Recap: Memphis Community Space

February 28, 2013

The exterior of the National Civil Rights Museum, with a red and white sign with the msueum's name in the foreground, and a clear blue sky in the background.

On February 8th, we gathered at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN for a Community Space with local community arts educators. This was the fourth in our ongoing series of Community Space gatherings across the country—in the past five months we've visited Boston, San Francisco, and Oakland.

A photo of six round tables, each with folks working together.    Three folks posing with their arms in the air.

The conversation in Memphis centered heavily on the need for more funding—both for individual artists and for arts organizations. Attendees expressed frustration with getting their hopes up when institutions announce intentions to interrupt harmful cycles such as gatekeeping of funding, only to be disappointed when those institutions don't follow through on their promises. While working in a city so well-known for its arts and culture, many felt it was counterintuitive that funding for the arts is not prioritized locally.

Attendees also spoke about making arts education accessible to populations who are living in crisis, and honoring the powerful history that, although often suppressed, is deeply intertwined with local art.

“From an arts education service organization, what service would be most beneficial to you as an individual?” written on a large sheet of paper..   A room full of folks with their hands placed on top of their heads.

Thank you to New Ballet Ensemble & School and Guild trustee Katie Smythe for all your local support, and to April Freeman of Memphis Music Initiative for capturing photos of the event!

Published: February 28, 2023