Second Annual Young Collectors Contemporary Exhibit


One of my favorite things to do is happen upon art galleries and art exhibits while exploring Memphis. Memphis is a huge hub of creativity, so there are often art exhibits going on each weekend throughout the city. One of my favorite spaces was Glitch Memphis, which was a house transformed into an all-art gallery. Plus, unconventional spaces offer the opportunity for artist and spectator to connect without the formalities of established art galleries.  There is an expectation that accompanies art galleries and museums, an expectation of who deserves to be in those spaces, who has access to those spaces, and whose artistry should be in those spaces. For years that meant white, middle and upper class. However; I'm recognizing whenever artistry is situated in Memphis it has to contest with the realities that race and class matter here; therefore Memphis has a unique ability to make art accessible and relatable. For those very reasons, I was extremely excited to attend the Second Annual Young Collector's Contemporary, which is a collective of artists, art patrons, and art enthusiasts who amass a number of talented artists under 40 in one space for a multi-sensory art experience. Its hosted by Young Arts Patrons, which is an arts non-profit based here in Memphis. This is what they have on their website:

Young Arts Patrons (YAP) is a leading-edge, nonprofit organization dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel a creative and innovative arts community. Founded in 2015, Young Arts Patrons is a membership based non-profit designed to create a network of arts philanthropists and patrons under 40 through our programs and events that engage and educate.

There were levels to this exhibit...K? Levels. The gallery space was at Clayborn Temple, which is the gorgeous glass stained church where Martin Luther King gave his Mountaintop speech before his assassination the day after. It's also a famous historical African Methodist Episcopal Church and since I come from a family of die-hard AMEs, I was extremely humbled to be in such a sacred space. Plus, the church has been vacant since the 1960's so it stands majestic in its slightly dilapidated grandeur with trees growing through the walls and organ pipes leaning against the massive walls. In many ways it added to the experience of the whole exhibit, filling your senses with the smell of construction, the sounds of Future Everything, and walls of art. It was all about exploration, exploring the nooks and crannies of Clayborn to find paintings and drawings, mixed media and sculptures. One of my favorite areas was tucked away on the second floor in a room with exposed brick and white walls, in which art curator Rachel Miller did her exhibit around Arkansas artists. I thought this was really neat; since art curators are often the unknown force who meticulously mold gallery and museum spaces.

You could tell inclusivity was an integral focal point, for the displays were diverse in topic, art style, and art mediums, which truly allowed spectators to experience a full art show. I was wholly appreciative of the artists who nimbly illuminated the black urban experience through their artwork. Its always exciting to see yourself, see your brown skin painted on canvas or know your urban experience through abstraction. The show was uniquely Southern, but futuristic in its combined experience. I think it speaks wholly to the future of art experiences, in that creatives are starting to collaborate through many different artistic mediums to express themselves.

I honestly can't wait until next year and hope to see more artists from Southern cities, like my hometown Jackson, MS. YCC is definitely doing  a great job of acknowledging the importance of art while also giving a platform to human experiences.