Memphis in May Unveils 2019 Fine Arts Poster Honoring Memphis

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In celebrating the Memphis Bicentennial this year, not only did Memphis in May break with its forty-two-year tradition of saluting the history and culture of a country in favor of honoring the culture and history of the City of Memphis, but the Festival also chose a different path to select the original fine artwork that would honor that salute.  Rather than selecting a local artist and commissioning a work, Memphis in May held an open call for any Memphis artist to submit their work for consideration.  The public then voted as part of a juried panel to select the work that will represent Memphis in May’s Salute to the City of Memphis.

After more than 2800 votes were cast online, the selected artwork unveiled at the Pink Palace Mansion at 6:00 pm on Tuesday night, March 19, is an oil painting on canvas created by local artist Evelina Dillon.

The detailed painting features a colorful collage of local landmarks, institutions, and icons found in communities across the city. In many cases, the observer will notice dates added next to many images, referencing the landmark’s founding or opening.   The work features countless symbols of Memphis history and culture woven together to create a detailed snapshot of local culture and heritage.

“I am not a Memphian by birth; I chose to live in Memphis,” says Ms. Dillon.  “To paint Memphis on a single canvas seems impossible. Memphis to me is not represented just by Elvis, the Bridge or Beale Street. Memphis is so much more. Memphis is its people.”

Ms. Dillon is a first-generation immigrant, born and raised in Uzbekistan, having moved to the United States in 1996 and first living in Columbus, Ohio and Charleston, West Virginia. An emerging artist working primarily in oils, she says her art is an expression of her life experiences, admiration of nature and celebration of people. She learned the art of painting in a non-traditional way by attending classes, workshops and demonstrations of local Memphis artists like Matthew Lee, Bill Branch, Fred Rawlinson and Sunny Montgomery at Flicker Street Studio. She is a member of both the Memphis Germantown Art League and Oil Painters of America.

“The excitement this year surrounding Memphis in May’s Salute to Memphis is unprecedented,” said James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival. “But to have the fine arts poster honoring Memphis selected in part by the people of Memphis who chose a work so representative of the unique culture of Memphis—I expect this poster will be among our most popular ever and will soon be found all around the city.”

The 2019 Memphis in May Fine Arts Poster is sponsored by Farris Bobango PLC, and is available for $35, with the limited edition signed and numbered collector’s poster for $65 at 1910 Frameworks, the Official Framer of Memphis in May.  Posters are also available at Midtown Framer & Art, and at the Frame Corner in East Memphis and will be available starting May 1st at the Memphis in May office at 56 S. Front Street, and on-line at memphisinmay.org.

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

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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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