The nationally-acclaimed and award-winning ArtUp Fellows Program (formerly the ArtsMemphis Fellows Program) is a professional/personal development opportunity designed to provide training in both the concepts and the skill set required to lead neighborhood revitalization efforts through Arts and Culture. This program actively seeks to include residents and other community organizers at the table with artists and arts administrators in order to lay the foundation for truly equitable partnerships. A five-month commitment, Fellows are expected to study both independently and in group meetings, which occur every two weeks. Additionally, Fellows receive a stipend for travel to study examples of successful arts-based community development and revitalization programs.
Blight-Out is a program managed by the UrbanArt Commission (supported through the City of Memphis’ Percent-for-art program) that invites artists to help fight blight in neighborhoods throughout Memphis. This program applies a collaborative, innovative approach to tackling the complex and widespread issue of blight. Local artists are paired with neighborhood-based organizations and partners to develop project ideas from a series of conversations driven by residents. This process is facilitated through a a series of workshops led by UAC in which neighborhood stakeholders share the history of the neighborhood, discuss their needs and concerns, and identify ways they would like to see blighted property and spaces reimagined. Selected artists will participate in these workshops and the conversations and feedback from residents will inform the development of project ideas. Relevant training and resources will be provided to artists throughout each stage of the community engagement, project design, and implementation process. This model has been developed through a pilot Blight-Out program in the Vance Avenue corridor led by UAC, Innovate Memphis, and Advance Memphis with funding from ArtsMemphis.