Orange Mound Gallery
In 2016, Orange Mound Gallery (OMG) transformed a vacant liquor store located in a strip mall into a resident-driven gallery that showcases the work of community members and African American artists.
The Orange Mound neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee, has a rich history as one of the first communities in the country for African American to establish and settle a community through homeownership in the late nineteenth century. In appreciation of that history, creative community members wanted to create a space for arts produced by and reflective of the African American experience. The idea evolved organically: residents, artists, and individuals with longtime ties to the community identified an abandoned liquor store as the right space, negotiated with the owner, and assisted in space activation. ArtUp, a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing creative entrepreneurship, equity, and community engagement through the arts, supported the residents in their effort.
Linda Steele, CEO and Founder of ArtUp, describes the importance of the space as follows: “That particular storefront was a liquor store for many years, attracting loitering and crime. Today, the structure is an art gallery that provides a platform for under-resourced artists and artists of color to show and sell their work. Artists work side by side with residents who help promote the shows and are paid a living wage to work as gallery attendants.”
The Orange Mound Arts Council (OMAC) manages OMG. OMAC is a diverse group of alumni of the ArtUp Fellowship program living and/or working in Orange Mound.
Property Type: Commercial Structure
Project Type/ New Use: Art – Small Scale (e.g. painting; performance; visual)
Project Purpose: Improve safety; Provide gallery space for Black artists
Initial Cost: $50,000-$100,000
Funding Source: Philanthropic
Organization Type: Nonprofit - Arts and Culture
Implementation Partners: Philanthropy; Private sector
Community Type: Urban