Interview with Number: 81 – Art of the South guest editor Elaine Akin

Elaine Slayton Akin is currently working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. She is the guest editor of the 81st issue of Number: Inc. magazine. A former member of the Board for Number: Inc., Elaine received a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of Memphis and has continually worked in the arts pretty much everywhere Number: Inc. magazine covers (Memphis, Little Rock, AR, and now Nashville). I met up with her recently after an East Side Storytellin’ literary/music event that I hosted that she and her husband Tim attended, and we discussed our mutual love of Number: and how the art of the South has pleasantly affected our worlds and how we see everything.

Can you give me a short bio as if you were making a new website for your life right now?

Picture of Elaine Akin

Elaine Akin, photo courtesy of Heather Canterbury

My “right now” is all about being new in Nashville, so I’d say I’m an Arkansas transplant navigating my way through Music City and hoping to take in as many art, culture, and people experiences as possible in the process.  It’s ironic—I never thought that moving away would put me more in touch with my roots.  I just started a new position at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and am now constantly surrounded by…wait for it…country music; catching bits and pieces of early ‘90s songs by George Strait, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, or Trisha Yearwood as I walk through the building reminds me of my very Southern, very rural childhood.  Although I miss Little Rock for a myriad of reasons, I couldn’t be more excited about this adventure and opportunity to explore a totally new slice of the South.

Maybe tell us a little more about yourself beyond the bio too: interests, goals, and fun things you haven’t done or accomplished yet but want to do so going forward, in art and life in general.

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Face It Memphis!

Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery
Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN
August 15, 2014- October 2, 2014

A coextensive space was created in this quaint gallery on the bottom floor of the Plough Library at Christian Brothers University. This surprisingly intimate and relatable show made of 106 Memphian faces was exhibited by a group of nineteen photographers from the Memphis Camera Club. The photography cohesively represented a selected, diverse body of men, women, and children. The demographics were varying.

Memphis Camera Club, Face It Memphis!, Black and White Photography. Photo Courtesy of Kirill Mazor.

Memphis Camera Club, Face It Memphis!, Black and White Photography. Photo Courtesy of Kirill Mazor.

Memphis Camera Club, Face It Memphis!, Black and White Photography. Photo Courtesy of Kirill Mazor.

Memphis Camera Club, Face It Memphis!, Black and White Photography. Photo Courtesy of Kirill Mazor.

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Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross

Art Museum of the University of Memphis

September 19, 2014 – November 26, 2014

www.juvenile-in-justice.com/

 Entrance to the Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross exhibition at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis. Photograph courtesy of AMUM.

Entrance to the Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross exhibition at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis. Photograph courtesy of AMUM.

Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross was on view last fall at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) last fall.
More than aesthetically pleasing compositions, Ross’ project explored the living histories of over 1,000 children and teenagers at over 200 institutions in 31 states. An experienced photographer and a recipient of both the prestigious Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, Ross contextualized his images with captivating text and excerpts from interviews. Rich in content, the exhibition leaned heavily to the documentary side of photography—providing the viewer with what appeared to be a rather truthful depiction of America’s youth and their relationship with our legal system and state facilities.
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Regional Update: Mississippi

Chris-Martin-Candied-Culture-2014

Chris Martin, Candied Culture, 2014

The Mississippi Museum of Art currently has three noteworthy exhibitions on view, with the famous American painter Robert Henri as the focal point of two. Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain, located in the Donna and Jim Barksdale Galleries, includes forty paintings of Henri’s created while living in Spain. Henri’s Spanish portraits reveal inspiration from Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya.   

Regional Update: Memphis

Jay-Lance-Turner-GoSouthMain-Mosaic-Artwalk

A spartan, one story, open plan office building out east was retrofit through November 12 with a selection of art that belies typical 9 to 5 workspace eye candy. This is due to the space being the hub of ArtsMemphis, the area’s leading arts fundraising organization (its spokes, the variety of arts communities citywide it supports). The particular art came by way of TOPS Gallery, on view with the purpose “to bring TOPS’ affiliated artists to ArtsMemphis’ friends and donors”.

The TOPS Gallery experience itself is something all together different. continue reading »