Local artists are making Broad Avenue their blank canvas, using all of their creativity to repaint a new image of the historic district.
"They're predicting that this is going to be a boom art district," says local artist Marie Babb, who demonstrated her unique textured paintings during Saturday's Broad Avenue Demo Day.
Demo Day took visitors behind the artworks and handicrafts with demonstrations like glass blasting and organic soap making. It also took them behind the scenes of the artists behind the revitalization.
"Educating our customers on our product and what it offers them, but also being able to expand people's thoughts of what Broad Avenue now is from what it used to be," says Jay McLaughlin, co-owner of the organic soap and candle store My Heavenly Creations.
David Wayne, President of the Broad Avenue Art District and Historic Broad Avenue Business Association, says artists are always hanging out in the district so in 2009 he had it officially commissioned as an art district.
Tom Clifton, owner of T. Clifton Art, moved his business to Broad Avenue four years ago for the convenience of being between east Shelby County and downtown Memphis as well as for the artistic vibe.
"I think it will survive great as an art district because we have such a wide range of options," says Clifton, "We have lower end items, we have higher end items."
Visitors say Demo Day opened their eyes to a whole new historic district, including one patron from northern Illinois. Mary Winkel says, "We decided to stop at this soap place and there was a demonstration. I'm really impressed with it."
"We stopped at Broadway Pizza and started branching out from there. It's a whole district going on up here," says Travis Cooper, who adds that he found new date ideas during Demo Day.
The artists and store owners say it's not about competition but bringing their artistic differences together on one canvas that is Broad Avenue.
"People like to go to interesting, adventurous place and I think art has always been something that would get people out the door," says Babb.