The Urban Art Commission is celebrating 25 years of creating, curating, and building Memphis’ public art collection. (Art: Jamond Bullock)

Urban Art Commission Commemorates 25 Years of Community & Creativity

What an exciting time for the Urban Art Commission to attract new talent, showcase some of the work they’ve been up to, and enjoy the community they work to beautify! Known for uplitfting local artists, the UAC is giving even more Memphians a chance to break into the big world of public art. 

“We’re just honored to get to create public spaces in a city we love, and we’re looking forward to another 25 years of getting to do it.”
Lauren Kennedy
Director of the Urban Art Commission

On November 10th, The Urban Art Commission celebrated their 25th year with a community gathering to kick off the next quarter century of creative work.

The event featured exciting new installations and live music, as well as a wine toast and small bites.

UAC artist Sophia Mason debuted her newest work “Power Strip” during the celebration thanks to support she’s received through UAC’s New Public Artist Fellowship. Known for her soft sculptures which are riddled with important messaging about the world we live in, Mason not only has a platform to to share her ideas, but also the funding to fuel the process. 

She explains, “Power Strip is exactly that, a 12 times as large scale inflatable version of a power strip you might use at home. So it very simply represents big, intimidating powers that influence our lives. As you realize Power Strip is just a big balloon, you might also wonder whether that power that is so intimidating to you might not in theory just be “full of hot air” as well. If my piece can prompt people to make the one connection, that in the end many powerful influences on us are very vulnerable, we may be able to calculate those other risks more clearly.”

“Getting funding to build work is such an important gift to artists in Memphis, where a little encouragement can go a long way to getting an artist to another step of recognition. We all have UAC in our corner, encouraging us, sending us info about good opportunities, talking about our work with people. That’s been really valuable.”

Much like Sophia, many Memphis-based artists have seen their work come to life with the UAC’s support. If you’ve been to the Memphis Airport, you’ve seen their work up close as the International Airport Collection features 53+ artworks made by 61 artists based in or connected to Memphis. 

In fact, the UAC’s support can be seen all throughout the city—from schools to bus stops, community centers, restaurants murals, and more. 

The Urban Art Commission is looking for more local artists to elevate; to encourage to take risks, try new mediums and experiment with big ideas.

The New Public Artists Fellowship application is open through November 30, 2022—and interested artists in the Memphis region are encourage to apply and attend the information session on November 17th.  

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