901 Now: Paint Memphis artists bring more beauty to Bluff City

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Paint Memphis needs your help to make the Bluff City more beautiful.

“We need input from the artist community, what they need, what they see in the neighborhoods they are at,” Kirsten Sandlin said. “So that we can get to communities that we might not otherwise get to.”

Murals around the Bluff City are not an uncommon sight. In fact, a local nonprofit, Paint Memphis, is striving to bring more artwork to the streets.

”It started as a way to bring art to the streets so that people who may not ever get into museums and galleries could see good art,” Sandlin said. “One of the things we really want to do though, is to help people in our own city, like bring up the artist in our own city.” Kirsten Sandlin is the co-director for the nonprofit. For 9 years, Paint Memphis has had the same goal; Find artists and give them exposure.

“I know a lot of different people that are very talented at art, but they never get the opportunity,” Cameron Hill said. “I was one of those people.”

Paint Memphis has murals all across the Bluff City.
Paint Memphis has murals all across the Bluff City.(Chloe Jackson)

Cameron Hill is a local artist with Paint Memphis. He got involved after participating in one of the annual Paint Memphis events.

“I was coming down the street on Lamar and I saw artists doing murals and me being an artist, that really intrigued me,” he said.

Paint Memphis started as a once-a-year thing, bringing artists together to create a mural in one setting.

Now, that’s changing. The nonprofit is serving as a year-round organization, providing building blocks for artist to spread art around the city at any time.

“It’s hard finding a wall that we can express ourselves on,” Hill said. “So making it a year-round thing kind of scratches that creative itch that we always have.”

Paint Memphis has murals all across the Bluff City.
Paint Memphis has murals all across the Bluff City.(Chloe Jackson)

“We want to be able to give the support to artist,” Sandlin added. “Whether they need scaffolding so they can create something they’ve been hired to create. We want to be able to be able to do that.”

The non-profit said the next project is a community mural that will be created on “901 Day.”

Just show up between 3 and 5 p.m. on September 1 at 1160 Union Avenue. That is the building formerly occupied by Arvey Office Supplies, right next to the I-240 overpass.

On October 7, the annual Paint Memphis mural festival will return. To learn how to get involved, click here.

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