New portraits of Elvis Presley and Beale Street now greet the 10million passengers who navigate Memphis International Airport every year. They're winners of the "Memphis, Its Music, Sights and Sounds" competition, created to showcase art from local high school students and give passengers a taste of Memphis culture even if they can't leave the airport. More than 450 paintings were submitted from Memphis and Shelby County public schools. Judges, local artists and members of the art department at The University of Memphis and Memphis College of Art narrowed the collection to 44 paintings. "We wanted to display the good feelings and warmth of our kids here in town," said Richard White, vice president of property and business development for the airport. "All these kids need is encouragement. The more you pat them on the back, the higher they'll reach." Dorothy Northern, an art teacher at East High School, said her students worked for about six weeks on the paintings "before and after school, and also during lunch." The paintings were fairly large -- 3 feet by 4 feet -- which intimidated some of the young artists. The students' artwork will be displayed until next year's competition. The paintings will then be sold, and the new winners put on display.
Posted: 2nd. June 2008