MEMFix hits Film Row Saturday.
We asked John Paul Shaffer, program director for Livable Memphis (the group that organizes MEMFix events), why they’re doing it and what visitors can expect.
How did y’all select Film Row for the next MEMFix?
John Paul Shaffer:
[A MEMFix location has] got to have good bones in terms of buildings. And the potential to be really walkable and be kind of close to or nearby things that are happening and have some interest.
A big part of [selecting Film Row] was that it’s part of the Memphis Heritage Trail. Also, one round of MEMShop had already focused on this location. So, there was already some momentum and some interest in these spots.
Also, the proximity to South City. [Film Row] is really this kind of connection between South Main and South City. It’s a little almost-forgotten stretch of roadway down there.
We’re trying to support the MEMShops that are there and inject a little new activity there as well.
What can folks expect at MEMFix this weekend?
We’re going to have a lot of public art. We’ve been working with the UrbanArt Commission. We have three artists working on everything from murals that’ll be going up on what’s now a boarded-up building, some streetscape art, some artistic crosswalks.
We’re going to have live music that’s curated by the Memphis Slim Collaboratory.
We’re also excited because this is the first time we’ll be activating public parks as a part of a MEMFix.
Like Army and Navy Parks?
Yeah, it’ll be a neat new dynamic to the program.
What will happen in the parks?
We’ll have vendors set up. We’ll have a stage, and a bocce court, and The TapBox [mobile beer vendor] will be in one of the parks.
Also, because of both film history and civil rights history of the neighborhood, we’re going be doing a history tour with Dr. Earnestine Jenkins from the University of Memphis. She’ll be talking about everything from the contraband camps back in the 1800s post-Civil War, all the way up to the film era, and some of the African American film production that was happening in Memphis.
Will you be able to go into some of the buildings at Film Row?
Yes, there will be pop-up shops in three of the buildings. One is more of a renovated space but the other two are some of the old distribution centers, pretty rustic spaces that we’re going to be getting in.
Do these things work?
Yeah, I think so. Each one has its own metrics and measurements of success but I’d say overall each one of these had led to some new momentum in these neighborhoods.
Like in The Edge, the neighborhood association was kind of restarted post-MEMFix and they’ve continued to work now in collaboration with the Medical District Collaborative.
I think these things kind of forge new partnerships or reignite interest form party owners and businesses an residences.
Here’s a list of vendors and events for Saturday’s MEMFix:
Brick and mortar:
Makeda’s Cookies, Circuitous Successions Gallery, Central BBQ
A Square Meal on Wheels, TapBox Mobile Beer Garden, Cariflavor, MEMPops
Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Mbabazi’s House of Style, Klassy Chics Boutique, Replenish Kombucha, Tako’s Treasures
K’PreSha’s Haul of Style, Urban Indulgence Handmade, iKandys, Gwynevere, Color and Read, Ekata Designs, iKandys, Guilt Free Pastries, Thigh High Jeans
Memphis Slim Collaboratory Stage: