The Stone Institute

South Main

South Main

Yep, South Main is the designated art district of Memphis, Tennessee. I am going to keep writing about it until I believe it. Someone out there might actually read something I write and believe it too. It only takes two people with a voice to make it happen.

There is some space to lease on South Main. But it's expensive. How can one artist afford to live and work there if landlords have jacked the rent too high, much less a colony of artists when no one can afford it? But I guess if you were in business and did not care about the rising of all boats in the harbor, you'd pretty much deny the art district and go for as much money as you could. The American dream at work here.

How can anyone have a real art opening when there is no space for parking. Someone told me that Uber will bring and take people to and fro. Seriously? Overton Square has a City funded parking garage that was instrumental in revitalizing the Square, what happened to South Main? The City has money to build a few new parks to prepare for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, but not enough money to really invest in the South Main art district by building a parking garage somewhere close. The Civil Rights Museum is just off Main Street, but it's a tough place to park your car.

A Malco Theater is going in at the old train station, so is a roof top restaurant and bar, but no real help for the parking problem. Someone said it would be a great idea to open a work-out facility on South Main because there aren't any gym's around the area. It would make a lot of money, but still doesn't attract an artist, nor the art. Just people providing lease space for anything that might make a buck.

I'm thinking it's time to build a New York style art Gallery there. Big, airy and a place where installations can be shown. Something that will get the South Main art district active so the rest of the people can thrive in the area. Not just Memphis in May or a River Arts Festival, but a district that takes advantage of the lack of art in Memphis, condenses it into one place, a living, breathing art museum and it changes constantly with the seasons or the currents of the river. We don't need big rich developers to take advantage of the dilapidated, beat-up old buildings. Just hard working people to help the place get a leg up, and a parking garage to help attract people from everywhere not just nowhere. If anyone buys a building in the arts district, they should have one year to renovate it or put it up for sale so someone can. The State, County and City government should make matching funds available to individuals who wish to develop galleries, studio space for reasonable rent and living quarters for artists. Other cities have, why not South Main.

And bright lights. Light up the street to keep it safe. It's time to make things happen.

South Main. Art is going to come to South Main. It's just a matter of time. Be watching for the Obelisks. They're coming soon.

Kevin S. "Kiki" Merigian

Posted by Kevin Merigian at 9:17 AM
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