A New Generation Hits Memphis Art

Posted on April 1, 2014


By Rosie Kopman

1005991_10201677784016237_984911092_nWalking down the stairs to the exhibit room in the Brooks Museum, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. What I found was astonishing talent from artists who are not yet done growing. The Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards, funded by the Brooks
Museum League, recognizes exceptional achievements in young artists ranging 7th to 12th graders. The competition offers cash prizes and scholarship opportunity for those winners. All participants are students from local Memphis schools.

The competition seeks from participant’s originality, technical skills, and the emergence of a personal style or vision. These students gave the judges exactly what they wanted, and their audience: A phenomenal, and very original, art experience.

The artwork ranges from paintings, to fashion, to video art. Three rooms are filled to the brim with amazing talent and skill. The first piece I saw when entering the gallery was jaw dropping. A gown, made entirely of copper, sat casually, waiting for an owner to step inside of it. Each tier of the dress flowed with the ease of fabric only to be countered by blunt edges only metal could make. Looking down at the description, the piece was made by a freshman in high school. What I was soon to learn though, that this piece was just the beginning to more wonderful suprises.

Every corner I turned a piece of art sat waiting to be gawked over. Elise Grisoni, a Rhodes College student who came from Lausanne High School, was thrilled to see students from her alma mater excelling in the competition.

She gleaned over the artwork “surprised by the level of self mastery and realism expressed in the details of each drawing or painting. I could tell how hard they worked to create a reflection of their own personal expressions.” Personal expression is the key phrase for this competition. The minds of these artists are so young, their creative years are just starting, and we are the first to experience it. It is a gift.

The Brooks Museum is providing an experience that few museums do. They are providing audiences with the chance to see the dawn of artistic careers. So many of these students have fantastic potential to create a life from their work, and we have a chance to witness it.

Posted in: Arts