On July 26, 2019, The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce hosted the first reception of the newest partnership in The Young Arts Patrons City-Wide Gallery program. The City-Wide Gallery Program is a curated, revolving, site-specific exhibition of art at businesses and institutions around Memphis.
Young Arts Patrons’ collaboration with the Chamber supports the organization’s goal to increase the visibility of artististic talent in Memphis. Whitney Hardy, YAP Founder, and Greater Memphis Chamber President Beverly Robinson expressed in the reception that this partnership was imperative in strengthening the relationships of key stakeholders with the Memphis creative sector.
Young Arts Patrons met with Greater Memphis of Chamber team members including President Beverly Robinson, Jean Reid, and Queen Titilé A. Keskessa to discuss ways for the Chamber to engage. Hardy identified the need to focus the gallery in the highly trafficked hallway and entrance areas of the Chamber’s Downtown Memphis office. Catherine Elizabeth Patton, Memphis-based photographer, is the first artist featured in the space.
“Countless business visitors and national guests walk these hallways to discuss the state of the city, economic development, etc. You also have Chamber employees that spend +8 hours per day creating ways to increase our city’s economic prosperity. The art that is going to spark conversation about economic progress and highlights the work being done is important. I decided on creating this revolving gallery focused on photographers and artisan products makers for that reason.” explained Whitney Hardy.
“We can’t talk about economic development without acknowledging arts and culture as a key part of that infrastructure. Most of the attendees said they never came in [The Chamber] office, and also never felt invited. We’re set on changing that. Beverly and team really get that, and that’s what we need!”
In designing the City-Wide Program, Hardy explained her theory of A2B.
“A2B is a play on B2B and B2C. Artist to Businesses (A2B) is a way for YAP to increase visibility and capital to our arts community by intentionally focusing on creating relationships between artists and the Memphis business community. Memphis is a rapidly growing city with businesses relocating here and our hometown businesses scaling. New buildings, hotels, and civic structures are everywhere, we need to make sure that we have the arts included in those procurement numbers. Imagine if just 1% of local spend went back into the arts community. Let’s count the cranes in the sky, and also the access to the arts.” says Hardy.
All art in the gallery is for sale. The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and Young Arts Patrons set a goal for 2 works sold per rotation. As of the date of publication, three works by Catherine Elizabeth Patton were sold to Greater Memphis Chamber members.
Photography by Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce Member, Carolyn Chism Hardy. Thanks for attending!