MMI Writes

MMI Works 2020 Summer Program Intern Projects

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Memphis is music. It’s a city inseparable from the creatives and musicians who have shaped its culture, changed its politics, and built and rebuilt communities across Shelby County, from Frayser to Soulsville and beyond. Memphis’ list of music bona fides is a mile long, and while we may not be the biggest city, our musical […]

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The MMI COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Student Art Commissions

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Over the past six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an outsized and devastating impact on artists and musicians. Memphis creatives—whether student artists or professionals—have lost income due to cancelled gigs, lessons, and more. So, back in April, Memphis Music Initiative established an Emergency Relief Fund to provide some short-term, immediate relief for the individual […]

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In a Year Unlike Any Other, Memphis Youth Remain Our Guiding Light

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As the new school year kicks off this week, it’s hard not to feel that familiar sense of transition. But this is not a normal year. Since the pandemic hit we’ve all been collectively transitioning away from outdated modes of thinking. We’ve been asked to examine our habits, need for interaction and compassion, and place […]

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Summer in the Virtual World: How the MMI Works Program Is Navigating the Pandemic with Intentionality

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This spring, thousands of Memphis students found themselves facing a very different sort of summer than they expected—one without big get-togethers with friends, trips to the mall, live concerts, or summer camps. And as COVID-19 continued to impact life in America, local organizations who provide those summertime experiences were confronted with a similar reality. So, […]

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An Open Letter: Memphis Nonprofits Demand Action

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The following open letter was written in response to the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others. It has been signed by leaders in the Memphis nonprofit community, with the aim of highlighting systemic oppression and amplifying the demands heard on streets across the nation.   Click here to view as […]

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Racial Equity in the Nonprofit Sector: When Funding Toes the Color Line

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In America, race underscores nearly every social, economic, and legislative policy we have in place. And while recent events have resulted in increased (white) awareness of racial injustices, for the Black community, these events have only highlighted the experiences and aggressions, both micro and macro, faced on a daily basis. Data from The Groundwater Approach […]

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In the Age of COVID-19, Art Remains

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The past few weeks have been a roller coaster—and that’s putting it mildly. As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the country, we’ve all had to re-evaluate even the most basic aspects of our daily lives, from grocery shopping and visiting family members to, yes, hand washing. These are certainly turbulent times. But […]

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MMI Fellow Spotlight: Meet Mike Mosby

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Welcome to MMI’s Fellow Spotlight series! Every other week we’ll be posting an interview with one of our amazing teaching artists. Not only do they lend their talents to support MMI and engage Memphis youth all over the city, but they’re also helping to build—and sustain—our arts ecosystem through their independent projects.  Today, meet Mike […]

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Memphis Takes Nashville: Arts Advocacy Day 2020

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Last week, Memphis Music Initiative took our show on the road. Our mission? To advocate for the arts and show our state legislators just how big an impact it has on our community. But we weren’t alone. Memphis was well-represented by local arts and community organizations, including: AngelStreet, Blues Foundation, Memphis Slim House, New Ballet […]

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Improving the work through equity in the board room

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by Sarah Lockridge-Steckel When we started the Memphis Music Initiative, we knew a few things were true. More than 26% of youth in Memphis’ underserved communities will not graduate from high school, and only 5% of youth have access to after-school music programming. This is critical because music is a powerful tool that can deepen […]

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