MEMPHIS, TN (Wednesday, May 7, 21014) – On Saturday, May 3, students from the Barbara K. Lipman Early Childhood School and Research Institute at the University of Memphis painted the latest art installation at Overton Square. Their piece, “Memphis Taking Shape,” now hangs from the east facing side of the City’s newly built garage located at 2100 Monroe. The mural, a three-paneled painting on vinyl, was inspired by several popular Memphis attractions.
Students ages 2-5 were posed the question: “What makes you think ‘Memphis’?” The children answered, “Beale Street, the Green Line, music, the Tigers, the Grizzlies, Overton Park, the Zoo, the River, my house, trees…” With the guidance of their art teacher Rachel Crown, those musings became the paintings now on display in Overton Square.
"As an artist and art teacher, I was thrilled to see that the finished mural held the integrity of the ‘Memphis Taking Shape’ concept created by the students,” said Crown. “The process was the most important part of this adventure—the students expressing their love for our city and desire to do something for the community, making art in a new space and coming together as a school. I believe this event is something we will all cherish forever, and I’m so grateful to everyone involved."
The project was born from a casual conversation between Crown and Loeb Properties’ Community Relations Director Elizabeth Berglund in the fall of 2013. “Rachel approached me about having her students work on something that could be displayed publicly, and she was so passionate that I had to explore the idea further with her,” said Berglund. “We worked together to pinpoint a location, and I was blown away when Rachel presented the students’ concept for the space. It was intentional, well-planned and an excellent complement to our overall vision for Overton Square – very impressive for students so young. We couldn’t be happier with the partnership.”
Loeb Properties wasn’t the only excited partner in making the dream of the U of M Lipman School’s public art installation into a reality. SignWorks of Memphis also sponsored the event by donating the vinyl banners. “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of a project that celebrates community, diversity, artistic expression and most of all, the educators and children of Memphis,” said Jonathan Christian of SignWorks. “We are proud to call Midtown Memphis and excited to sponsor an event promoting the best of Memphis.”
Sandra Brown Turner, Director of the University of Memphis Lipman School, beamed about the work of her students and faculty. “I looked around and saw the people who were engaged in the project. It struck me that every continent on this planet was represented! Every race, size, age, orientation and belief system was present to work on building community. It was a special moment, as 'We will work on building true community' is the vision statement for our school. In my 43 year career in early childhood education, it was certainly one of the highlights.”
“Memphis Taking Shape” will be on display in Overton Square through mid-August.