On Friday, June 1st, it's the unveiling of Unveil Downtown, a project that places the works of 20 artists in 20 nontraditional spaces along the downtown core for a 20-day exhibit.
But, you can get an early peek via the online auction that opens today at unveildowntown.com.
Unveil Downtown, inspired by an art walk in Thomasville, Georgia, is a fund-raiser for the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA). Proceeds from the online auction of 20 works from participating artists goes to the organization. "We rely on the Downtown Neighborhood Association quite a lot for advocacy, so we wanted to support them," says Leslie Gower of the Downtown Memphis Commission, the host of the event.
Artists selected for Unveil Downtown were culled from 150 entries and chosen by a jury consisting of faculty from the Memphis College Art and the University of Memphis as well as residents of downtown.
The artists and venues are:
Alexander Paulus, Local Gastropub
Antzee Magruder, Bangkok Alley
April Ford Beasley, City Market
Carl Moore, Dream Berry
Carly Dahl, Revive Boutique
Daniel Tacker, Bluefin
David Lynch, Cockadoos
Debbie Pacheco, eighty3
Denise Rose, Life Is Good
Fidencio Martinez, Kooky Canuck
Jimpsie Ayres, Thai Bistro
Kerry Peeples, Felicia Suzanne's
Louise Palazola, Shelton Clothiers
Rebecca Coleman, Silly Goose Lounge
Rebekah Laurenzi, Art on a Hot Tin Roof
DJ Ron Olson, Automatic Slim's
Shawn Mathews, Blind Bear
Terry Kenney, The Brass Door
Wally Dyke, APG Office Furnishings
Elisha Gold, Lansky 126
Gower says there was some matchmaking between artist and business, chiefly based on logistics. A bar with a raucous weekend crowd, for example, might not be the best place for a piece of sculpture.
Friday's launch party, from 5 to 7 p.m. will be at Felicia Suzanne's. Guests can meet the artists and view the auction items. Immediately following the launch are the opening receptions for all 20 artists at all 20 venues. There will be another round of opening receptions on Saturday, June 2nd, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Unveil Downtown, Gower says, is another way the commission is adding artistic vibrancy to downtown. She notes that artists get to showcase their work (and they get 100 percent of the proceeds from the exhibit sales); that the DNA gets funds and exposure; and the business showing the exhibits get the food traffic.
"It's a triple win," she says.
The online auction is being held through June 20th. Winners announced June 21st.
A solo exhibition of art by Alexander Paulus will open tomorrow during the S. Main Art District's monthly Trolley Night from 6-9 p.m. at the Leadership Memphis Art Gallery on 363 S. Main. The show will be on display through the month of June. Michel Allen of Leadership Memphis approached Paulus to display his work in the new space beside the organization's offices.
"I'm going to have a wide range of things. They will all be minimal in imagery and color, but conceptually heavy," says Paulus.
Paulus put together an incredible show earlier this year for the Broad Avenue Spring Art Walk in April titled “Sorry,” featuring his own work along with art by Adam Farmer, Leanna Hicks, Johnathan Robert Payne, Joseph Kendrick, St. Francis Elevator Ride, and the collaboration of Hamlett Dobbins and Tad Wright. The successful one-night exhibition began with the loose idea to create pieces that dealt with space, open to interpretation by each individual artist.
“My past work was all about gods, religion, and science. From there I started thinking about outer space, and how older civilizations believed their gods came from the heavens and stars. I'm really interested in creation and evolution and the intertwining of the two in the formation of myth and religion. I also like sci-fi stuff too, so robots and laser guns made their way into the work as well,” says Paulus.
"Most of the pieces for tomorrow night's show still address the concept of "space" but some are just weird things that happen to pop up in my brain."
Jeni Stallings has been announced as the Fine Arts Poster Artist for this year's RiverArtsFest. A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Stallings received her BFA in painting from the Memphis College of Art as valedictorian in 1996 and works as a practicing artist in Atlanta, Georgia. Her art has been shown at New York University, Asheville, Atlanta, Boston, Santa Fe, and of course, Memphis, and is included in the collection of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, where Stallings interned during her junior year at MCA.
She is represented in Memphis by L Ross Gallery, which will host the poster unveiling this coming Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Signed and numbered RiverArtsFest 2012 Fine Arts Posters will be available for purchase.
Visual art has been the hallmark of the festival's defining image each year since its inception, derived from the original work of an artist with close ties to the Memphis arts community. Previous poster designers include such celebrated locals as Dolph Smith, John Robinette, and George Hunt.
The Brooks has partnered with Graceland to host an international art contest in honor of the 35th anniversary of Presley’s death, accepting original works in any media in response to the classic song, “If I Can Dream.”
The song was made famous by Elvis as the finale of his '68 comeback special, written by Walter Earl Brown with quotations taken directly from Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King's assassination had occurred right here in Elvis' beloved hometown just two months prior to recording the song, and the profound effect the event had on the artist could be felt in his powerful, gospel-like performance.
An exhibition of the inspirational works will be held from July 21 to September 16, with the judges awarding a first, second, and third place prize in the categories of professional, non-professional, and youth. The remaining submissions will also be exhibited via PowerPoint, and visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite through the end of Elvis Week in August.
"As long as a man has the strength to dream, he can redeem his soul and fly." Submit your work HERE by June 16th!