Contemporary Arts Memphis (CAM), the flagship program of The Blue Room Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify and empower under-resourced student artists, announced it is launching a Summer Fellowship Program in 2022. CAM will provide scholarships for the selected fellows to participate in the program at no cost to the students. Applications will open in early 2022.
“Memphis has always lifted me up and I am honored to be able to give back and help the next generation of artists live up to their fullest potential. By investing in our local talent, we are building a cultural bridge between Memphis and the rest of the world. Over the last century, Memphis has developed an incredible reputation for its global impact on music — we are now making a case for the visual arts by empowering young artists,” said Derek Fordjour, CAM Founder, native Memphian, and New York based artist. CAM has also partnered with several local arts organizations such as the Brooks Museum, The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, and Urban Arts Commission.
The CAM Summer Fellowship is a four-week program featuring art making, contemporary art history, professional development workshops, artist mentors, and during the final week, Fellows will travel to New York City to visit museums and artist studios at the epicenter of the art world. Candidates should be in 10th or 11th grade from local public, charter, independent, or municipal schools with art making experience. Applications will include art portfolio review, recommendations from teachers or arts professionals, and an interview. Those selected from the competitive process will receive scholarships and enjoy the Summer Fellowship at no cost.
“For many of our potential Fellows, finances are a major concern. We are excited to ease that burden and allow them to focus on their creativity and growth as artists,” said Fordjour.
Fordjour is an established force in contemporary art and his work is in the public collections of institutions that include the Whitney Museum of American Art; Guggenheim Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. His art is also collected and coveted by celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Fordjour attended Central High School in Memphis and earned his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College before completing his Master’s at Harvard University and MFA at Hunter College. Fordjour is represented by Petzel Gallery in New York City and David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles.
“It is incredibly important for me to build a ladder of artistic development and support in Memphis, the city that nurtured me. It’s a city of great promise that has profound impact on my life and work. I want to empower young artists that will help share our city’s culture with the rest of the world,” said Fordjour.
CAM is also developing year-round programming to support student artists with portfolio preparation for the college application process and more. CAM is currently recruiting a Director for the summer program to manage operations and to support development initiatives year-round. Those interested can find more information and apply on the CAM website at https://www.camsummer.org/.
Contemporary Arts Memphis (CAM) is the Mid-South’s first nonprofit focused on identifying and nurturing the next generation of contemporary artists. CAM is a 501(c)3 founded in 2021 by native Memphian and New York based artist Derek Fordjour. CAM’s mission is to empower young artists from under-resourced Memphis-area public high schools by offering mentorship, education, travel, and partnership with professional artists and models to student artists participating in the CAM Summer Fellowship Program. This program’s long-range goal is to build a rich, vibrant contemporary arts scene in Memphis and help spur the city’s creative growth.