Paint Memphis 2020 bringing beauty to the Bluff City

Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Paint Memphis 2020 is transforming the Snuff District and the Carriage District in Uptown this year, a community just north of downtown Memphis.

The Snuff District along North Front Street is where a tobacco factory once stood. And the Carriage District on North Second Street is where the horse and buggies that cater to tourists are kept.

Paint Memphis murals are going up on old buildings and new businesses like Grind City Brewery and Soul and Spirits brewery.

“The work that’s been created is amazing!” Paint Memphis Director Karen Golightly told WMC Action News 5 when our cameras captured the amazing artwork taking shape on Friday, Oct. 16.

COVID-19 can’t stop creativity– 137 artists from around the country are creating murals on private properties along a one mile stretch.

“So this year, instead of having one weekend festival,” Golightly said, “which we love to do, we love the community that it brings, because of COVID we have spread out both our locations and our time.”

From Sept. 13 through Oct. 30, artists like Bryan Rapalo from Houston, and his friend Eduardo Pacheco from Jackson, Mississippi, are leaving their mark and their message on Memphis.

“This is super dope,” Rapalo said, “This is like, my first time being in something like this that’s very exclusive. And just meeting a whole bunch of artists is super gnarly!"

”So this is actually upside down," Pacheco said while pointing toward his unfinished mural with features a man who appears to be upside down. “You know,” he said, “everything is upside down in my life, but I still got to keep going. So that’s the main image.”

Golightly says thanks to sponsors like Billy Orgel and Belz Enterprises, along with grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the NEA, and private donations, Paint Memphis provides the paint, food and even lodging.

Laredo, Texas muralist Rodd Quinn is a Paint Memphis veteran.

“It’s therapy,” he said, “Like when you’re painting, like if you’re miserable, sad, mad, depressed...paint. Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint until you don’t feel that anymore.”

And that’s the whole point of Paint Memphis says it’s creator, Karen Golightly. Expose people to art, and to emotion, especially right now.

“I think this is a great way to cheer people up,” she said, “I mean, the messages that people are sending through their art are so hopeful. So they’re really excited to get out and show off their talent and really put this message out there that it’s going to be ok.”

Interested in seeing the murals? Paint Memphis will host a walking tour on Oct. 30 and 31. If you can’t wait until then, here are the addresses where murals have already been painted, and where more artists will be working during the next few weeks:

  • 700 North Front Street
  • 844 North Front Street
  • Corner of North Second Street and Henry
  • 1001 North Second Street
  • 1051 North Second Street
  • 76 Waterworks
  • 1125 N 6th Street

For more information, visit the Paint Memphis Facebook and Instagram accounts or the website:

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