Galen Aubrey Hicks

orange mound tower/2205 Lamar Ave. Memphis, TN 38114

photography included by Galen Hicks, @bycatpatton, Ahmed Motiwala, Andrea Morales, Joe Rondone article by Chris McCoy for Memphis Magazine

Orange Mound Tower is/was an abandoned building at 2205 Lamar Ave. in Memphis, TN. It is located in one of the first neighborhoods created for African Americans, Orange Mound, and used to be a feed mill in the 1950s. It is now being reclaimed by the Orange Mound community as Victoria Jones and James Duke (IMAKEMADBEATS) team up to turn the tower into a place for Black artists in Memphis to create and convene, as well as provide affordable housing for the surrounding community.

Being a double sided magazine, one side of it showcases the beauty of the building in its abandoned state using my and Ahmed Motiwala's photography. The other side of the magazine showcases the beauty of how the space is being used now as a place of community and a beacon of hope for the revitilazion of Orange Mound.

The blue side focuses on the stillness and the natural beauty of the structure of the building when it was abandoned, even though it was seen as an eyesore by many who passed by it. Friends and I would often visit the building to explore when it was still vacant, and these photos aim show the potential that the building has always had. In my eyes, these images show the building waiting for whatever great thing such a large space was destined for next.

This side is named 2205 Lamar Ave. to show how the building was seen by many as an empty lot, an address with a building but without a purpose.

The orange side of the magazine is about revitilazion, community, hope and change. It is meant to show how the tower, just through TONE and Unapologetic having plans for the building and having thrown some community events at the space, now has a new purpose. Now it exists as a beacon for the neighborhood and a space where people can gather for art and will provide a place for people to comfortably and affordably live in the community they call home.

To show this I heavily relied on the photography of Cat Patton, who was present at many of the events that have been thrown at Orange Mound Tower. Her photos and portraits show the community in action, dancing, DJing and enjoying themselves in the space. By collaging her portraits with other photography of the space, you get a sense of the vibe and energy that now inhabits Orange Mound Tower.

all spreads: