project overview

Dunbar Elementary Sculpture Project

Artist: Desmond Lewis

Budget: $65,000

Most recent benchmark/update: Contract executed with Lewis. Lewis is beginning engagement activities with the Orange Mound neighborhood to refine his proposal and concept.

Upcoming benchmark: Schematic design approval.

project description

the need to recognize....the important hand that the children of Dunbar have in becoming the next leaders of Orange Mound
— Desmond Lewis

UAC and the City of Memphis commissioned Memphis artist, Desmond Lewis, to create a public art project in the Orange Mound community at Dunbar Elementary. The project includes seating and a sculpture using handprints from students at Dunbar Elementary and honoring the history of the Orange Mound Community.


Lewis’s concept for the project “stems from the need to recognize the rich culture of the Orange Mound Community as well as acknowledging the important hand that the children of Dunbar Elementary have in becoming the next leaders of Orange Mound, the city of Memphis, the United States, and Our World.“

Lewis will begin an extensive period of community engagement in October 2018 with Orange Mound residents, community organizations, and students at Dunbar Elementary, hoping to acquire over 300 student handprints and have a nominated group of residents who will be featured in the sculpture.

The project is funded through City of Memphis’ percent-for-art program in partnership with UAC to create public art projects across Memphis neighborhoods.

about the artist

selection committee

LueElla Marshall - Orange Mound Arts Council; Joyce Dorse-Coleman - Orange Mound Arts Council; Matthew Pitts - City of Memphis Traffic Engineering; Kelly Hatton - Shelby County Schools; Quinn McGowan - Artist; Gerard Harris - Artist; Deepti Deshpande - Self + Tucker Architects; Elizabeth Thompson-Bringle - City of Memphis Engineering (non-voting)