Properties and the Broad Avenue Business Association for their support of this project starting next week! UrbanArt primarily coordinates projects with local artists (over 85%), but as an independent non-profit organization is able to partner with any artist from around the world. This is a project privately funded by the owner of the building, Loeb Properties. More art for Memphis, yay!
See Guillaume Alby's art work here: REMED

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Go Grizz Mural Up at Union and Nov. 6th Street.

New mural up at 115 Union and S. November 6th Street in Downtown Memphis by UrbanArt mural maestro Siphne Sylve.

Go Grizz!

See pics HERE!

City Beautiful Hosts 'Trashion Show': Local Artists Sign Up Today!

What is a Trashion Show?

Trashion, a blending of the words 'trash' and 'fashion,' is a term for art, jewelry, fashion and objects for the home created from used, thrown-out, found and repurposed elements. The term was first coined in New Zealand in 2004.

'Curb Couture' is an opportunity for local professional and aspiring designers and artists to create fashion made from recycled materials, glass, garment bags, aluminum cans and more, and to show their designs on live runway models.

'Curb Couture' is also a party, silent auction and trashion show that will help raise funds for Memphis City Beautiful's Mini Grant Program. These grants will be used to support projects related to beautification and/or community greening.

Memphis City Beautiful

We strive to keep Memphis a beautiful, healthy and safe place to live through public education, programs and services. We work to engage individuals to take a greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For more information about Memphis City Beautiful programs or to see our volunteer opportunities, please visit us at

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Main Street
(in front of the Cannon Center)

Benefitting Friends of City Beautiful

For Our Designers

We invite creative minds from the fashion and artistic community to transform discarded materials into renewed pieces. By doing so, you will help Memphis City Beautiful educate the community about conservation and sustainability in a whole new way and publicize your talent at the same time.

Create Your Curb Couture

All designs must be constructed from at least 50% recycled materials.
Fabric, trims, embellishments, etc., from other sources may be incorporated in your designs and may include new or purchased goods as well as other recycled parts. All fashion pieces MUST be wearable and must be sized according to the included sizing chart.


Clothing: Men's and Women's

Accessories: Jewelry, Handbags, Belts, Hats

Application Deadline:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Please call (901) 522-1135
for an application

Designs Due:

Monday May 23, 2011

Deliver to:

Memphis City Beautiful
664 Adams Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105

Please call with any
questions 901-522-1135.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Creative Placemaking a Priority in Memphis

UrbanArt had a great meeting yesterday with the Creative Placemaking Tactical Unit convened by Mayor Wharton and CEO's for Cities' Carol Coletta. How amazing it is to have municipal leadership committed to developing the vibrancy of the public realm!

New Mural Going Up Today...

Pssst...there's a new mural being painted today by UrbanArt staffer Siphne Sylve at 115 Union and S. November 6th Street....Go say hello!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

'Family Trees' by Tim Upham installing at University Place

Tim Upham's 'Family Trees' is finishing up installation at University Place this week at Crump and I-240. Many thanks to local artist/master sculptor Yvonne Bobo for her assistance in getting it done!

 Leonard Pettus, local artist assistant Yvonne Bobo, and Lead Artist Tim Upham.

 UrbanArt staffer Whitney Washington acts as a measuring stick to give a sense of scale.

This is only the first of a grouping of several 'Family Trees' that will be visible from the road.

Central High School Mural by Josh Sarantitis Nears Completion

Josh Sarantitis is finishing up his mural this week at Central High School overlooking Crump Stadium. A dedication ceremony will follow before school lets out for summer!

Local artists like Kristi Duckworth (genius, btw!) have been flocking to work with Josh and learn from his extensive experience with special materials like 'polytab' and mosaic layout software. We're so happy Josh's time in Memphis led to such a great educational opportunity for local artists. This is what UrbanArt hopes to do with all of its projects, extend the base of expertise within our local cultural class in an effort to make Memphis a hotbed of public art awesomeness!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why I Am an Art Worker

This week UrbanArt's Executive Director, John Weeden, spoke the Gallery Management students at Rhodes College, a class he himself took some 15 years earlier.

Here is the video, enjoy!