Memphis College of Art Creates 1923 Poplar Mural

The service station at 1923 Poplar faces Overton Park and neighbors one of Midtown’s cultural mainstays, Memphis College of Art.

In an effort to brighten up a very visible Midtown corner, Loeb formed a partnership with MCA, and a plan was devised to paint a mural on the east-facing side of the building. Visible driving east on Poplar, the bright colors and happy message are a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

The design class put together a booklet on the project, which summarized the project this way:

We first discussed our main objectives, that the mural should be about Midtown and legible while driving down Poplar Avenue. After exploring what we thought captured the spirit of Midtown Memphis, we decided to create a survey to compare our thoughts to others. They were essentially one in the same: that Midtown is lively and blooming. After some deliberation, we felt the mural should have an upbeat Midtown message, which we wanted to portray through geometric forms and bold colors. We chose the text “Midtown is Our Memphis” to transform the original “Midtown is Memphis” expression from an exclusive phrase into an inclusive one.

David Lynch Mural at Bari Ristorante

Loeb Properties seeks opportunities to incorporate public art wherever possible to add a sense of place to every property.

Many art installations are taking shape or are in the works for Overton Square. The first piece in production is a mural by David Lynch, on the north-facing wall of the Bari Ristorante building, at 22 South Cooper. Upon first look, the wall has a lot of challenges, with the number of windows, electrical attachments, and wires:

Here are some words about the project from the artist, David Lynch:

"First it was an honor to work with Lou [Loeb] & Carol [Deforest] on such a main-statement mural for Overton Square in which I spent a lot of time in my youth – some good, some bad.  The area is so rich in character with the older buildings and with Overton Park as the backdrop, that I wanted to capture that in the art piece.
As for the Bari Wall itself, some would say that it would be hard to incorporate 13 windows, 2 doors and a lot of meters and wires into a mural, but I envisioned the basis for the final mural from the first time that I saw the wall.  It is actually a combination of art styles, one being my contemporary cityscape style, then I blended in a bit of folk art styling –  in the sense that I layered the buildings to give it a look of depth, but all the facades are facing forward – yet the piece still has depth and dimensions."

Watch this public artwork continue to take shape; we look forward to enjoying the impact it will have on Overton Square’s aesthetic presence. Patrons will be able to enjoy this creative and colorful masterpiece for years to come.

Overton Square Updates

Ready to get updated on all that's happening at Overton Square?

Watch the Action News 5 story

Ongoing Renovations

Bar Louie: The air-conditioning units that were removed this past Friday were from the top of the future Bar Louie space, at 2125 Madison. They have already started construction and demo work inside, and are also planning to build a 1,700 SF outdoor patio.  They plan to be open for business in February 2013.

Renovation Plans: Renovations to the “west building” (2087-2097 Madison, the building which includes Memphis Pizza Café & Golden India) are currently underway. We have made extensive structural repairs to each space, internally and externally, and we are painting the exterior with the new color scheme (our designer is Jack Rainey of Rainey Contract Designs). Other changes include added modern commercial storefronts to the Trimble-facing spaces and repaired rear balconies for the Madison-facing spaces. We are making these renovations and changes to bring the buildings up-to-date and more leasable for today’s retailer, while maintaining their historical character.

Other Renovations: The “east building” (the curved building including Bar Louie and the former Friday’s space, 2115-2125 Madison) exterior and interior structural repairs, including painting and art (see below). The middle building (or “atrium building”) will begin major renovations January 1.

Memshop/Holiday Market: The Mayor’s Innovation Team is sponsoring a pop-up holiday market at Overton Square with over 30 artists selling their wares, as well as a community café, a pop-up clothing store, music, and more. It will take place the three weekends leading up to Christmas. See their facebook page for more information.

2116 Madison/”The Cottage”: After demolishing the breezeway that connected this building to the former Paulette’s, extensive structural and exterior repairs have been made to this 1,500 sf former residential building, including the addition of a handicap-accessible ramp. It is now being painted and an outdoor patio is planned for the “front yard” facing Madison Ave. While it is still currently available for lease, we are getting close to signing a lease with a new restaurant concept who would open late winter/early spring 2013.

Public Art Updates

This is being headed up internally by Lou Loeb. Local artist Carol DeForest has been hired as our public art consultant; together with Lou and the Overton Square arts committee, the following projects are underway:

  • Mural by David Lynch on the north face wall of Bari Ristorante
  • Large-scale sculpture by Yvonne Bobo
  • Mosaic by Lea Holland
  • Backlit stained glass by Suzy Hendrix for the upstairs windows above the former TGIFriday’s
  • Interactive music exhibit by Sean Murphy for the Trimble Courtyard