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Karen Golightly

Painting the Town

Karen Golightly is the Director of Paint Memphis, Memphis Reads, and Fresh Reads. She is also a professor at Christian Brothers University. She’s been a resident in Memphis since 1987 and she has brought change and seen change happen throughout the years she’s been in Memphis, most of it being a change in how Art is displayed in community spaces. She is especially drawn to public art because it makes art the most accessible to all. According to Golightly, she sees art as something that is essential to raising the spirits of a community. She also notes that art makes more space for creativity and less space for chaotic activity.  Art to her is an act of expression that allows someone to see the world differently even if it’s just for the moment.

“Art is one of the things in life that everybody can enjoy no matter your socioeconomic background, your race, ethnicity, where you live or how you live,” says Karen Golightly.

Golightly further theorizes that art is not just about expressing what goes on inside an Artist’s
head. Art expresses what is going on around the artist’s daily life. For Memphis in particularly,
Golightly has seen firsthand how art transitions from expression to vocalized messages about anything from harmony to civic unrest.

A famous greek graffiti person said, ‘if you want to learn about a city, look at it’s walls…



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