Building Momentum:Arrow Creative
Mission: Arrow makes art more accessible in order to inspire the creative spirit in all Memphians. We are a premier source of
creative entrepreneur enrichment, arts education, and art immersion for the entire community.
Year founded: 2012 Website: Arrowcreative.org Number of people served: 1,500 Annual budget: $460,000
Not all fashion runways are in Paris or New York City. Since 2012, Memphis Fashion Week has lifted up local fashion designers and has been the foundation for Arrow Creative, a nonprofit organization that is working to unleash the creative spirit of Memphis. Originally, the Memphis Fashion Week event offered local designers an outlet to promote their products while also raising money to establish a fashion design certificate program at Memphis College of Art. With Memphis College of Art now gone, the event still allows designers the ability to show off their newest creations in front of an adoring crowd that otherwise wouldn’t exist without the organization’s continued support of the creative community.
The event was the start of something even bigger. When Abby Phillips, founder of Memphis Fashion Week, began a collaboration with Dorothy Collier, the founder of Positively Creative, Arrow Creative was born. Arrow Creative has become a hub of creative activity and a space for creatives of all kinds in Memphis to collaborate, share, and innovate. Memphis Fashion week is now one of many programs offered by Arrow Creative. As the nonprofit has grown, so have the program offerings. The nonprofit organization now offers artist space, professional equipment memberships, creative community education, and even a summer camp for “mini-makers.”
The summer camp for mini-makers is a continuation of the summer camp offered previously by Memphis College of Art, and parents of creative children couldn’t be more excited. Though Memphis College of Art closed its doors in May of 2020, Arrow Creative is ensuring that creative outlets exist for up-and-coming youth makers. Though the pandemic forced the organization to take their education courses online, Arrow Creative is hosting their summer camp in-person for mini-makers ages 5-17. Classes include animation, painting and drawing, ceramics, photography and fashion design with each class geared for a specific age range. Arrow will host more than 300 students over the summer.
Arrow Creative is still growing, and their next big adventure will be to expand their space to a 23,000 square foot building that will house twenty artist studios and additional space for classes and administration. The organization will host a grand reopening at their location at 653 Philadelphia during this year’s Cooper Young Festival. If you are a creative spirit living in Memphis, be sure to check out all that Arrow Creative has to offer, and don’t forget to bring your mini-maker along with you. Thanks to Arrow Creative, Memphis has the ability to create space for collaborative creation among our most talented makers. Just think: we could have our next Halston, Warhol, or Eggleston in the making!
Kevin Dean is CEO of the Momentum Nonprofit Partners. He received his Ed.D
in Organizational Learning and Leadership from Vanderbilt University in 2021.
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