As the owner of the Hattiloo Theatre, Ekundayo Bandele is bringing the arts to a community that just may need a reminder of its great history. The productions coming from his stage rival those in other metropolitan cities, including Chicago and New York and maybe even London, England.
Carlee McCullough: What brought you to Memphis?
Ekundayo Bandele: I first moved to Memphis in 1994 with my youngest daughter, Hattie, and then in 1995 Lou was born. I moved here to care for my father who was then ill. My father died in 1996. I left Memphis and returned to New York. I traveled through Europe. I was in Spain, France and England before I returned to New York as an art broker. I moved to Memphis in 2004 permanently to be closer to my girls.
One of the city's least known – but arguably most important – committees held its most recent meeting on April 10th.
Mandated by city ordinance, the Minority Business Development Oversight Committee is charged with assuring that the city's minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) get a fair chance at gaining contracts from both the public and private sectors.
The meeting's agenda called for evaluating a report (from the city's financial management office) that outlined local and MWBE firms' inclusion in managing the city's pension fund. Also on tap was a review of the Memphis Police Department's business plan as an example of forward-thinking MWBE inclusion. A third item related to refining the committee's mission and vision statements.
Kustom Kosher, Treasured Collections, Thirtyone22 Boutique, Corn Cases and Elusive Expressions! are businesses that share a common trait. Each has an owner in the 16-to-25 age range.
Gregory Taylor, owner of iStylez, brought the young entrepreneurs – and several more like them – together for an Outdoor Business Expo at Audubon Park last Friday (April 12).
A 20-year-old student at the University of Memphis, Taylor too shares the young-entrepreneur trait. His company specializes in Apple product repairs, including iPhones, iPads and iPods. He describes the idea of creating iStylez as "a gift from God that I came across at 3 a.m. while watching videos on YouTube."
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Lonnie Robinson designs graphics for business cards, logos, stationary and posters. Although I initially viewed him as a graphic designer, I quickly learned that the graphics were only a byproduct of his full artistry.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us little bit about you.
Lonnie Robinson: I'm an artist. I say that first foremost because I have been creating art for most of my life. I've worked professionally over the years as an art director, graphic designer and an illustrator. But I've always made time to create art that stems solely from my internal thoughts and inspirations.
A broad coalition of state and national organizations is pushing to preserve a key federal program that has helped more than 1.1 million troubled homeowners and reduced mortgage payments by a median savings of $546 each month.
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), created in response to the nation's housing crisis, is set to close shop on December 31. Housing and consumer advocates are urging the U.S. Treasury Department to reconsider ending the program.
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY This month, "On Our Way To Wealthy" probes the business of the arts.
Cities across the country are seeking to strike a balance between the budgets required for public safety – such as fire and police – and those allotted to the arts. The need for solid, well-financed fire and police departments is generally recognized. However, the need for a strong arts community often requires more justification.
Cultural centers clearly offer value to all communities regardless of the levels of crime and poverty. Neither the size of your bank account nor your educational background is the sole factor when measuring appreciation of the arts.