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Art Class II: Impact of Globalization on Memphis Food, Culture, Fashion, and Music

  • Brooks Museum of Art (map)

Join moderator Eileen Townsend and panelists for a public conversation about the impact of globalization on contemporary music, food, fashion and culture. The panel is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Hassan Hajjaj: My Rock Stars, organized by the Newark Museum and on view through September 4.

Panelists: Marco Alexander, Tara Skelley, Dr. Beverly Tsacoyianis, Dr. Ben Graham

Hover over pictures to learn more about each of our panelists.

Tara Skelley

 Fashion Designer, Dilettante Collection

As a child, Tara Skelley spent many hours designing custom doll clothes and crafting elaborate costumes.  She also vividly remembers devouring her first Vogue in middle school.  

After completing her education and obtaining her CPA, she pursued a career in public accounting and corporate finance, but still continued to feel the creative pull and kept busy with a wide array of artistic hobbies.   She loved hunting for the perfect outfit and began designing garments when she wasn’t able to find exactly what she was looking for.  An overwhelming positive response from her first creations resulted in her learning to design, draw, and sew in earnest.  Tara draws inspiration from her travels, one-of-a-kind vintage finds, and all forms of art, photography, music, and dance.
Tara can be found in Memphis, TN decorating elaborate cupcakes, riding her roadbike or curled up in a sunny spot with a good book and her co-designer pets, Bennett and Paisley. 

Tara's designs have been featured on the runways of Memphis Fashion Week, Birmingham Fashion Week, South Walton Fashion Week, Coastal Fashion Week and beyond.  

"Choosing clothing is a daily form of self-expression—it’s communicative art at its most basic level and I love being able to play a part in integrating art and beauty into everyday life." -Tara

Marco Alexander


Marco Alexander. , otherwise known as Marcus Alexander Hurt, is an American (aspiring international) Pop/R&B Singer/Songwriter, and all around ARTIST. Being born in Memphis TN and listening to such artists as Jackie Wilson, Phil Collins, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke, Sting, and Michael Jackson; he started his study of music at a very young age. These artists have taught Marco to develop a style that is not only untouchable, but also timeless. Marco grew up playing instruments and exploring sounds along with his mother & father, who are also musicians/ vocalists. As well as being a trained musician, Marco has created a sound that will influence any situation. His lyrics are written from everyday situations that occur in lives around the world.

However, his music is not only inspired from the traditional Pop/R&B culture, but other world cultures from known to the unknown. He refers to this as the "Living Musik" sound. Marco has always thought of himself as someone who never conformed to this world (or your average sound/experience); from the way that he processed thoughts to the way that he arranges his melodic structure. This has brought him to start working on his first full project (EP), “Friction”.

Dr. Beverly Tsacoyianis

Assistant Professor, University of Memphis

In April 2014, Dr. Tsacoyianis completed my dissertation at Washington University in St. Louis, "Making Healthy Minds and Bodies in Syria and Lebanon, 1899-1961," under the supervision of Prof. Nancy Reynolds, Prof. Tim Parsons, Prof. Ahmet Karamustafa, Prof. Hillel Kieval, and Prof. Nancy Berg. Dr. Tsacoyianis is now working on turning the dissertation into a book-length monograph. Her research explores social experiences of health and illness, particularly in psychiatric and vernacular modes of healing in Syria during the twentieth century. She analyzes records from a privately funded Protestant missionary-run hospital in Beirut and a secular government-funded hospital near Damascus as well as historical fiction and related sources that span the end of the Ottoman Empire, the French Mandate period, and early post-colonial period, including the brief union of Egypt and Syria as the United Arab Republic. I argue that psychiatrists in Syria presented mental health treatment to Syrians as more than just a way to control or cure mental illness, but as a modernizing worldview to combat popular ideas about the origins of mental illness and to encourage acceptance of psychiatry. Hospital staff in Syria were so careful to present a purely psychiatric framework for illness that they distanced themselves almost completely from vernacular healing. This decision hastened a vernacular-psychiatric division in the medical landscape where healing systems in other parts of the Middle East had begun to integrate local customs. Treatment devoid of spiritual therapies ultimately delegitimized psychiatry among lower classes. The mental health landscape for Syrians in the early and mid-twentieth century remained open to non-psychiatric alternatives. The legitimacy of treatment, the professionalization of healers, and the authority of cultural worldviews are central issues to the study of health care provision in Syria, but they reflect overarching themes in, and invite comparison to, numerous communities where alternative healing systems continue to draw support in the face of increasingly globalized biomedical practices.

Dr. Ben Graham

University of Memphis, Assistant Professor

Dr. Graham is an assistant professor in the University of Memphis History Department with field interest in Middle Ages, Mediterranean, Environment, Food. He currently teaches The Crusades: God, War, and Holy Land, Omnivore's Past: A Global History of Food and Eating, and Ancient Rome: An Empire and its Environment. He has numerous works in academic publications. His current project is a book-length project about the cultivation and consumption of olives and olive oil in early medieval Italy.

Earlier Event: March 11
Young Collectors Contemporary
Later Event: August 4
YAP Social Club: Whet Thursday