By Alexandra Clementi
Less than 24 hours from now, UrbanArt will be hosting a dedication ceremony for the newly completed mural at the Gaisman Community Center, located at 4221 Macon. The mural, to put it simply, is a sight to see. The large-scale painting is a colorful myriad of giant figures ranging in age and performing various activities.
Artist Jason Miller explained that this mural is so much more than simply paint on a wall—it represents a community endeavor, a testament to the people of the Gaisman Community, and a platform for civic awareness. Miller explains that the primary step in constructing this iconic mural began with familiarizing himself with the people and happenings within the Gaisman Community center. Miller first captured nearly 30,000 photographic images of the people who frequent the center and their various activities in order to provide a source for his conceptualization of the mural. He then used these images to translate his ideas into painted forms, and with the assistance of community artists, he created a piece that, as he explains, “externalizes the energy within [the community center] into a perpetual reminder of the vitality of Gaisman Community Center's role within the community that it serves.”
The subjects within the mural feature the real people who frequent and utilize the center on a daily, weekly, and annual basis. Miller explains that portraying the actual people onto the mural was necessary to “capture the essence of the life that occurs within this wonderful structure, which testifies to the noblest characteristics of our humanity.” The goal of the mural, as the artist explains, is to serve as a perpetual reminder of the role of the extrodinary individuals that make up the Gaisman community family inside the walls of the building. As Miller said, “just as a church is an empty frame without its parishioners and also as a home is where the heart is, so too is this true here at Gaisman. It's about the people.” The goal of the mural project also aims to bring a greater awareness from Memphis to the important life that happens every single day at the Gaisman Community Center.
Interested in the mural? Come out to the Gaisman Community Center tomorrow, October 24th, at 12 PM for the mural dedication ceremony. Artist Jason Miller and Director of UrbanArt, Siphne Sylve, will be speaking along with musical performances from the Gaisman Big Band, the Jim Mahannah Band. We hope to see you there!