Bright Spot: Local woman works to bring art cafe to South Memphis neighborhood

Bright Spot
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — They say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and that appears to be the case along Kansas Street in the South Memphis neighborhood.

Shattered glass, broken windows. It doesn’t look like this house has much to offer.

“I was born in there. At this house right here.”

It’s right across from Ollie Bradshaw’s home. She’s lived here for decades and remembers everyone who has ever lived on the street. She’s also witnessed tremendous change over the years.

“It`s a lot of change. Don`t want nothing. Don`t want to work to have something. These people worked hard on jobs.”

So when Veverly Edwards came to Ms. Bradshaw with an idea to turn the house into an arts cafe, she thought it would change so much for the community.

Aaminthiss Smith has lived in this neighborhood for the 30 years and attends the church next door. She said on top of being a poverty stricken area, the neighborhood was place with a lot of gang violence.

“There`s a need here to rebuild, to reach the people.”

Reaching the people is all Edwards is trying to do.

As she walked WREG’s Troy Washington around the house, she shared her vision.

“Art is a great way to give voice to people. Art is a great way to help heal from trauma and tragedy.”

She said she knows something about art’s healing potential. In 2007, her daughter was permanently disabled after a stroke. She started writing as a way to channel her emotions.

“I want the youth to know to feel good about who you are, you bring something very special to the table. People like your culture,like they like your music, your art so there has to be something unique about you.”

She still has a lot of work to do on this future art cafe, but she hopes her goal of engaging and educating the community will reduce all of the negativity some may have about the neighborhood.

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