Local artist Kong Wee Pang has been selected to lead a lighting and mural installation to be located at the I-40 Underpass at North Main Street near the Convention Center.
A selection committee consisting of Memphis artists Anthony Lee and Greely Myatt, Brett Roler of Downtown Memphis Commission, Frank Ricks of Looney Ricks Kiss, Tanja Mitchell an Uptown Neighborhood representative, Colin McDoniel of Dichot Architecture, Paul Young of the City's division of Housing and Community Development, Lauren Kennedy of UrbanArt Commission, and Michael Rowland of St. Jude selected Pang from four finalists. Pang was chosen based on criteria outlined in a Request for Qualifications released as a national call for artists by UrbanArt Commission in May.
As the project funders, Downtown Memphis Commission seeks to create a welcoming and active passageway connecting the Pinch District to the heart of Downtown. With major developments in both areas planned, the underpass project will enhance the pedestrian experience for tourists and residents alike, encouraging patronage of the many local businesses and restaurants in the area.
“I’m excited for Kong Wee to have this opportunity to expand her practice,” said Lauren Kennedy, executive director of the UrbanArt Commission. “She’s proven herself a strong muralist, so I’m looking forward to this development of her work as part of a radical change to the underpass space. We are very grateful to DMC for this opportunity.”
Pang’s colorful plans for the $161,500 underpass project include the use of durable outdoor sequins, which can be seen at her Love Doves Sequin Mural in Overton Square. The sequin material is not widely used in artistic works in the United States, making Pang’s projects as unique as they are captivating. In addition to her mural and sequin work, Pang will utilize local contractors to complete lighting work, ensuring the artwork is visible day and night. Pang’s past work also includes the I Love Memphis mural in Crosstown, an interior mural at Planned Parenthood, an artistic Duck Walk crosswalk at the Memphis River Front, as well as myriad graphic design and illustration work.
“This is an important project in a key area within Downtown and we are thrilled by the selection of local artist, Kong Wee,” stated Jennifer Oswalt, interim president of the Downtown Memphis Commission. “Adding lighting and an artistic treatment to this underpass will be a major step forward in our efforts to enhance walkability in Downtown.”
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