Orange Mound

Painters and fire dancers? Art show at The CMPLX promises anything but typical

Where in Memphis can you go to see an art show with an eclectic mix of interactive artistic displays by talented women of color?

VISUALS & VIBES II: a badass all female film + design exhibit” will feature performers not often seen in art traditional gallery and fine art spaces, including musicians and dancers.

“This is not your average art show,” said creator and curator Chassidy Jade.

The event will take place at The CMPLX in Orange Mound on Sunday, December 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The CMPLX is located at 2234 Lamar Avenue.

The exhibition will include filmmakers, graphic designers, painters, and mixed media artists, as well as dance artists and genres spanning from Memphis Jookin to modern dance, ballet, pole and fire dancing. Patrons can also expect a live painting exhibition and a surprise performance.

All exhibitors are local Black and Hispanic women.

Crown Me Royal Labs, Jade’s production company, is sponsoring the event.

“I work in a male-dominated industry, and I never really get to have this experience,” Jade said. “For my own selfish reasons, I definitely wanted it to be all-female.”  

Though The CMPLX is, in part, an artist collective, Jade purposefully chose artists for this show who are not already part of a collective, a gallery, or other organization.

“Independent artists typically do not get as many opportunities to showcase their work,” Jade said.

Some of the artists were hand picked by Jade. Others went through a submission process.

Artist Alexis Miché said attendees can expect her work to be “a digital art experience" that fits with the show's theme, visuals and vibes.

Miche is a 26-year-old Collierville native who creates abstract paintings, line drawings, and digital art pieces that tell a story and allow others to experience art from her unique perspective.

VISUALS & VIBES II will be bigger and better than before," Jade said with regard to the number and variety of artists. 

In previous years, she's had to spend more time on awareness building and asking people to participate or attend the event. This year, people are already asking her when she's planning the next installment.

Visuals and Vibes' creator and curator, Chassidy Jade, takes a break from installing work for the December 22 show. (Alexandria Moore)

The Arts in Orange Mound

Orange Mound has a rich history. Jade believes VISUALS & VIBES II can bring people from outside Orange Mound to the community to see a beautiful and successful venue, incredible talent, and growing collaboration among artist of color.

She hopes that exposure helps change perceptions and help shift the narrative of what Orange Mound is and can be. She hopes, ultimately, that her work and the work of other artists and curators brings more resources and talent back to Orange Mound.

“[Having the event in Orange Mound will] broaden people’s horizons so that we can continue to not only change the conversation but hopefully the infrastructure and bring more businesses and art collectives to this area,” said Jade.

The CMPLX opened on January 11. It is a gallery, office, and coworking and collaboration space for local artists of color, who are often excluded from mainstream, white creative communities and their funders.

Related: 'The CMPLX opens to packed house in Orange Mound'

Jade said attendees should expect an art show that is outside of the norm. Jade wants to give people the opportunity to interact with art rather than just observe it.

“I’m just hoping that we keep the same energy, we have the same turnout [as previous years], and people walk away from it feeling like they’ve had an experience versus just going to another event,” said Jade.

Last year's VISUALS & VIBES was held at The CMPLX in Orange Mound and featured traditional gallery art alongside art forms not typically found in a gallery show, like musicians. This year's event promises the same. (Christaian Williams)

Finding that Vibe

Despite the name, the December 22 show is actually the third installment in the VISUALS & VIBES series. Jade hosted the first Visuals & Vibes in January 2018 as a private event at the Jack Robinson Gallery in Downtown Memphis. Around 70 people attended.

The second show in July 2019 was held at The CMPLX and open to the public. More than 400 people attended thanks in large part to social media.

At this year's event, attendees who bring donations for a Bahamas disaster relief drive will receive a free drink. Requested items include canned food, clothes, cleaning products, tools, and feminine hygiene products.

Jade organized the relief effort because she has family and friends in the Bahamas directly impacted by recent strong storms and heavy flooding.

Jade is originally from Delray Beach, a small town in Palm Beach County, Florida but currently lives in Memphis. She said this VISUALS & VIBES  will blend Memphis's style with her Carribean and Floridian roots.

The decor and music are a nod to Carribean culture, including Afrobeats, Reggae, and Miami Bass music. Memphis is represented by the artists and their use of Memphis themes and elements in their work.

In addition to giving other artists a platform, Jade will reveal pieces from her own newest art collection and a recent film she directed.

“I just want people to be inspired,” she said.

Author Alexandria Moore is a High Ground News Community Correspondent. Correspondents complete a six-week training and mentorship program to become freelance, neighborhood-based reporters. Correspondents live in underserved communities and hope to correct negative neighborhood narratives by diving into the nuances underlying big challenges and highlighting successful solutions. This is Moore's first published story with High Ground News and the first story published by a Community Correspondent. 
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Read more articles by Alexandria Moore.

Alexandria Moore is a healthcare professional and freelance writer. Moore is a resident of Orange Mound and graduate of the first High Ground News Community Correspondents program.