On my second day in Memphis, I woke up bright and early to head down to the Civil Rights Museum on Main Street. My hotel was also located on Main Street but at the totally opposite end, so I had a nice long walk ahead of me in the temperate weather with an iced coffee (or two).
After I got past the part of Main Street that was filled with tacky tourist shops, I noticed a sign for the South Main Mosaic Artwalk. I’d read about this online, so I took a picture of the sign and kept on walking.
Apparently, artists began taking up residence in the old warehouses on South Main Street in the 1980s and began laying claim to the sides of these old buildings with their art, as well as in the actual warehouses themselves. These artists included people like Robert McGowan, Bert Sharpe and Patti Lechman, David White, and Terry Jones. Today more than $500 million is being invested into the rejuvenation of this tiny 1-square mile neighborhood.
It’s a really cool area to walk around, especially if you’re thinking of hitting up the Civil Rights Museum (and you most definitely should if you’re going to be in Memphis). Most of the art is in plain sight. Only the last piece requires any meandering off South Main Street for a block or two.
If I were going to move to Memphis, I’d definitely look into living in this area. The vibe was awesome. Now, onto the artwork.
These are the four installations on the Artwalk that I got photos of. I swear I had photos of the other four but I can’t find them right now.
But even if you miss the entire Artwalk, you’ll still see some pretty cool works by local artists without even trying, such as…
The South Main Arts District is a must if you’re visiting Memphis for anything at all. There are tons of cool coffee shops and restaurants, too, but more on those at a later date!
Is there a neighborhood similar to the South Main Arts District in your city? Let me know in the comments below!