Loeb Properties has invested in a variety of art installations in Overton Square and would like to highlight these works by creating a public art walking tour. They have approached MCA to work with a team of students to design a “stroll” that celebrates and connects these works together, engaging visitors and activating the outdoor experience of Overton Square.
The Overton Square mission is to create a sustainable, community-driven retail and arts district that celebrates the diverse culture of Memphis. The community is truly authentic, with a rich historical past and dynamic, energetic present. It is more than just a place to shop and eat, it’s a special place, where old friends gather and new friends meet. It’s diverse in nature and heavily influenced by the city’s people, music, art, architecture, and landscape.
The students began working on the project by diving into an in-depth research phase including a review of the community’s past and present culture, a thorough stakeholder analysis and patron interviews, a survey of other existing art tours, among other things. After compiling and sorting this information, the students began to redefine the project goals with more specificity and develop initial concepts for discussion.
Interviews with patrons described the neighborhood as “Midtown’s playground, a day and night carnival, a gathering place with a festival feel,” the “Heart and Soul” of Memphis, “Not a tourist place, it’s a Memphis place.” What the student discovered was that Overton Square was for everyone and so, the art tour should feel inclusive and accessible for all ages, lifestyles, and demographics.
About the Lab:
The Design Laboratory provides opportunities for students to work with existing organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, allowing students to obtain real world experience in the field of design. Functioning like a design agency, this course develops students’ interdisciplinary design and collaboration skills, examines agency roles in team-driven work, and develops project management skills, all critical skill sets in the profession.
Some of the final work included outdoor vinyl banners, a wayfinding map (in brochure format and outdoor directory format), a children’s activity book, color-in postcards, as well as a collateral package for all the businesses in the square.
In the press:
Memphis Daily News: MCA Students Design Overton Square Art Map
The Commercial Appeal: Art-filled Overton Square creates maps for self-guided tours