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Tops Gallery, in Downtown Memphis is located on Front Street. The wonderful gallery offers a great platform for budding and well-known artists from many genres of contemporary visual arts. Open for walk-ins on Saturdays, between 1p and 6p, Tops Gallery has a busy schedule with many exhibitions and other events lined up all year. The cultural space remains open for prior-fixed appointments all week and has showcased immensely talented artists like Victoria Sambunaris, Chris Dorland and Sarah Jones, to name a few.
Situated in the growing art center of Memphis, local artist Jay Etkin takes the Memphis experience one step further at his gallery. He does so by featuring a large selection of hard-to-find Southern contemporary art, something which Etkin says sets this gallery apart. Works in different media by a variety of established and up-and-coming artists can be found in the collection, along with ones by the proprietor himself, who has a national following. Pieces range from ones that even a student could afford, to works meant more for the serious collector.
The National Ornamental Metal Museum is the only one in the country dedicated to ornamental metalwork. Exhibits often include such diverse objects as silver tea services, swords, jewelry and weathervanes. See a blacksmith at work forging works of art. An annual exhibit in May features the fantastic devices people use to barbecue, timed to coincide with the Memphis in May Barbecue Contest. The museum is set in a lovely spot on the banks of the Mississippi, and the lawns are sometimes used for weddings and other private parties.
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" exhibit for vision-impaired visitors. Temporary exhibits include a patriotic show held during the Memphis in May Festival. The restaurant, the Brushmark, is a fine place to lunch, especially when the outside patio is open, which looks out on Overton Park.
In honor of the ancient Egyptian counterpart to the modern American city of Memphis, the local university maintains a museum featuring a good representation of the usual items from the City by the Nile, including a mummy, papyrus, and various implements and household goods. Another permanent exhibit is the Spirit of Africa, which has artifacts and sculptures from West Africa. In addition - and somewhat unexpectedly - the museum houses an interesting collection of miniatures of American furniture and a good smattering of American and European prints.
This gallery is in the middle of an upscale strip mall on the well travelled Poplar corridor. It often features local up and coming artists such as Peter Bowman, art instructor at the Memphis University School for boys and photography artist Huger Foote. Other established artists, such as the nationally acclaimed local artist Carrol Cloar who passed away in 1993, are also represented here. Exhibit openings at David Lusk Gallery feature wine and the chance to rub elbows with knowledgeable art patrons.