In 2009, there was a nation-wide call to artists for an outdoor sculpture at a new property here in Memphis, across from the new LeBonhuer Children's Hospital. The client wanted something that would reflect the history of the old neighborhood. The old neighborhood was Dixie Homes, a property that back in the 30's was full of family, friends, baseball, music.. good fun. Sometime in the 60's, drugs started to move in and like so many other places in our country, the neighborhood that had once been turned into a run down part of "the projects". When the decision was made to relocate tenants, tear down and rebuild the neighborhood, it was important to the past residents that still had reunions there every year to be remembered for the vibrant community they had once been. So, i took lots of notes as they talked about the neighborhood and what I walked away with was this- the old name Dixie Homes was being done away with- forobvious reasons. And the new name would be Legends Park- a reflection of the legends and legendary stories that have come from this neighborhood. There once was a bayou that ran through the property called Quimby Bayou where everyone would gather and socialize. Through misunderstandings, slang or just general nick naming- the bayou became known as the "Queen Bee Bayou". Baseball was a huge part of the community and two of the young men that grew up in Dixie Homes went on to form the first Negro Minor League baseball team. Community and socializing both were important to the residents there and music was a big part of that. And last but not least, there seemed to be an immense amount of pride that pulsed through that community and still exists today in the residents that are living to tell the stories.
This is the sketch I came up with and was chosen for the project.