Anna Vergos Blair and Katherine Vergos Riederer grew up helping out at their family’s rib restaurant, The Rendezvous. But for their first entry into business, the two sisters chose something a little closer to home, making it easier for Memphians, and especially kids, to make art.
The Art Project will launch this summer at Overton Square. A place where parents can drop in with their children to work with multiple art media, the business will also offer classes taught by local artists, parties, retail, digitization and printing services for creative products and will feature coffee and snacks.
“I love my kids creating art, but hate wrecking the house every time they do,” said Anna, a 33-year old mother of two and lawyer. When she proposed the idea to her sister Katherine, an artist holding a degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and expecting her first child later this summer, Katherine immediately saw the potential and the two began collaborating.
The idea evolved during the spring with help from family friends and artists. The sisters eventually chose Overton Square as the location because of its geographic center in Midtown, vibrancy and opportunity for collaboration with other businesses. They chose the two remaining ground floor bays facing the courtyard, where ample space for outdoor projects exists within close proximity to the parking garage. Taylor Berger of Newmark Grubb Memphis represented Anna and Katherine; Loeb Properties is the landlord.
“The space design was extremely important to us,” said Katherine of their decision to hire their friend and San Francisco architect Dom Price. “Dom is a mom too, and really understood that this had to be a place to inspire kids and parents, that it had to be clean and organized but encourage the chaos of creativity.” The centerpiece of the design is the “scribble space,” a circular form made of wood that houses shelves and seating for up to twelve, ideally situated for both instruction and autonomy.
The Art Project is slated to open in June or July. For now, you can follow their progress online at the website www.artprojectmemphis.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/artprojectmemphis, Twitter at @artprojectmem, Instagram at @artprojectmemphis and Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/artprojectmem. To inquire about teaching or signing up for classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.