Upcoming Event: Meet the Artists in Process | Studio Tour
Stained Glass and Art Architectural Glass
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Upcoming Event: Meet the Artists in Process | Studio Tour

Upcoming Event: Meet the Artists in Process | Studio Tour

We’re ready to Meet the Artists on Friday, July 16, 5pm-7pm. Pearl River Glass Studio invites you to take part in a tour of the studio to experience artists in process as they restore and conserve Memphis, Tennessee’s Historic Clayborn Temple stain glass!

During this one-time tour, visitors will have the opportunity to meet guest artists, hear their stories, and ask questions about the historic journey of preserving our Civil Rights. Join us at Pearl River Glass Studio in Midtown.

Get to Know the Artists

Lonnie Robinson

“South Window” Guest Artist, Lonnie Robinson, is a native of Memphis, TN. Having been born in and spent the most recent years of his career doing freelance work there, Lonnie is familiar with the historic significance of his community. At the start of his adult career, Lonnie attended the Art Institute of Chicago, class of 1989. While in Chicago, his design acumen gained him a position as an art director with Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide. This allowed him the opportunity to work across the country. Robinson has shown in art galleries throughout the Midsouth, Midwest and Westcoast. His art has been acquired by collectors, institutions and organizations.

During this event Lonnie will share about the visual significance of his rendition of the I Am A Man theme of the Sanitation Workers Strike design, colors, and technique.

Sharday Michelle

“West Window” Guest Artist, Sharday Michelle, is also no stranger to the community in Memphis, TN. With an education from Memphis College of Art, class of 2018, Sharday has used her skills to rise to the top. Because of her love for fashion, she has been able to offer a unique style using bright colors, textures, and patterns to the modern art world. In recent years she has been perfecting her craft in Memphis as a freelance designer. She has had the opportunity for her work to be exhibited in the state on multiple occasions, as well as partner with clients in surrounding states. 

During this event Sharday will share how she created her I Am A Man design using signage that is integral to the story of the civil rights movement then and now.  

The Project

The Historic Clayborn Temple Committee striving to revive this historic site, has awarded Pearl River Glass Studio with challenge of restoring the surviving historic windows and replacing the destroyed panels with new kiln-formed glass work.  Chosen from numerous studios in the southeast, PRGS holds the task of providing this work using traditionally accepted restoration techniques as well as cutting edge glass processes and technology. An honor to be involved in such an important project, PRGS lead designers and artists will interpret the selected artwork in beautifully fired transparent glass, complete all the restoration and install the elevations back into their permanent home. 

The Story

Located just south of Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, Clayborn Temple began its life in 1892 as Second Presbyterian Church. In 1949, the building was sold to an African Methodist Episcopal congregation who changed the property’s name to Clayborn Temple in honor of a local bishop. For the subsequent years, Clayborn Temple served as a religious institution with an active and vibrant African-American congregation and in 1968 became the organizing headquarters for The Sanitation Workers’ Strike. Everyday people, along with civil rights and labor activists, advanced the dignity and economic wellbeing for sanitation workers, with the campaign’s iconic “I AM A MAN” signs produced daily in the Temple’s basement. Over the last four decades, the “I AM A MAN” signs have become a universal symbol for human rights and human dignity. The Strike is also known for being the last campaign that Martin Luther King worked on before he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel.

For decades, Clayborn Temple continued to operate as a religious and cultural institution for parishioners and visitors until closing in 1999 and falling into disrepair.  Officially named a National Treasure, the building came back to life in 2018 and 2019, reopening for community gatherings and is now closed for construction preparing to open fully restored and open to the public in the near future.

Key partners in this project are The Historic Clayborn Temple board and team, The CLTV, Pearl River Glass Studio, The National Park Service, The City of Memphis, Self-Tucker Architects, AllWorld Project Management, and Bologna Consultants.(© CTO)