Memphis Artist Inspires Community Action
Arts and culture is an essential element of what makes places and communities healthy, equitable, connected, and vibrant. This spring, the APA Arts & Planning Interest Group worked to raise awareness and participation in the 2021 member leadership elections. We are always looking for ways that Arts & Planning can present parallel ideas within APA's structure that echo important, useful information to planners. The visual campaign focused on APA's Divisions, Chapters, and the Student Representatives Council.
Our idea was simple: put out a call to planners to nominate an artist they themselves had worked with in a municipal capacity, commission the selected artist to create work highlighting the importance of planners' participation in the election and share the artist's work as food for thought.
Arts & Planning received many nominations from planners, and artists were able to self-nominate. Through a jury process led by the Arts & Planning Steering Committee, Memphis-based artist Carl E. Moore was chosen for the project.
Carl was nominated by Downtown Memphis Commission planner Brett Roler, AICP, who described the connection he sees between Moore's work and the planning profession:
"Carl is an accomplished artist and muralist. His murals in downtown Memphis are an important part of the ongoing dialogue we have as a community about race, identity, and community."
In addition to upcoming exhibitions and work with Memphis youth, Moore is creating a large mural at Memphis International Airport for the Memphis Urban Arts Commission. For this public work, he "divided the painting into two sections with the panels moving from the country landscape to a cityscape, with flowers connecting the two areas."
That flower is the magnolia, which has come to represent the Southern lifestyle. "I use flowers to highlight most of the painting to represent not only the beauty of the south but some of my own personal history. My mother loved flowers of all kinds and she passed this love down to me and my sister." Moore's compelling, graphic style will greet all visitors to Memphis with strength and warmth.
"The painting, My South, represents my experience of growing up and living in the south. The goal is to give a positive, non-stereotypical view of the south through love and beauty. Even though the south is remembered for its dark history, it is still rich in history and progress."
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Top image: Artist Carl E. Moore working on his "My South" painting for the Memphis International Airport. Images provided by artist.