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Memphis Art Scene
Contributed by Jehan Roberson - Memphis Resident and Art Enthusiast - 11/26/2012
Gathering influences from its agricultural roots, the Delta region, and its location along the Mighty Mississippi, Memphis is a city with an art tradition as rich and strong as its musical heritage. Memphis was and continues to be an anomaly in the South for its blend of commercial, urban living and agriculture. It is this blend that lends itself to the creation of art that is simultaneously folk and urban; classic and Southern; and always distinctly Memphis.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Located in Overton Park and just a stone’s throw from Memphis College of Art, The Brooks Museum was founded in 1913 and is the oldest and largest fine art museum in Tennessee. Home to several permanent exhibits spanning the Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Impressionist eras, the museum also showcases the works of contemporary artists from Memphis and beyond. This is the place for classic art in Memphis. Be sure to visit their website for more information.
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art
Journey to downtown Memphis, specifically historic Main Street and stop by the Belz Museum for Judaic Art. This museum houses an expansive and large collection of art collected by Jack Belz and his wife Marilyn. Their love for art sparked the idea for a museum to showcase findings from their travels. A walk through this museum is both fascinating and educational. Visit their website to get more information on planning your trip to The Belz Museum.
Center for Southern Folklore
No one is ever a stranger at Memphis’ own Center for Southern Folklore, a “down home”, interpretive museum that pays homage to the arts, music, and culture of Memphis and the Delta region. With an extensive archive of arts and craft works from Memphis and regional natives, Center for Southern Folklore is definitely a must-see for anyone interested in local art and the strong folk tradition of Memphis. Located in the same building as the Belz Museum, this is a great art two-for-one.
See their website for more details.
The Ernest Withers Collection
Photography has a long, distinguished history in Memphis and one of its most noted pioneers is Ernest C. Withers. A photographer whose work spans more than six decades, Withers is most renowned for his work during the Civil Rights Movement, a period of particular turmoil for his native Memphis. The museum was established posthumously to honor the life and work of a man who captured so much of local and national history with his camera. The museum’s website has more information about viewing their extensive collection.
South Main Arts District
Once a thriving hub and business center, the South Main area of Memphis was a deserted, near forgotten part of the city until recently. Currently undergoing a revitalization from the artists now inhabiting the area, South Main is one of the premiere “artsy” areas the city has to offer. With multiple galleries, art events, and studios all in one neat enclave, it should come as no surprise that South Main attracts artists from all over the city. It’s not only a place to visit, but one to watch as the neighborhood continues to grow and thrive. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to come during the annual River Arts Festival, held along South Main Street each fall.
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- Art Museums
- Art Galleries
- Local Artists
- Street Art
- Public Art
- Festivals and Fairs
- An Interpretation of Artwork
- Any Underground Art