The University of Memphis, in partnership with the UrbanArt Commission, is proud to host the work local artists who participated in the New Public Artists Fellowship. UAC and the University of Memphis collaborated on this program to address the institutional barriers artists face when creating large-scale public sculptures and support artists expanding their practices beyond the studio. In particular, artists of color are greatly underrepresented in this artistic field.

The New Public Artists Fellowship provides in-depth training and professional development resources to up-and-coming, talented artists. The fellows participated in workshops with guest artists and arts administrators before proposing temporary outdoor sculptures. These temporary artworks can now be found throughout the University of Memphis campus.

Each sculpture invites the viewer to engage with the art directly. Some works playfully involve the surrounding space and encourage viewers to see their surroundings through a new perspective. Other sculptures disrupt viewers’ experiences of the environment and seek to challenge commonly held ideas and beliefs. As you encounter each sculpture, allow the art to provoke a response. These artworks actively invite questions with their engaging compositions. 

Installation 1

Kendrick Pendleton

  • The Sleeping Golem
    • A Memphis native who loves to create. Starting off as a hobby art became a part of their identity. It helped bring them closer to who they are as a person and they would love to continue to share their art with the whole world.

Installation 2

Ethan James McVay

  • Golden Fence
    • Ethan James McVay (they/them, he/him) is a POC queer artist raised and residing in Memphis, TN, whose work consists of performance, video, sculpture, installation, and writing. Using their body as a mediator between dichotomies, they grapple and explore fetishization, subversion, radical realities, industry, and the organic. In Spring of 2022, they received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Memphis. Their recent bodies of work were exhibited in Long Story Short and In Consideration at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, TN. Additionally, they are a recipient of the Bridging the Distance grant from the UrbanArt Commission in Memphis, TN; the University of Memphis scholarship to attend “Flat to Form: Digital Fabrication” at Anderson Ranch Art Center; the University of Memphis Green Fee Grant; and an internship with the UrbanArt Commission’s New Public Sculptors Forum.

Installation 3

Justin Bowles

  • Monument to Joy
    • Justin Bowles is a Memphis-based sculptor who creates small assemblages, large quilt-inspired collages and fantasy environments. In addition to constructing three-dimensional objects, she used screen-printing, stenciling and painting to create libraries of patterns used throughout her work. Collecting is a significant part of her studio practice, and every piece contains precious objects from her experiences, years of collecting and passed-down fabrics, notions and crafts from family and friends. The materials combine to create a world where polka-dot strawberries and giant Chihuahuas live together in joyful harmony.

Installation 4

Pam McDonnell

  • There and Back
    • My work investigates how we interpret experience through symbol, story and myth. There and Back explores the student/teacher relationship and its potential to shift perspectives, transform experience positively and even drive an insatiable conviction for learning. Ideally, over a period of time, an alliance based on discovery happens between the student and teacher that is cyclical in a way that seems to turn in on itself. The student becomes the teacher, the teacher is always a student—the snake eating its tail. There and Back visually represents this interdependency through the use of a cylinder that is lit from within to backlight playful imagery printed on translucent fabric. During the day, There and Back is a colorful wheel of discovery, at night it is aglow with mystery.

Installation 5

Kong Wee Pang

  • Pear Rabbit
    • Kong Wee Pang moved to the United States in 2001 from multi-cultural Malaysia & Singapore. In 2001, she moved to the United States, where she received a degree in Fine Art and Design and an MFA from the Memphis College of Art. She works in Archer Malmo, one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the U.S. In 2016, she co-founded Taropop Studio, focusing on public art. She has shown her work in New York, California, and elsewhere in the United States, also Spain, Italy, Germany, Singapore, and Malaysia home of her selected clients include Adobe, Denver Link, Memphis Airport, St. Jude and Planned Parenthood and more.