The Uptown Community Mural at the Bake Shop features a vibrant display of life, reflecting modern times while still honoring Uptown's historical past. The artist's home is less than three miles from the site, so Hart was invested in making this project an outstanding example of the community in Uptown.
Hart was inspired by the balancing act of urban renewal, between the growing momentum of Uptown development and the importance of preserving the neighborhood's local history and identity. He included multiple symbols specific to Uptown and the site. For example, swathes of Herringbone pavement repeat throughout the design, honoring the original 30 block layout of Greenlaw herringbone brick sidewalks. Sycamore leaves represent the original trees that lined the streets of Chelsea (now Uptown) in the 19th century. Some still stand today, as a symbol of perseverance in a neighborhood with a difficult and complex past. Bicycle wheels and other circular shapes symbolize the neighborhood's forward momentum and aspirations as a healthy, eco- friendly place to live. Finally, bialy rolls are included, which are small rolls traditional in Poland. The Rosenbergs (the longtime operators of the bakery) were originally from Poland, so it is likely that bialys would have been made around the time the business was owned by the Rosenberg family. The overall image is a dynamic and inviting balance of color, abstract shape and representation.
About the Artist
Jonathan Hart is an art instructor and professional artist from Memphis, TN. He has been involved in public artwork and community outreach projects since 2004. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Memphis College Art, where he teaches Foundations Drawing and Advanced Placement for high school students.