After decades of depression, Memphis finally finds itself in the early stage of a renaissance. We're also blessed to have before us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake so many of our most prized public spaces. Yet Memphis is once again the poorest large metro area in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. How we go about finding the right solutions for Memphis at this defining moment will determine how authentic, inclusive, and sustainable our renaissance will be.
Earlier this month, city officials unveiled a massive plan to revitalize downtown's promenade with a music venue, an outdoor cafe, art installations, pop-up retail, and more. The city's plan for Memphis Fourth Bluff looks incredibly similar to John Kirkscey's Memphis Art Park plan, which he began developing nine years ago.
Six years ago, local filmmaker and startup consultant John Kirkscey came up with a $20 million idea to renovate Cossitt Library as the Memphis Art Park.
That's not the idea he'll present to the City Council Tuesday. Instead, it will be a scaled-down version that would cost about $1 million of private funds.
"It's a way to have your cake and eat it too," Kirkscey said.
There’s little question that urbanists today are obsessed with vibrancy—with good reason. More and more, it is vibrancy that is the ultimate indicator that a neighborhood or a city is working. It is the ultimate measurement of whether redevelopment projects are successful and vibrancy is a factor that determines in particular whether a city can attract and keep young professionals.
Memphis Art Park proponent John Kirkscey has been talking up the idea of converting a stretch of Front Street into a public art park for more than three years. Now, a group of University of Memphis architecture students are giving new life to Kirkscey's plans.
One man's three-year effort to build support for transforming the Downtown riverfront with a public arts center and art park has slowly gotten the attention of Memphis leaders.
John Kirkscey got an hour with Mayor A C Wharton last Friday and is to meet with University of Memphis president Shirley Raines this Friday.
Memphis Arts Park sums up well the reason that its potential excites us: it will create a community arts center and public art park in downtown Memphis; incubate, empower, and showcase our city’s emerging filmmakers, musicians, dancers, performing artists & visual artists; serve as a collaborative forum for local artists, arts groups & entrepreneurs; congregate and connect on its “campus” a variety of arts-focused entities whose common mission is artist support and development; offer arts education and community outreach programs for children; and provide an engaging public destination to enjoy our city’s emerging art. It’s time to get it done.
In searching for the keys to the phenomenon of rapid human evolution and progress, intellectuals have seized upon the idea of collective intelligence: the notion that what determines the rate of innovation, economic progress, and cultural enrichment of a population is the amount of interaction between individuals
The $30 million project would transform the heart of the riverfront (which dearly needs it), and it would become the most visited, most vibrant place in a downtown (which dearly needs it). A few years ago, when CEOs for Cities asked corporate CEOs what they most wanted out of a city, they said vibrancy.
Memphis Art Park has a new website, and we hope you'll visit it. This impressive, important project is continuing to take shape and needs our support.
As you know from our earlier posts, we consider it one of the exciting ideas bubbling up from our creatives for ways to move Memphis ahead and create momentum to position us for the future.