A sweet, new haven for art enthusiasts has made its home in the Edge District! Sheet Cake Gallery is a contemporary art gallery and consulting practice in Memphis, focusing on artists based in and connected to the regional South.
Over 500 visitors celebrated Sheet Cake Gallery’s debut exhibition, “Welcome In” on its opening day December 1.
We caught up with owner and curator Lauren Kennedy, former Director of UrbanArt Commission, to hear more about her journey to opening a business of her own in the Medical District.
What inspired you to open your gallery in the Edge District neighborhood?
I knew really early on that I wanted the gallery to be in The Edge District because I was aware of all of the support and resources available in this area from both MMDC and DMC from my time at the UrbanArt Commission. And now that I'm open, I know it was absolutely the right call! I have been so pleased both by the reception from the gallery opening and the amount of people finding us from walking around or visiting one of the other businesses or apartment complexes in the neighborhood.
How do you think Sheet Cake Gallery will impact the growth of the Medical District?
I hope that people find other great experiences in the Edge like Rootstock, Edge Alley and Inkwell because they came to Sheet Cake, and vice versa! I think there are so many great spots in this neighborhood and I'm looking forward to supporting the other businesses around me and inviting them to see what we are up to. The more great stuff for people to bounce between will long-term mean that more people are seeking out this area. That's very exciting to me.
Can you tell us a bit about the "Welcome In" exhibit and how you curated the art for Sheet Cake's debut?
Sheet Cake focuses on artists based in and connected to the regional South, intentionally celebrating women, queer artists, and artists of color. It's incredibly important to me that the gallery program and space feel warm, inviting and approachable. All of the artists in Welcome In represent something near and dear to the spirit of Sheet Cake.
I'm so so happy with how this show came together. I have exhibitions planned between January 2025 and spring 2025, and everybody in this first show is participating in another show with us in the next year. So Welcome In developed into a rowdy group show that feels like a great introduction to the gallery and what to expect from us down the road. I'm really excited about working with each of these artists and can't wait for y'all to see what else they are working on.
What can gallery-goers expect from Sheet Cake in the new year?
Our next opening will be a new show from Joel Parsons and Clare Torina opening January 20th! From there, folks can expect openings about every 6 - 8 weeks. We will also be rolling out collaborations and partnerships in the next year with other creatives in town for the gallery shop and beyond - so there are lots more exciting things coming.