Farmer's Market Mural Design

[click on photo for better view]

Over the past few weeks, partly due to the typical Memphis weather this time of year, the library construction wall mural has been put on hold until next week and the students have been working on design proposals for the Memphis Farmer’s Market mural downtown. Two weeks ago, the students divided into groups of five to work together to develop three successful mock-ups to present to the Memphis Farmers Market Board. While collaborating as a whole class (16 people!) worked well for designing the construction wall mural, I think we all found that working in small groups had its advantages as well—it seemed to be the case that many students found the process of collaborating in smaller groups to be easier and more efficient. In smaller teams, students could bounce ideas off of each other, and it also gave some, who may not be as vocal in a large group, the chance to better express their thoughts. While each group had their own, unique way of executing their designs, the main commonality was our ole friend, Photoshop. This made the process of duplicating, resizing, rearranging and tweaking the images used for the collage infinitely easier; and though Photoshop can be (let’s be honest) frustrating at times, it allowed the students to create cohesive designs.

However, creating cohesive designs was undoubtedly a challenge, as they were working from a 1-inch to 1-foot scale, making the mock-ups over 11 feet long and only a few inches high! —Essentially, a long, skinny, sliver of a space. So clearly, designing for this vertically challenged wall was not an easy task, yet each of the three groups managed to come up with a distinct, successful and creative mural proposal, if I do say so myself, to present to the board. Not only did they have to work with the restrictions of the space itself, but they also had to consider specific design instructions. Though the guidelines still allowed for artistic freedom, the students were instructed by MFM and MATA (Memphis Area Transit Authority) to include imagery specific to the South Main/Front Street area, public transportation-related images (like trolleys or busses), images specific to the actual Farmer’s Market, and images that relate to the Memphis community as a whole. The mural also must help establish landmarks downtown, respect neighborhood identity and the unique character of downtown, and enhance the surrounding environment. Yesterday in class, the students dry-ran their proposals for a few members of the MFM board and on the 13th, they will be giving their presentations for the entire board. Both MFM and MATA are required to approve the design, along with the Center City Commission and DRB (Design Review Board—responsible for reviewing and approving exterior public art for projects that receive a DMC incentive and for public projects within the Central Business Improvement District).

As stated on their Facebook page, MFM ‘is a weekly non-profit outdoor market featuring local farmers and artisans, live music and fun activities,’ running from mid-April through October from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and located at Front Street and GE Patterson.

[click on photo for better view]

A few weeks ago, I went out to the site to take measurements and pictures of every angle of both walls that the students are designing for, which took long than expected, seeing as how the length of both walls combined is nearly 300 feet! Another design challenge is that the height of each wall varies from side to side...it's only about 1.5 feet at its lowest point, and 5 at its highest, not to mention there are two blocks protruding from the right side of wall A and left side of wall B that need to be somehow incorporated into the design. Clearly, each group had their work cut out for them, but the results are stunning--specifics and pictures of each group’s proposals are soon to come!

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