Episode #032: Lauren Kennedy | Urban Art Commission

Lauren Kennedy is executive director of Urban Art Commission, a local non-profit responsible for helping the city manage public art projects. They enhance the cultural vibrancy of communities through the development of public art. They also celebrate diversity in everything they do. Lauren came on to talk planning public artworks, understanding communities, opening her home gallery Southfork, and the value of having creative spaces in your city.

Urban Arts Commission



[Show notes in process]

“Never, never, never give up” – Winston Churchill
“Don’t wait, the time will never be just right.” – Napoleon Hill

Art History

“Are we doing this already?”

The reference point for a lot of history is the evidence of what we leave behind.

Home Galleries in Memphis
Adam Farmer – Glitch
Beige – Joel Parsons
Southfork – Lauren Kennedy

Ballet Memphis

Memphis is “a special and magical weird space.”

“To be 28 years old and be running a public art commission is  legit. In no other city am I gonna have the opportunities than I’ve had here.” – LK

From Ballet Memphis to Urban Art Commission

Defining Urban Art Commission – A private non-profit that manages the process for Memphis city’s investment in public art.
UA looking at growth opportunities and goals to accomplish outside current trends.
Broader diverse programing. Building awareness and appreciation.

Public art – hopefully the community is reflected in some kind of way. Make sure there’s room for people. How do you do it right? Being thoughtful about it, be mindful of the people interacting with it. Make sure community is open without limiting expectations or that the artist thinks it’s entirely their own creation without regards to the space and community the piece will live.

American’s for the Arts Conference

Yasir Gates – Beauty is a basic service.

Public art projects can be slow moving. They’re aware and aim to be, “in the business of making things happen.”
3D piece for viewing at entrance/exit to Memphis International Airport. To be viewed in the round, it’ll be showy and hard to miss.
Make it big and make it red.
Electroland – did the Court Ave. pedestrian bridge near UofM Law school.


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