The Rhodes-Hill Mural is way cool


When Memphis business executive and Rhodes College Trustee Chick Hill decided to have a mural painted on the outside of one of his downtown properties located directly across from AutoZone Park, he decided to use it as a learning experience for the students involved in CODA (Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts ) at Rhodes. He had confidence in their ability to approach the project in a comprehensive and professional manner and in the end he knew Memphis would benefit.

With guidance from Rhodes staff and the UrbanArt Commission, the CODA students made a plan for the mural project. Discussions focused on every aspect - creating the budget, learning about wall preparation, putting together a committee of city leaders to have input into the process, writing the RFP, interviewing artists, reviewing portfolios and making the final selection. In October, Chicago artist Jeff Zimmerman was selected by the CODA students to create the mural.

What resulted is a dynamic, five-story mural being created over the next few weeks by Zimmerman with assistance from Brendon Hudson of Chicago and talented Memphis artists Niki Johnson, Anthony Lee, Kierston Williams, and Jesus Lopez.

According to Rhodes student project managers Carly Agre, Luke Branim, Shelby Long, and Meghan Wilcox, "The design for the mural does not offer easy answers. The meanings aren’t clear, and everyone will have different interpretations of what this mural says about our city. But everyone can agree that it brightens the landscape; offers proof to every citizen, no matter how young, that we can make a difference in Memphis; and ignites a sense of hope about what is possible in the future."

"There are two aspects that make the mural project unique," says Liz Daggett, CODA coordinator. "One is the level of responsibility the CODA students have in managing this huge public art project. The other is how it has become a catalyst for dialogue in Memphis."