by Chris Davis
It was a little bit like being in church. While debuting a series of promotional videos last Tuesday ArtsMemphis' CEO Susan Schadt mentioned Memphis' third-place ranking on Forbes “most miserable” cities list and the room erupted in shout-backs. “We are not,” affirmed Chris Reyes the founder of Live from Memphis, ArtsMemphis' multimedia collaborators. Schadt called for an antidote to all the negativity, a directory of all the people and things that give Memphians pleasure Then she introduced LFM's creative director Sarah Fleming who said a few words about the new spots which will appear on TV, the Internet, and on the big screen at Malco's Cinema Paradiso.
I think “Pleasure-maker is going to be my new moniker,” Fleming said before screening “Art is...” a compilation of five 30-second spots using local performing artists to promote themselves and ArtsMemphis. “It's a good representation of the work we've done over the past several years,” said Fleming who is also a co-creator of ArtsMemphis TV.
“Art is,” thoughtfully shot by Memphis artist and videographer Eric Swartz and scored by local composer Alan Hayes is a throbbing montage of dance, welding, painting, acting and musical performance stitched together by a pair of actors, and a trio of dancers monologuing about the meaning of art.
The commercials are edited like Nike spots with dynamic visuals that never overwhelm the personality of the artists being interviewed. Some of the more up-front dialogue may flirt with arty cliche but Reyes & Fleming's team have managed to dig a little deeper and cram a lot of actual content into these 30-second bites.
“Art is significant and almost nothing says dancer and choreographer Wayne Smith before reversing that thought and conluding that art is actually, "gianormous." Voices of the South's artistic director Jerre Dye says art is connectivity. "Every day that I get to make art it is a tremendous opportunity to say something," he says. Longtime community actor James Dale Green asserts that art is "imagination made flesh." Stephanie Mei Hom of Ballet Memphis Stephanie Mei Hom says, “Art is love.”
Art is also fire dancing...
“For three years Sarah and Christopher have been helping us chronicle all the things that give people pleasure,” said Schadt, thanking Live From Memphis and ArtsMemphis-TV for driving traffic to the funding and art advocacy group's website.