Thank you to the Memphis Urban League of Young Professionals for the inspiring work that many of my friends and peers do to make our city greater and for recognizing individuals who also believe in this community through our actions! I would also like to thank my fellow nominees longtime friend Ron Herd and Adrian Williams.
If you did not have the pleasure of attending this year's inaugural Change Agents Awards, below is my speech. I hope that you know, I wrote it for the artist in you....
8th grade girls from the Neighborhood School experience the world-renowned Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform to Stax own Otis Redding at the Orpheum Theater.
Children in Smokey City, pass by a mural on the Dave Wells Community Center that depicts children just like them donning hats of possibility, firefighter, graduate, football player, chef.
Caritas Village and NIA Artist Collective host art exhibitions to bring about awareness of our community’s epidemics including HIV/AIDS, Breast Cancer and Infant Mortality.
20 Memphis area artists create and donate original artwork to raise more than $3,000 in just four hours at I heART Haiti art benefit. That money is then donated to rebuild a Haitian school for children with disabilities.
Children receive cost-effective and sometimes free ballet classes in Midtown because Collage dance Collective has dedicated its mission, energy and money to increasing the diversity in ballet worldwide.
A Strange Fruit Vintage fashion show gives 25 models, one deejay, one rapper, one violinist, three singers, two photographers, and one make-up artist an opportunity to showcase their talents to a sold out crowd of 200 people at a collaborative art space in downtown Memphis.
Through my enthusiastic experiences with the arts, I know that the next Frank Lloyd Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Michel Basquiat, Coco Chanel, Julia Childs lives here, in Memphis.
As artists, we create because it is through this passionate work of art that we speak. In turn, it is through your patronage and continued support that you show us you are listening.
For that and for this distinct honor, I thank you.
Shalishah "Petey" Franklin