Theaster Gates to create a "multi-part artistic intervention" in Tom Lee Park

Gina Butkovich
Memphis Commercial Appeal
View Comments
This rendering of the proposed changes to Tom Lee Park shows the area around the Tom Lee Memorial.

Through a $1.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Memphis River Parks Partnership has commissioned Theaster Gates to create a "multi-part artistic intervention" in the renovated Tom Lee Park. 

The art piece, called "A Monument to Listening" will be built in two custom-designed spaces in the park.

The grant has been given as a part of the Mellon foundation's "Monuments Project" and the money will be spent on the design and construction of the artwork as well as funding a series of community-generated programs and events. 

Gates is an award-winning artist based in Chicago and has been exhibited across the world. 

“A Monument to Listening is my attempt at leveraging the traditional monument to new potentials, while honoring and celebrating the heroic actions of Tom Lee,” Gates said in a press release. “I want Tom Lee to be remembered as the human who saw other human lives as equally valuable as – if not more valuable than – his own, and to invite people to visit the site and have the same encounter with their own humanity. This is my small contribution to the possibility of healing.”

The renovations to Tom Lee Park, which stated in late 2020 are expected to be completed in mid-2023.

View Comments