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Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Arts: Art Scene in Memphis

Discounts

African-American jazz and blues artists called Memphis home for generations before Elvis Presley recorded here in the 1950’s, altering forever the course of American popular music. While the city’s musical heritage is the main draw for visitors, classical dance and an intriguing visual arts scene are also on display in Memphis.

Arts Info

  • GoMemphis—Coverage of music, movies, the arts, and more
  • ArtsMemphis—Attractive website with a comprehensive event calendar that covers art, music, theater, dance, poetry, film, festivals, and other arts events.

Art Museums

Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Dixon Gallery and Gardens

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens specializes in collecting Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and decorative arts, including artists of these schools that are not as recognizable to the general public, such as French artist Jean-Louis Forain (the museum recently acquired 56 of his works). Housed in the former home of Margaret Oates Dixon and Hugo Norton Dixon, the 17-acre wooded …more…

The Brooks Museum

The Brooks Museum

Opened to the public in 1916, the Brooks Museum is the oldest fine arts museum in the state, housing works from antiquity to the contemporary. It is located in the heart of Memphis in the historic Overton Park district in a 86,000-square-foot building.

The museum’s permanent collection boasts works from, among others, Camille Pissaro, Renoir, Winslow Homer, and Robert Motherwell, and is focused on Italian Renaissance …more…

Theater

Circuit Playhouse

Circuit Playhouse

Circuit Playhouse might be viewed as Memphis’s “Off-Broadway” house. Founded several years before its partner theater, Playhouse on the Square, located just down the block on South Cooper Street, Circuit presents well regarded productions of lesser known, more innovative works than those that tend to be seen at Playhouse or Theatre Memphis (a popular local community theater).

Circuit opened near the …more…

Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square, an outgrowth of Circuit Playhouse, opened in 1975. The theatre has become well known for its student matinee series and for an intern program that today includes 12 college graduates hired to assist in all phases of production.

In 1990, Playhouse on the Square instituted the city’s first independent theatre school with classes for children, teens, and …more…

Voices of the South

Voices of the South

A non-profit, ensemble-based touring company, Voices of the South was founded in 1995 with the primary goal of offering theatrical productions that utilize the “narrative” style. Rather than cutting, splicing, or altering the words of important writers as set down in their books and stories, the ensemble keeps the language intact. The company has adapted and performed works by such …more…

Classical Music

Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Memphis Symphony Orchestra

What is now known as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) began as the Memphis Sinfonietta in 1952.  The orchestra presents programming for students of all ages, from its Kinderconcerts for five to seven-year-olds to MSO Ensemble Concerts for high school students, as well as its mentoring program for students at The Soulsville Charter School.

More traditional concerts are supplemented by the MSO’s Opus One series, helmed by the musicians themselves, which …more…

Opera

Opera Memphis

Opera Memphis

In 1956, Elvis Presley burst on the American music scene with “Heartbreak Hotel.” That same year Opera Memphis came into existence, albeit with considerably less fanfare than The King. It began modestly, combining locally-produced operas and touring shows from the Met. It began adding top-drawer international talent in the 1970s and now has its own “Queen.” That’s Memphis-based Kallen Esperian, …more…

Dance

Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis is a regional company whose productions include a combination of evening-length story ballets and repertory concerts. Their seasons regularly feature new commissions from up-and-coming choreographers and from well-known American choreographers such as Trey McIntyre. The company has performed at prestigious U.S. venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater and has toured internationally in France and Canada. They are one of only two ballet companies in …more…

Venues

Buckman Arts Center

Buckman Arts Center

A PAC on the grounds of an all-girl parochial school – this, on its face, might not seem like much of a recipe for excitement, especially in the town that gave us Johnny Cash, Beale Street, and Stax Records. If, however, you’re in the mood to catch some contemporary dance, or some folk and world music, it’s worth taking a look at the Buckman’s calendar. The two-story, 35,000 square foot …more…

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

Opened in 1994, the Germantown Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) is part of a major civic facility, including the Germantown Community Center, which had long been a dream of community members and leaders alike.  Its gala opening featured a performance by Ray Charles.

GPAC features an acoustically fine-tuned, 900-seat concert hall with sprung pine stage, black box recording studio, and a grand …more…

The Orpheum

The Orpheum

The story of Memphis’ Orpheum theatre began in 1890 with the construction of the Grand Opera House.   Vaudeville was the most popular form of entertainment at the time and the theatre featured music, magic, comedy, and many other forms of entertainment.  It became part of the Orpheum vaudeville network in 1907, and so was popularly known as the Orpheum.  In …more…

Art Museums

Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Dixon Gallery and Gardens

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens specializes in collecting Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and decorative arts, including artists of these schools that are not as recognizable to the general public, such as French artist Jean-Louis Forain (the museum recently acquired 56 of his works). Housed in the former home of Margaret Oates Dixon and Hugo Norton Dixon, the 17-acre wooded …more…

The Brooks Museum

The Brooks Museum

Opened to the public in 1916, the Brooks Museum is the oldest fine arts museum in the state, housing works from antiquity to the contemporary. It is located in the heart of Memphis in the historic Overton Park district in a 86,000-square-foot building.

The museum’s permanent collection boasts works from, among others, Camille Pissaro, Renoir, Winslow Homer, and Robert Motherwell, and is focused on Italian Renaissance …more…

Theater

Circuit Playhouse

Circuit Playhouse

Circuit Playhouse might be viewed as Memphis’s “Off-Broadway” house. Founded several years before its partner theater, Playhouse on the Square, located just down the block on South Cooper Street, Circuit presents well regarded productions of lesser known, more innovative works than those that tend to be seen at Playhouse or Theatre Memphis (a popular local community theater).

Circuit opened near the …more…

Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square, an outgrowth of Circuit Playhouse, opened in 1975. The theatre has become well known for its student matinee series and for an intern program that today includes 12 college graduates hired to assist in all phases of production.

In 1990, Playhouse on the Square instituted the city’s first independent theatre school with classes for children, teens, and …more…

Voices of the South

Voices of the South

A non-profit, ensemble-based touring company, Voices of the South was founded in 1995 with the primary goal of offering theatrical productions that utilize the “narrative” style. Rather than cutting, splicing, or altering the words of important writers as set down in their books and stories, the ensemble keeps the language intact. The company has adapted and performed works by such …more…

Classical Music

Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Memphis Symphony Orchestra

What is now known as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) began as the Memphis Sinfonietta in 1952.  The orchestra presents programming for students of all ages, from its Kinderconcerts for five to seven-year-olds to MSO Ensemble Concerts for high school students, as well as its mentoring program for students at The Soulsville Charter School.

More traditional concerts are supplemented by the MSO’s Opus One series, helmed by the musicians themselves, which …more…

Opera

Opera Memphis

Opera Memphis

In 1956, Elvis Presley burst on the American music scene with “Heartbreak Hotel.” That same year Opera Memphis came into existence, albeit with considerably less fanfare than The King. It began modestly, combining locally-produced operas and touring shows from the Met. It began adding top-drawer international talent in the 1970s and now has its own “Queen.” That’s Memphis-based Kallen Esperian, …more…

Dance

Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis is a regional company whose productions include a combination of evening-length story ballets and repertory concerts. Their seasons regularly feature new commissions from up-and-coming choreographers and from well-known American choreographers such as Trey McIntyre. The company has performed at prestigious U.S. venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater and has toured internationally in France and Canada. They are one of only two ballet companies in …more…

Venues

Buckman Arts Center

Buckman Arts Center

A PAC on the grounds of an all-girl parochial school – this, on its face, might not seem like much of a recipe for excitement, especially in the town that gave us Johnny Cash, Beale Street, and Stax Records. If, however, you’re in the mood to catch some contemporary dance, or some folk and world music, it’s worth taking a look at the Buckman’s calendar. The two-story, 35,000 square foot …more…

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

Opened in 1994, the Germantown Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) is part of a major civic facility, including the Germantown Community Center, which had long been a dream of community members and leaders alike.  Its gala opening featured a performance by Ray Charles.

GPAC features an acoustically fine-tuned, 900-seat concert hall with sprung pine stage, black box recording studio, and a grand …more…

The Orpheum

The Orpheum

The story of Memphis’ Orpheum theatre began in 1890 with the construction of the Grand Opera House.   Vaudeville was the most popular form of entertainment at the time and the theatre featured music, magic, comedy, and many other forms of entertainment.  It became part of the Orpheum vaudeville network in 1907, and so was popularly known as the Orpheum.  In …more…