The Greater Memphis Chamber is honored to have Young Arts Patrons (YAP) curate The Gallery at The Greater Memphis Chamber. We celebrated the artists and reveal of The Gallery during the Chamber's SoulRight Trolley Night Pre-Party on July 26.
The Gallery highlights local photographers and makers that capture the essence of the people, place, and prosperity of Memphis’s vibrant economy. The works found in this gallery are aligned with visually showcasing the goal and mission of The Greater Memphis Chamber to “focus its efforts on providing economic growth for all—from breaking barriers to business growth today to creating long- term strategies for Memphis’ future.”
YAP selected Catherine Elizabeth Patton's work to be the first of the series displayed in the The Gallery at The Greater Memphis Chamber. Learn more about YAP and Catherine in the interview below.
Q&A with young arts patons, Whitney Hardy
What does the partnership with Greater Memphis Chamber mean for Young Arts Patron?
The Young Arts Patrons and Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce partnership was a perfect match. Our organization is really working hard to provide more visibility for artists.
We also want to drive forward Young Arts Patrons A2B initiative. A2B is a play on B2B and B2C. Artist to Businesses (A2B) is a way for YAP to increase visibility and capital to our arts community by intentionally focusing on creating stronger relationships between artists and the Memphis business community. We have so many new businesses and growing businesses here that artists should have access to so many more venues and corporate customers. The arts are a vital part of our city’s infrastructure.
What is the overall message of YAP and how does it encourage economic development?
YAP’s focus is on connecting the arts and audiences to make a strong creative sector. We host Young Collectors Contemporary, a national art fair that brings in the top up and coming visual artists, curators, art critics, and curious, eager collectors from around the United States. Memphis has so much talent that this is a great platform for our creative marketplace.
What about Catherine Elizabeth Patton’s work stood out for it to be selected for the first rotation to be displayed in The Gallery?
Catherine Elizabeth is a really outstanding photographer that explores Memphis and creates a dialogue with her work. She shows the joy of neighborhoods and it steers the narrative for our communities. Jeeze. I love it. She captured the softness and power in a black male dancer, the infectious joy of young artists opening their first gallery in Orange Mound, and the energy of bikers playing at Alt-town Skatepark. When we talk about Memphis and the people, this is why folks love it here.
This is the authentic progress we are making on a grassroots level, and every day that the Chamber staff and visitors get off the elevator and walk to the conference rooms. Revitalization, talent retention, innovation, and economic development has always been in proximity to the arts.
How can one purchase the art?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org the work and we send an electronic invoice. You can also email us if you would like Young Arts Patrons to curate your gallery with rotating exhibitions.
Q&A with Catherine Elizabeth Patton
What first drew you to photography—and how did you discover it?
I think one of the things that drew me to photography was the appeal of keeping my eyes open and catching beautiful and intriguing moments. It's like photos how themselves to me and the excitement comes from knowing that everyone e sees everything differently depending on vantage point, time of day, how the wind blows, how much light there is, where the clouds are, etc. Everyone sees and experiences things differently. Taking advantage of the small window of time that I have to capture the moment the way I experience it through my photography is so satisfying.
Why did you select these photos to be displayed in The Gallery?
I wanted to show different aspects of my photography; I wanted to show portraiture that shows how I capture people in a way that feels honest. I enjoy the control that I have in directing those shoots. I wanted to show a bit of my documentary style work with the photos I took during "A Great Day in the Mound" (orchestrated The Collective and Unapologetic) because I wanted to show people who were not in that moment (and who may not have been aware of it) how beautiful and historic that moment was and how dedicated our black arts community is to making ourselves known and heard. Hopefully, it caused people to look into the organizations and get to know more about the great things happening in the black arts community. Lastly, I felt led to include personal work from my walks in different areas of the city, mainly downtown and in Orange Mound. For me, these walks are therapeutic in nature because they help me practice mindfulness while leaning about these places that have so much history.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I just want viewers to feel something when they look at my work. If anything, I want them to take away the fact that an image made them feel something. That means a lot to me.
What are some tips/advice you would give to someone looking to pursue a career in photography?
Educate yourself on the technical side, but don't let the technical aspect or the "rules" of photography stifle you creatively. Learn the rules so you can break them. Also, do work that doesn't have a destination meaning work that isn'y geared toward a show or work for clients. Give yourself time to created without looming expectation. Learn what makes you feel good enthuses low pressure situations, and take aspects of that with you into your paid and more "serious" gigs.
Memphis is the best place to start and continue any career in any industry. Want to learn more about how the Chamber works to improve economic development for all in the Greater Memphis community? Click here.