Memphis in May Unveils 2019 Children's Poster Honoring Memphis

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Each year, Memphis in May holds a poster competition for area students in grades K-6 to submit their original artworks honoring the saluted country’s history or culture.  This year, however, in an effort to include more of the area’s students as part of the Memphis Bicentennial celebration, Memphis in May opened the qualifications to students in grades K-12 to show us how they depict the culture and history of the City of Memphis.

More than 400 entries were received and displayed at the Shelby County Board of Education.  From those, the winning artwork was selected by our Education Committee volunteers, sponsors and local teachers and will be publicly unveiled tonight at 5:30p at the Teaching and Learning Academy Auditorium at 2485 Union Avenue.  The Children’s Poster saluting Memphis is a pencil and ink drawing titled “Jazzy Jim,” created by seventeen-year old aspiring artist from Houston High School, Eagan Smith.

The drawing is Smith’s take on a 1950s-era black and white photo taken of a man passing the old Blue Light Studios sign at the corner of South Main and Beale streets in downtown Memphis.  The juxtaposition of the original black and white image with the artist’s addition of bold and vibrant colors repeatedly caught the attention and votes of the observers and resulted in Ms. Smith’s work being selected as this year’s Children’s Poster.

Ms. Smith comes from a family of artists, being influenced by her grandmother, Kathleen Coletti, who is an art teacher and painter, as well as drawing inspiration from the works of her great-grandmother and mother who also painted. Smith’s style blossomed after moving to the Memphis area from Utah, under the guidance of her Houston High School art teacher, Amanda Schulter. The art program at Houston has been a great support system for her while adjusting to Memphis and its culture, while also helping her find inspiration in the architecture, cultural background and street art of the City of Memphis. Smith is a member of the National Arts Honor Society and plans to attend the University of Memphis next year.

“Each year, we enjoy seeing the artistic vision the young people of Memphis have for the subject of our cultural salute,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May. “With this year’s excitement around the Memphis Bicentennial and our salute to the city, combined with Ms. Smith’s talent, I expect her beautiful artwork be extremely sought after.”

The 2019 Memphis in May Children’s Poster is sponsored by International Paper and is available for $10 at 1910 Frameworks, the Official Framer of Memphis in May.  Posters will be available starting May 1 at the Memphis in May office at 56 S. Front Street, and online store.

2019 Festival Dates:

Beale Street Music Festival: May 3 - 5, 2019
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 15 - 18, 2019
Great American River Run: May 25, 2019
Celebrate Memphis: May 25, 2019


About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs in 2018 contributed more than $137.7 million annually in economic impact to the community, fostered civic pride, promoted awareness of Memphis’ heritage, and built international relationships and understanding through education. 

Memphis in May is the official festival of the City of Memphis, the recipient of 206 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association and has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For.  The Beale Street Music Festival was named one of the World’s Top Festivals by Fest300 and made Forbes’ list of “5 Underrated Music Festivals You Should Attend.”  In 2018, Memphis topped CNN Travel’s list of international destinations to visit in May specifically because of the Memphis in May events.

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