Broad Ave. opening doors for Art Walk
> Glass blowing, photography and painting on display
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Five art-related businesses took part in the first Broad Avenue Art Walk, a number that has more than doubled in what is now an annual celebration of the burgeoning arts district.
At tonight’s 4th annual Broad Avenue Art Walk, 12 businesses will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. flaunting their artistic wares with exhibits, demonstrations and live music.
“A lot of people reflect on this area as the South Main of five years ago,” says Pat Brown, business manager at Broad gallery T Clifton Art, who compares the development of the Broad arts district to that of South Main, which has branded itself in large part through art retail enterprises and galleries and has its own monthly art walk.
“Where I think we’re a little different is we’ve got the true artist colony where you’ve got craftsmen working day-to-day,” she adds, noting that the Memphis City Council officially recognized Broad as an arts district in March.
Anchored by food-and-drink mainstays The Cove and Broadway Pizza House, Broad’s art residents run the gamut from more commercial-oriented galleries such as T Clifton Art to experimental art spaces such as Odessa and Material to a variety of art and artisan workshops such as Metal Works and Archicast to advertising firm Splash Creative and the UrbanArt Commission.
T Clifton’s namesake artist Tom Clifton credits the growth of the district to the extension of Sam Cooper Boulevard. Yet when the highway first cut through, he thought the area would die.
“And in a way it did, which was a great advantage for artists, because this area suddenly started gentrifying,” he says. “And that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The more people that come to the street and see what’s going on, the more people are interested in moving to the street.”
Tonight’s art walk activities feature a show at T Clifton Art, “Dark Days/White Nights,” that is the first American exhibition by Russian painter Yan Karpovich (see sidebar). Photographic exhibits include Annette Elizabeth Fournetat at Weaver & Associates, Paula Cravens at West Memorials, and David Nester at Metal Works.
Also on board are all things Greely Myatt at Material and UrbanArt; Jeanne Reynolds at Splash Creative; enamels and paintings by Margaret Wilmot and her daughter Leigh Wilmot at Wilmot Originals Work; comic art at Adam Shaw Studio; glass blowing at Studio 1688; and blacksmith demonstrations at Metal Works. Scheduled music includes Sultana and Michaela Caitlin at The Cove and the Bluff City Backsliders at Odessa.
With the growth of the district, Brown notes that it now has the challenge to maintain a certain commercial viability while at the same time preserving its charm and affordability — things that made it attractive to artists in the first place.
“Finding that balance will be very key,” she says.
“Red Dawn” (left) and “Sanctuary” are part of Russian painter Yan Karpovich’s American debut exhibit “Dark Days/White Nights,” displayed tonight at T Clifton Art for the 4th Annual Broad Ave. Art Walk.
St. Petersburg-based artist Yan Karpovich uses the word “serenity” to describe his paintings.