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The Power in Providing Joyful Spaces: Coresa Hogan, Ebony Archie, & MEMFOLK

Between the Coronavirus, the protesting, our current political climate, and all the internet scrolling we’ve been doing, we need to protect our peace, and remember to take time to live in those merry moments. While launching a small-business during a pandemic comes with a long list of set backs, I can’t imagine a better time for Coresa Hogan and Ebony Archie to introduce MEMFOLK to Memphis.

“At its roots, we just want people to have a safe space for joy,” said Archie, Co-Founder of the new immersive pop-up experience opening at BOXLOT in the Edge District.

Archie may be a native Mississippian, and Hogan hails from Alabama, but this dynamic duo found themselves and their friendship within the local art scene. After traveling together for 2+ years, seeking out those special spaces that incite imagination and creativity, they decided it was time to create a space of their own—one that speaks to who they are and how they have been.

“When going to different immersive experiences, we noticed they never really resonated or reflected our narrative—whether that meant being from the South, or being black women, or just our black culture, which is so rich and honestly the standard layer for a lot of creativity we see today,” Archie said. “Yes, we want creativity and joy to be for everybody, but more than anything, we want joy and imagination to be something that people associate with blackness and Southern culture.”

An immersive experience is one that is defined as “an illusory environment that completely surrounds you such that you feel that you are inside it and part of it.” MEMFOLK is be kicking things off with a self-made FLOWERBOX installation, and they’ll be bringing different themes to the space while partnering with local artists who’ll assist in creating new concepts.

Photo: Coresa Hogan

“Even though, we aren’t the most experienced artists, we have so much heart and passion that we are just willing to figure it out as we go. We’re letting our imagination do its thing. Even more so at the core of our work is how we want people to feel. Mental health is so important to us, and bringing joy to folks is at the center of why we’re doing this in the first place.”

And I’m pretty sure we could all use a hearty helping of joy these days, because I doubt I’m the only one who’s been operating on the edge of melancholy since the beginning of March.

“With all the protesting going on, people are raging on, as they should be—but they are going to need some rest,” Archie said. “They’re going to need some restoration and rejuvenation. So, why not just come to take a break to be cute, take some pictures, be surrounded by flowers, ground yourself, and fill up your cup again?”

Plus, you get to do all of that and more without fear of getting sick. They are taking major precautions to make sure everyone can safely enjoy the experience. Anyone wanting to enter the space much purchase a ticket online for a specific time slot—and since it’s already a micro-retail space, there’ll be no more than 2-4 people inside.

“At its roots, we just want people to have a safe space for joy,” said Ebony Archie.

Photos: Ebony Archie

“Both I and Coresa will be wearing masks that match our outfits, and, you know, I never would have thought that I’d be excited to wear that kind of a matching set—but here we are,” Archie said.

They’re already thinking of ideas for the next concept, and going even further to dream about having a bigger space one day, but we’ll take what we can get for now! MEMFOLK opens to the public June 26th and has the same operating hours as BOXLOT, Thursday-Friday (4PM-8PM) Saturday (1PM-6PM) and Sunday (2PM-6PM).

Purchase tickets to experience FLOWERBOX here.

Learn more about MEMFOLK here, and follow their work on Facebook and Instagram.

Get to know Coresa and Ebony by following them on Instagram.

Stay up to date on what’s happening at BOXLOT on Facebook and Instagram.

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