Pop-up gallery concept comes to the Edge district

EDGE Arts isn’t a space, it’s a concept.

Although its first exhibit on Nov. 11 was located at 600 Monroe Avenue, the idea behind EDGE Arts is to inhabit used or underdeveloped spaces around the Edge District to showcase the work of local artists.

Partners Timothy Barker and Phil Massey are working on plans to develop the space on Monroe in the future but believe the pop-up art exhibits are a chance to bring excitement to the space and the area before their project is completed.
“There are a lot of exciting projects coming online for the Edge and really for the entire Medical District,” said Barker. “We saw the opportunity in the neighborhood several years ago and are committed to revitalizing the Edge.”
The concept is meant to attract artists as well as art lovers to the Edge, an area roughly identified as the margin between the Central Business Improvement District and the Memphis Medical Center

Barker is offering use of the space for free and is not charging for submissions or taking any percentage of artists’ sales. He’s hoping this will give artists a chance to get be successful in the art community without needing financial means. While he acknowledges that this model is not sustainable over time, Barker and Massey believe the pop-up models circumvents the fiscal constraints by using spaces that are already in use or under development for future use.
The partners intend to host three exhibits per year in unconventional spaces. “I've always been passionate about art and community interaction. Our primary objective for the gallery project is to engage people with the neighborhood,” said Barker.
This comes at a time when the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, which was formed this February, is working to make the neighborhood more livable by encouraging new development, coordinating security and activating available space. The MMDC’s vision is to form a thriving mixed-use, mixed-income community that appeals to the healthcare and educational institutions already in the neighborhood as well as the residents and makers.  
“We have people making music, beer, furniture, guitars, and art,” says MMDC president Tommy Pacello. “That cross-arts approach is what is emerging as the identity of the Edge District."
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Read more articles by J. Dylan Sandifer.

J. Dylan Sandifer is a freelance writer living in Memphis since 2008. They have also contributed writing and research for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, VICE News, and Choose901.