About Jesse Turner Park:
Jesse Turner Park, located at 1310 S. Bellevue Boulevard, is a South Memphis park in District 4. The park is named after civil rights pioneer, Jesse H. Turner. Turner was the first Black chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, former President of Tri-State Bank, and a longtime NAACP supporter. The family-oriented neighborhood is historically African-American and home to important historic residents including, Rev. Brewster, the Nicholson family (developers), Maceo Walker, son of Dr. Joseph Edison Walker, and the Art Gilliams family. The Negro Baseball League played in the district on Sunday afternoons.
Community institutions are the East Trigg Church, Greenwood CME Church and Zion Cemetery, the oldest African-American burial ground in the City. The churches offered gospel composers like Dr. W. Herbert Brewster the opportunity to write and perform new spirituals. The Greenwood School was historically important, as well.
Historically, Jesse Turner Park is baseball-oriented and home to the Tri-State Baseball organization, a local non-profit that specializes in promoting the Academy, recruiting coaches (males and females) and training players from 4-18 years of age in the area of baseball from all communities in the Tri-State area (Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi). It has two diamonds: one at the north end and the larger one in the area of the project site.
The UrbanArt Commission (UAC) works to create opportunities for artists and neighborhoods to connect and shape spaces through public art. Since 2002, UAC has managed the City of Memphis’s Percent-For-Art Program, which allocates funds annually to develop public art in connection to capital improvement projects. UAC also facilitates public art projects throughout the city working with various partners and clients to support artists and new experiences with art.
UAC and The City of Memphis are seeking an artist to create a sculpture for Jesse Turner Park. The preferred location for the sculpture is at the corner of South Parkway and Bellevue Blvd. near the heavily used baseball field. The park is an active gathering place for families in the neighborhood, offering open space and shade from plenty of mature trees in the park.