State of the Arts

An overview of exhibits, music, dance, theatre, and more.

Note: all area codes are 901


The Dixon Gallery and Gardens

4339 Park Avenue, 761-5250

Boasting a permanent collection that includes works by Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cezanne, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is continuing the lifelong devotion to the arts sparked by Margaret and Hugo Dixon, who left their home and 17-acre estate for Memphians and tourists to enjoy. The Georgian-style residence is surrounded by formal English gardens, open vistas, and woodland areas. Major exhibitions of paintings and sculpture are held throughout the year. Open-air concerts also are held periodically.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Overton Park, 544-6200

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art maintains a permanent collection that includes a print study room with more than 3,000 works of art on paper, as well as galleries filled with French Impressionism, Flemish and Italian Renaissance and Baroque, and twentieth-century art, making Brooks the oldest and largest fine-arts museum in Tennessee. In addition to a series of exhibitions held throughout the year, Brooks also hosts First Wednesdays, social events including entertainment that take place on the first Wednesday evenings of every month.

Memphis/Germantown Art League


The Memphis/Germantown Art League was formed in 1976 by ten artists meeting in Germantown. Since then, the membership has grown to almost 250 and spans Tennessee and three neighboring states. The purpose of this nonprofit organization is to aid its member artists in their professional growth and in the development of their artistic skills by providing exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations.

Memphis Jewish Community Center

6560 Poplar, 761-0810

Formed in 1949, the Memphis Jewish Community Center is a multipurpose complex serving more than 6,000 members in the Memphis area. In 2006-2007, the Shainberg Gallery at the MJCC will feature several exhibits consisting of mostly paintings and drawings.

National Ornamental Metal Museum

374 Metal Museum Drive, 774-6380

The National Ornamental Metal Museum celebrated its 25th year in 2004. Since its humble beginnings in a former military hospital, the museum's exhibits have continued to grow in size and stature over the years. A not-for-profit organization, the Museum relies on funding from the private sector as well as tuition received from classes and workshops. Exhibits at the museum change every two to three months.

Peabody Place Museum

119 S. Main, 523-2787

Housing one of the largest collections of artwork from the Q'ing dynasty, Peabody Place Museum also contains such rare items as an imperial cinnabar throne, intricate jade sculptures, and ivory masks. Accompanying activities often include Chinese musical performances, martial arts demonstrations, and calligraphy demonstrations. The museum was founded in 1998 by Memphians Jack and Marilyn Belz, who have been collecting Chinese art since 1968.

College and University Galleries

Galleries throughout the Memphis area offer a wide-ranging schedule of changing exhibitions, usually dedicated to art created by their students and faculty, but often bringing in important traveling exhibitions as well. Major galleries include:

The Art Museum OF the University of Memphis


The university's art gallery houses two permanent collections, "Egyptian Antiquities" and "The Spirit of Africa," as well as a wide range of temporary exhibits of contemporary art. Admission is free and guided tours are available for groups of up to 60.

Memphis College of Art

Overton Park, 272-5100

An art and design institution committed to recognizing and cultivating the diverse abilities of each student -- and to preparing them for a future that will utilize and appreciate their talents to the greatest extent. The gallery presents changing exhibitions -- often showcasing the work of faculty and students -- throughout the year.

Christian Brothers University Gallery and Museum

650 East Parkway South, 321-3432

A venue for temporary exhibits that display the work of both students and a variety of guest artists throughout the year.

Rhodes College Clough-Hanson Gallery

2000 North Parkway, 843-3442



Ballet Memphis

7950 Trinity Rd., 737-7322

Founded in 1985 by Dorothy Gunther Pugh as Memphis Concert Ballet, Ballet Memphis began with just two professional dancers and a $75,000 budget. Today, the company is the most successful ballet organization in the city's history. Ballet Memphis presents four shows a year at The Orpheum, while holding classes in classical ballet for all ages and levels.

Classical Ballet

3405 Summer Ave., 323-1947

Classical Ballet was founded in 1989 and is now part of the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. Members of this pre-professional company have won the Craft and Choreography Scholarship from the Southeastern Regional Ballet Festival.

Concerts International


Concerts International has been bringing chamber music from abroad to Memphis for 34 years.

Memphis Symphony Orchestra

3100 Walnut Grove Rd., 324-3627

Founded in 1952 as the Memphis Sin-fonietta, the Memphis Symphony Or-chestra has grown over the years into one of the city's most important cultural organizations. Today, more than 850 musicians, staff, and volunteers in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Chorus, the four separate orchestras within the Memphis Youth Symphony, and the Memphis Symphony League operate with a $3.8 million budget to present music to radio, television, and live audiences of more than half a million people annually.

Opera Memphis

6745 Wolf River Blvd., 257-3100

One of the oldest continuously running opera companies in the nation, Opera Memphis often enjoys full houses at the historic Orpheum Theatre. Performances are often in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.



Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center

3663 Appling Road, 385-6440

The Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center (BPACC) is more than a venue for business meetings and commercial functions; it boasts a performance schedule that spans a diverse selection of disciplines in music and theatre. The BPACC also hosts an ongoing Family Series, a Sunday Jazz series, and a Dinnerstage series.

Buckman Performing and Fine Arts Center

60 Perkins Road, St. Mary's Episcopal School, 537-1486

Named after the philanthropist Mertie W. Buckman, this center on the campus of St. Mary's Episcopal School presents concert and dance series that continue throughout the year.

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

1801 Exeter Road, 757-7256

The Germantown Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) has been hosting excellent performances viewed by Mid-Southerners for 13 years. In addition, the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, directed by Michael Stern, boasts a tradition of noteworthy performances.

The Orpheum Theater

Main and Beale, 525-3000

The Orpheum proudly stands as one of the original downtown theaters of Memphis and one of the premiere performing-arts centers in the Mid-South. In addition to bringing Broadway productions and a wide array of other entertainers to the area, The Orpheum also hosts local companies such as Ballet Memphis and Opera Memphis.



Rhodes College McCoy Theatre

2000 North Parkway, 843-3839

A student-composed cast and crew stage about four productions per year, inviting established actors from the Memphis community to act alongside them and share their acquired knowledge of both the business and craft of drama.

University of Memphis Theatre and Dance

678-2576 / 678-3184

Annually offers a full season of performances that includes plays and dance concerts, featuring both students and faculty.

Poplar Pike Playhouse

7653 Poplar Pike, 755-7775

The Poplar Pike Playhouse at German-town High School has received wide acclaim for the level of dramatic performance and training it has achieved. Actors coming out of the program have appeared on Broadway and on television, including Saturday Night Live.

Playhouse on the Square and Circuit Playhouse

51 S. Cooper (Playhouse), 1711 Poplar (Circuit), 726-4656

A company of professional actors who live in the Memphis area prepares and produces a variety of shows throughout the year at two primary venues, Play-house on the Square and The Circuit Playhouse.

Theatre Memphis

630 Perkins Extd., 682-8323

Theatre Memphis is the longest-running community theatre company in the area, with a main stage and the intimate setting of Next Stage, formerly known as The Little Theatre.


2085 Monroe, 274-7139

TheatreWorks is made up of five organizations: Playwright's Forum, Emerald Theatre Company, Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe, Memphis Black Rep-ertory Theatre, and Voices of the South. The Playwright's Forum is a nonprofit organization which introduces new plays that focus on writing, directing, and performing with minimum scenery. Dealing with controversial issues is one of the goals of the Emerald Theatre Company, while Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe creates dialogue about mental health and an outlet for expression. TheatreWorks' newest company, Voices of the South, is an organization of actors, directors, and visual artists who work together to explore and stage the music inherent in short stories, novels, and poetry. TheatreWorks offers its stage and rehearsal hall for rent and shares a box office with Playhouse on the Square.



Some of the best treasures can be found in smaller places. The work of some of the South's finest painters, sculptors, and photographers is frequently displayed and sold at privately owned galleries around town. Various studios and galleries also provide an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents.



Albers Fine Art Gallery -- 624-2144

Automatic Slim's Tonga Club (restaurant with gallery) -- 525-7948

David Lusk Gallery --, 767-3800

David Mah Studio -- www.davidmahstudio, 272-8880

Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts Studio --, 522-9483

Durden Gallery --, 543-0340

Jack Kenner Photography --, 722-8877

Jamie Dunham Gallery --, 274-4828

Java Cabana (coffeehouse with gallery) --, 272-7210

Lisa Kurts Gallery --, 683-6200

Midtown Artist Market Gallery --, 355-1735

Otherlands Cafe (coffeehouse and gift shop) -- 278-4994

Perry Nicole Fine Art --, 405-6000



Dance Works --, 452-8811 / 333-5174



Beethoven Club Series --, 274-2504

Calvary and the Arts --, 525-6602

Lindenwood Concerts --, 458-1652

Memphis Chamber Music Society --, 758-0150

Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble --, 458-9766



Barnes & Noble -- 794-9394 (Winchester), 386-2468 (Wolfchase)

Bookstar -- 323-9332

Borders Books and Music -- 754-0770

Brentano's -- 763-1945

Burke's Book Store -- 278-7484

DaviS-Kidd Booksellers -- 683-9801

Java Cabana -- 272-7210

River City Writers Series -- 678-4591

Waldenbooks -- 373-5301 (Wolfchase), 360-8023 (Hickory Ridge)

Xanadu Book Store -- 274-9885



Bartlett Community Theatre -- www.bartlettcommunitytheatreorg, 484-2646

Germantown Community Theatre --, 754-2680

Lucile Ewing Children's Theatre -- 452-3968

Memphis Black Repertory Theatre -- 274-7139

Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe -- 274-1000

Playwright's Forum -- 725-2040



Blues Foundation -- Sponsors events that promote the blues., 527-2583.

Center for Southern Folklore -- Downtown venue offers live music, coffee and beer bar, retail shop, and a museum., 525-3655.

Cordova Cellars -- Wooded setting offers a tranquil performing-arts venue. 754-3442.

LANTANA PROJECTS -- A residency program for international visual artists that allows art enthusiasts a chance to meet and interact with the artists., 550-8925.

Harrell Performing Arts Theatre -- The town of Collierville's concert hall and cultural center offers musical, theatrical, and dance performances as well as community classes., 853-3228.

Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. -- At the FireHouse Community Arts Center, the Alliance offers a wide selection of classes, as well as a venue for performers., 948-9522.

Memphis Pink Palace Family of Museums -- Between the Pink Palace and Museum, the IMAX Theatre, Sharpe Planetarium, Magevney and Mallory-Neely Houses, and the Lichterman Nature Center, the Pink Palace Family hosts various arts programming all year long. One popular event is the annual Crafts Fair in October., 320-6365.

Greater Memphis Arts Council -- 578-2787, The Greater Memphis Arts Council is the ninth-largest United Arts Fund in the nation and raises some $3 million annually to support local arts. The Arts Council provides operating funding for more than 20 local arts groups, including Ballet Memphis, Opera Memphis, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Theatre Memphis, and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Through "Arts Build Community" grants funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC), the Arts Council also supports a wide array of projects that help make the arts more accessible throughout the community. Among these is the Arts Council's Arts Access program, through which free tickets to selected arts events are made available for TennCare and Church Health Center patients as well as food stamp recipients. In addition, the Arts Council administers its own Arts for Children and Teachers initiative, as well as a TAC-funded student ticket subsidy program that brings music, dance, drama, and visual arts to thousands of area schoolchildren every year.

South Main Arts District -- In recent years, old warehouses and stores in a once-neglected area of downtown Memphis have been refurbished into shops, restaurants, and galleries. On the last Friday of every month, visitors can hop aboard the Main Street trolleys for tours of the area's many art galleries, which include:

Art Village Studio and Gallery -- 410 South Main, 521-0782

D'Edge Art & Unique Treasures -- 550 South Main, 521-0054

Delta Axis Power House -- 45 G.E. Patterson, 578-5545

Disciple Gallery -- 390 South Main, 386-4299

Glasshouse 383 -- 383 South Main, 527-0055

Hollis Arts Studio & Gallery -- 408 South Front #104, 522-8300

Jack Robinson Gallery & Archive -- 44 Huling, 576-0708

Jay Etkin Gallery -- 409 South Main, 543-0035

Joysmith Studio -- 46 Huling, 543-0505

Leigh's Art Gallery -- 546 South Main, 461-3135

Memphis Heritage, Inc. -- 509 South Main, 529-9828

Rivertown Gallery -- 125 South Main, 527-7573

SubSpaceSouth -- 502 South Main, 713-501-2882

Sue Layman Designs -- 125 G.E. Patterson, 527-2872

UniversalArt Gallery -- 111 G.E. Patterson, 522-9398 

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