Local artist Derrick Dent talks about work, life and the future 

Derrick Dent (left) with Gino Barzizza

Meet Derrick Dent, local artist, teacher and friend. I first met Derrick in my drawing class at Memphis College of Art a few years back. He would come over with other students to draw our homework for class. He helped me a lot with lines and overall composition, and I ordered pizza.

I ended up transferring to the University of Memphis, but see Derrick riding his bike and working with Live from Memphis doing their Ink Off all over town. I wanted to start featuring blogs about local artists and their careers to help inspire other art folks who aspire for the same. The very first person I thought of was Derrick. Here, he talks about where he works and his future plans.

Derrick, what do you currently do?
I’m working as a freelance illustrator, and I draw pictures for the web, and sometimes print. I’m also teaching comics at Memphis College of Art during the Fall 2012 semester.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m pursuing more work in editorial and publishing (I want to do more illustrations for literature), but I’ve also delved into package illustration, caricatures and portraiture, mural work, comics, and other areas that apply to my skill set. I’m planning to move to New York next year to pursue more work and to extend my network.

How can we see more of your work?
You can find my work at derrickdent.com and on my sketchblog at derrickdent.tumblr.com


Sonya Clark’s Woven Combs Will Live Permanently at the Brooks!

GREAT news from our chief curator, Marina Pacini: Thanks to the   many people who have generously donated funding, Sonya Clark’s Woven Combs will live permanently at the Brooks! And the artist herself will be here for a lecture on Thursday, August 30.

This blog is written by Andria Lisle Public Relations and Public Events Manager for the Brooks.

If I Can Dream Recap

The Brooks enjoyed an energetic opening reception for the If I Can Dream exhibition on view in the Education gallery until September 16, 2012.  The exhibition is a result of an international art contest in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.

The artworks, selected by a professional panel of judges, were created in response to the quote “If I Can Dream.” This inspirational tune marked the rebirth of Elvis’ career when he sang it in a heart-felt performance during the final episode of his 1968 NBC comeback special, Elvis. Written by the show’s musical director W. Earl Brown, after the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, the lyrics describe a world full of hope and free of doubt, pain, and fear.

Visitors of the exhibition have the opportunity to vote for Fans Favorite through August 18th. The winner will receive a $220 gift card to shopelvis.com, a trophy, and a certificate of appreciation.

Congratulations to all of the artists chosen for the exhibition!

  “…while I can think, while I can talk, while I can stand, while I can walk, while I can dream, please let my dream come true…” –lyrics from “If I Can Dream”

This blog is written by Jenny Hornby Assistant Curator of Education for the Brooks.

Mandy Maxwell Realizes Her Dream in Brooks Exhibition

Mandy Maxwell with her painting, Great Heights.

Growing up as a young artist in Arkansas, just across the bridge from Memphis, the Brooks Museum has always been sacred to me. It was the first and only place for me to see the works of my artistic heroes in person. To have one of my paintings hanging in the Brooks has been a long-time goal of mine, and this year it finally happened.

Mandy Maxwell
Great Heights

The Brooks called for artists to create work inspired by the Elvis song, If I Can Dream. Growing up so close to Memphis, it’s impossible not to be inspired by the life, career and even dreams of Elvis. The lyrics say: “…while I can think, while I can talk, while I can stand, while I can walk, while I can dream, please let my dream come true…” and were written in a time of tragedy.

My painting, Great Heights, plays on the dreaming aspect of the phrase, “If I Can Dream.” The imagery of my painting depicts a floating chair with a lush evergreen wildly growing out of the seat. This represents how no matter where we are, our dreams can take us anywhere we want to be, as long as we can dream.

Mandy Maxwell
Great Heights detail

Dreams keep us motivated and are sometimes a needed escape from our reality. If I can dream, I can persevere.

Mandy Maxwell is a 25 year old visual artist currently located in Paragould, AR. You can find more of her work at www.mandyatlarge.com.

The Brooks Welcomes Elesha Newberry, Our New Tour Coordinator!

Wacky Wednesdays, tours for children and adults, Family Days: as the new tour coordinator, I’ve already gotten a chance to experience the wide range of programs the Brooks offers during the summer. Last Friday, I was able to take part in my first Art for Lunch, which consisted of a tour of The Soul of a City exhibit and then lunch at the Brushmark. Tagging along on the tour, I learned about the exhibit from one of our volunteer docents, and having lunch with the group, I got to meet and talk with people interested in art and food – two of my favorite things! I’m already looking forward to the next one in a couple of weeks on August 17th.

Here’s a pic of my favorite piece in the Soul of a City exhibit:

Chakaia Booker
American, b. 1953
Rubber tire and wood
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase; funds provided by Wil and Sally Hergenrader 2006.33)

This blog is written by Elesha Newberry Tour Coordinator for the Brooks.

The Museum’s History: The Brief Version

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art was established in 1912 and opened for viewing in 1916 after Mrs. Samuel H. Brooks donated $100,000 for the construction of the museum in honor of her late husband. While first maintained by the Memphis Park Commission, leadership changed to the hands of the Arts and Sciences Commission in 1970, which reported to the mayor. Not until 1983 did the museum change its name from the Brooks Memorial Art Gallery to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Inc., and shortly after, separated from the city government and became the fully private institution it is today.

Brooks’ permanent collections grew as a result of generous donors such as the Kress Foundation and the Moss family. Included in these donations are many of the museum’s prized Renaissance and Baroque paintings hanging on the walls today. Prominent citizens, bequests, and support groups played and continue to play a major role in the acquisitions of artwork. In 1957, the private Fine Arts Foundation was formed to allow the museum to raise money for collections and programs through the subscription of memberships. Because the Brooks receives less than 20% of its budget from government funding, these memberships as well as donations from private contributors have continued to fund the annual growth of the museum.

The generosity of friends and supporters of the Brooks allows the museum to offer the highest quality exhibitions and educational programs. Since 1912, the Brooks has made education an integral part of the institution by offering a variety of creative programs for children of all ages. The Brooks still maintains a close relationship with the Memphis College of Art, incorporating art students into the public art world.

In 1965, Brooks Museum League, which helped to begin educational programs, initiated the docent program as well as the museum’s first gift shop. An art reference library opened that helped to further the museum’s educational mission. In 1979, the Decorative Arts Trust was formed, which not only helps to gain more decorative arts for the museum, but also hosts seminars, lectures, and events to expand the appreciation and understanding of decorative arts in Memphis.

Through exhibitions highlighting both the Brooks’ permanent collection and world-class traveling exhibitions, as well as dynamic programming, the museum has become a center of cultural activity in Memphis. Without the help of generous donors and supporters, the collection of 19 paintings housed in a building of 8,200 feet in 1933 could never have grown to become the 8,000 works of art housed in a building of 86,000 feet. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art continues to fulfill the purpose of its founder, Bessie Vance Brooks, as a “repository, conservatory, and museum of art …for the enjoyment, inspiration, and instruction of our people.”

This Weekend at the Brooks

Friday, August 3rd
Get your culture fix from film this week with the screening of Mourning (Soog) at 2pm. This thought-provoking and surprising Iranian movie is part of our Global Lens Film Series.

Saturday, August 4th
A film that I’m particularly interested in seeing, Pegasus (Pegase), tells the story of a girl forcibly raised as a boy by her father. This Moroccan film plays at 2pm in the Hohenberg Auditorium.

Sunday, August 5th
Start training for Labor Day with brunch at the Brushmark. My recommendation? Corned beef hash-Wally and Andrew brine and cure the beef in house! Enjoy their new menu from 11 am until 2:30 pm.

Check Out Our Film Trio this Weekend at the Brooks

There are plenty of opportunities to get out of the sun this weekend at the Brooks! We have three new exhibitions, another one opening this weekend and 3 films to boot!

Start off an early weekend at the Brooks! We’ll be screening a great one from our Global Lens Film Series: Fat, Bald, Short Man (Gordo, Calvo Y Bajito). In this animated film from Colombia, Antonio Farfán, a lonesome, middle-aged virgin, change becomes his new ally-but how will he handle it? Find out today at 2 pm.

Our Global Lens Film Series continues with Mourning (Soog) today at 2pm. Catch up with friends at the Brushmark before the film, and relax knowing you’re in the air conditioning.  Don’t forget to make reservations for Sunday brunch for next week while you’re here, it fills up fast!

Beat the heat and the brunch crowd, and enjoy first seating at the Brushmark Restaurant. My recommendation? Corned beef hash. Check out more brunch menu items here! Finish off your weekend with a romantic opera-the perfect end of weekend date.

Last Two Weeks of Wacky Wednesdays!

Get hyped up for Wacky Wednesdays at the Brooks with our Brooks Kids page! We also offer tons of family friendly events, which you can check out here!

Make sure you unwind from all of the wacky fun with our 3 new exhibitions: The Soul of a City: Memphis Collects African American Art, Elvis is in the Building, and Early Quilts from Southern Collections.

Fashion Illustrator Kris Keys Takes on Art & a Movie

We were fortunate to have Memphis-born, London-based fashion illustrator Kris Keys visit the Brooks last Thursday. Keys sketched the participants in our most recent Art & a Movie program, which featured clock making followed by a screening of the 2010 documentary film Thunder Soul. Working against a soundtrack provided by DJ Leroy Trenton, museum goers sorted through stacks of old 45 rpm records that were donated by Goner Records and Shangri-la Records. Once they found the perfect 45, each participant used a simple kit and an old-fashioned record adapter to make a working clock! After the film screening, which was co-presented by the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, attendees were surprised by two more special guests — Craig Baldwin and Rollo Rollins, alumni of the Kashmere Stage Band, the group featured in Thunder Soul.

Keys said of the experience, “These two minute quick gestural sketches captured the style and motion of Memphians and guests at the Brooks Museum Thursday night. It was an inspiring/ peaceful evening, as one would imagine since art and happiness goes hand in hand (my opinion). Enjoy!”

To check out more of Keys’ work, visit her website, http://bykriskeys.com/.

This blog is written by Andria Lisle, Public Programs and Public Relations Manager for the Brooks.

Proposal at the Brooks and She Said Yes! This Job Rocks-Literally!!

Matt Horton just proposed to his girlfriend at the Brooks! Congrats to the happy new engaged couple!

Matt came into the museum earlier today to set up the ring in a case. He then came back to the museum with his girlfriend and another couple in tow. He nervously paid admission (I didn’t know if I should charge him or not, but I had to!), but he couldn’t find his credit card! He finally found it, and then the four of them wandered through the galleries.

Then, they all made way to the Member’s Lounge, where Matt had already arranged an ‘exhibit’ of his engagement ring. Two of us gave them a minute, and after about 10, we came in to congratulate the newly engaged couple and take some photos. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderfully happy and romantic life together!

Creation Station at the Brooks this Saturday, July 14th!

Check out our fun pics from last month’s big event! Enjoy an art-making activity while surrounded by masterpieces in the museum. This week’s event is named Creation Station: Peas and Thank You and can be enjoyed from 11 – 1. This is also included with museum admission and always free for children 6 & under.(Adults $7, Seniors $6, Students & Youth $3).

For more information or questions, please contact Kathy Dumlao at kathy.dumlao@brooksmuseum.org or give her a call at 901.544.6246 or click here to view the event in full.