'I Am A Man Plaza' Coming for 50th Anniversary of MLK Death

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This site next to Clayborn Temple will be the site of "I Am A Man Plaza." - GOOGLE MAPS
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  • This site next to Clayborn Temple will be the site of "I Am A Man Plaza."

The UrbanArt Commission (UAC) and the city of Memphis want to build “I Am A Man Plaza” with a dedicated arts installation adjacent to Clayborn Temple to be finished for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The two organizations issued a call for artists to design and build the art installation that will go with the plaza, which is billed “as a point of reflection” that will “invite all people to a peaceful, interactive, and educational experience that supports the advancement of equity, justice and positive social change.” The space will also be one for “peaceful protest and positive change,” according to city documents.

The project comes with a $700,000 budget: $139,100 for design and $560,900 for fabrication.

The plaza will be a focal point of a city-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike and the death of King here in April 1968.

“UAC and (the city of Memphis) rigorously pursue excellence in equity and inclusion,” reads a news release on the project issued Wednesday morning. “To this end, applications from ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and women are encouraged. As well, it is expected that the selected artist work with minority and female artists, contractors, and/or subcontractors in the project development.”

The committee to select the artist for the job want a public art piece that will:

• Acknowledge the historical significance of Memphis, the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s strike and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement, particularly involving the phrase “I Am A Man”

• Provide visitors with the ability to interact with the art through tactile or technological elements or other methods

• Create an experience that residents and tourists will want to revisit

• Create a space for peaceful protest and positive change

• Inspire future generations to stand up for social justice and positive change




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