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UrbanArt Commission Announces Finalists for Memphis International Airport Art Installations

UrbanArt Commission and MEM logos

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (April 30, 2020) – The UrbanArt Commission (UAC), in partnership with the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA), has announced its finalists for five new public art opportunities as part of the Concourse B reimagining.

In February, UAC released three Calls to Artists for five new permanent artworks including a $350,000 suspended sculpture project for the Southeast Concourse, a $125,000 wall-bound artwork at the Security Checkpoint, and three $15,000 design-only opportunities for glass artworks at waiting areas throughout the Concourse. UAC received a total of 239 artist submissions for the five projects.

Finalists for the three categories are:

●       $350,000 Suspended Sculpture for Southeast Concourse

  • Yancy Villa-Calvo & brg3s
  • Gordon Huether Studio
  • Michael Szivos, SOFTlab Studio
  • Norman Lee & Shane Allbritton, RE:site Studio

●       $125,000 Project for the Security Checkpoint (all local artists)

  • Jamond Bullock & Eric Okdeh
  • Nancy Cheairs & Erin Wright
  • Ruby Zielinski & Zach Kremer, Studio 210

●       3 – $15,000 Glass Artworks for Waiting Areas (design only, all local artists)

  • Danny Broadway
  • Susan Maakestad
  • Jessica Tinsley
  • Erin Harmon
  • Melissa Dunn
  • Ziggy Mack
  • Beth Edwards
  • Josh Breeden
  • Pam McDonnell

UAC received 152 responses for the suspended sculpture, which was open to artists currently living and working in the United States with one finalist position reserved for a Memphis/Shelby County based artist. Four finalists were selected, including Norman Lee & Shane Allbritton (RE:site Studio), Gordon Huether Studio, Michael Szivos (SOFTlab Studio), and Memphis-based artist and architecture firm Yancy Villa-Calvo and brg3s.

For the two remaining opportunities, 87 Memphis-based artists submitted applications to the Calls to Artists and 12 were invited to submit site-specific proposals for final consideration.

“The strong responses from local and national artists to these projects speaks to how exciting the reimagining of the Memphis International Airport is to the art community,” said UAC Executive Director Lauren Kennedy, “Particularly the design-only opportunity for glass artworks for Memphis and Shelby County-based artists demonstrates that local artists are eager to expand their creative practice from studios to public spaces.”

“We are thrilled with talent and various artistic disciplines that make up the finalists for the B Concourse art program,” Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “In addition, our pool of candidates and finalists has strong representation from women and minority artists, which we feel is essential in representing our great city.”

Finalists will submit and present site-specific proposals to the selection committee in mid-June.

The selection committee for all five projects includes Darrell Thomas CEO, Thomas Consultants, Inc., MSCAA Board of Commissioners; Pamela Clary Executive VP, ComCap, MSCAA Board of Commissioners; Jim Keras, Owner of Jim Keras Automotive, MSCAA Board of Commissioners; Gregory Fletcher, MSCAA Board of Commissioners;  Richard Lou, Professor and Chair of Fine Art, University of Memphis; Faith Morris, Chief of Marketing and External Affairs, National Civil Rights Museum; Whitney Hardy, Founder of 3RDSPACE; Maggie Russell, Visual Artist;  Lucy Woodson, Founder, Worlds Away; Brenda Duckett, Memphis Community Leader; Metcalf Crump, Owner & Architect, The Crump Firm; Brian Bullard, Owner and Architect, UrbanArch Associates; James Hay, Director of Development, MSCAA; Glen Thomas, Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications, MSCAA; Scott Brockman, President & CEO, MSCAA (non-voting).

For more information about this partnership or the Calls to Artists, please contact Ebony Archie at 901.290.0955 or ebony@uacmem.org. For more information about the Concourse B modernization, please contact Glen Thomas at 901-922-8301 or GThomas@flymemphis.com


UrbanArt Commission (UAC) is a Memphis-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for artists and neighborhoods to connect and shape spaces through public art. UAC’s vision is for the arts to be integral to a thriving and equitable Memphis. With 100+ public art projects throughout the city, UAC aims to increase the density and impact of public art in neighborhoods across Memphis, while supporting new media and methods for public art. To stay up to date on all new projects and existing work in the city, go to uacmem.org.

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) owns and operates Memphis International Airport (MEM), as well as two general aviation airports, General DeWitt Spain airport near downtown and Charles W. Baker airport in Millington. More than 4.4 million passengers traveled through MEM last year. In addition, thanks to the presence of FedEx, MEM is North America’s busiest cargo airport and the second busiest in the world. MSCAA operates and maintains runways, airport buildings, and other facilities, and is responsible for the security and safety of our customers. There are approximately 300 full-time and 35 seasonal employees at MSCAA.