Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blight Out Summer Party: A Party With a Purpose

The Memphis UrbanArt Commission recently partnered with Advance Memphis and Innovate Memphis (also known as the Innovation Delivery Team) for a Blight Out Summer Party to celebrate recent efforts to address blight (neglected or rundown areas) in the Vance Avenue corridor in Memphis, Tenn.

Community residents and potential project donors were on hand for the celebration, which included music, face painting, arts and crafts and the unveiling of three artist proposals for addressing blight in the area. The proposals resulted from neighborhood meetings and design charrettes (intense design or planning activities) to identify the needs and desires of the community, as well as ways to transform or activate blighted areas through public art.

“We met with three age groups—school-age children, working adults and retired senior citizens,” said Kate Lareau, director of communications for Advance Memphis. “With each, we discussed how public art can work in a neighborhood and the different forms that it can take.”

During the party, attendees had the opportunity to vote on three proposals, which also will be posted on Advance Memphis’ website for viewing. Voting will continue throughout the week. Advance Memphis also plans to share the proposals with the Senior Living Center at Cleaborn Pointe to involve those residents in the selection process.

“By inviting them to give input about art and location, participants begin to feel a sense of ownership and see the potential for art to affect their space,” said Lareau.

Once the winning proposal is selected, UAC will work with the artist to develop and install the project. UAC also will share the process with interested residents and community organizations throughout Memphis, as well as develop a toolkit as a best-practice model that other local and national communities can use to engage their communities and effectively combat blight in their neighborhoods.

“People are learning that they can change what they see around them—that it's not a mystical process, but something they can make happen,” said Lareau.

For more information, please contact Allison Hennie at or visit

No comments: