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VOL. 132 | NO. 167 | Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Artist Cat Peña Named Director Of CBU’s Ross Gallery

By Kate Simone

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Cat Peña, a Memphis-based artist, arts administrator and independent public art consultant, has been named director of the Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery at Christian Brothers University. As an artist, Peña’s work in recent years has centered on public art installations, including “There’s More To Be Proud Of,” a canopy of metallic streamers on display in the Edge District through next February. In addition, she is the founder of Collabortory, a creative platform that expands public art practices through collaborative and social practices.

Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Experience: I hold both a Bachelor of Fine Arts (University of Missouri-Columbia) and a Master of Fine Arts (Memphis College of Art). Shortly after receiving my MFA, I worked at UrbanArt Commission as an administrative assistant and then moved to Memphis College of Art as their coordinator of public programs and later as the coordinator of exhibitions and lectures. From there I began to focus my interest in public art and social engagement as an independent public art consultant with clients such as the Downtown Memphis Commission, the city of Germantown, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I was more musically inclined so I could play the accordion.

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? I am constantly striving to gain more knowledge and life experience to better understand how I can make things that matter.

Currently I am influenced by organizers (Richard Lou and Earnestine Jenkins) and fellow artists of a collaborative project I am part of in which a group of 17 local artists are making artwork inspired by the horrific death of Ell Persons 100 years ago. I am particularly influenced by my project partner, Jamond Bullock, as we look at historical and contemporary institutional racism.

In addition, my husband and artist Nick Pena positively influences me by supporting my creative practice.

What are your goals for the Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery? I would like to create a gallery atmosphere that encourages experimentation while focusing on contemporary artistic practices and theory to inspire our young thinkers and makers.

What changes might we see in terms of exhibitions and programming? The schedule for the next academic year is already set, so I will focus on crafting ways to draw CBU students to the gallery and creating programming for the following year that better serves the art department and student body. Currently there are plans for a new on-campus gallery at CBU. Until that happens, I am interested in playfully emphasizing the current location.

You’re a working artist yourself, and many of your works in recent years have been installations outside a gallery setting. What lessons have you learned through public art that changes your perspective on running a gallery? My artwork has escaped the white box and entered into places that have less boundaries to engage with a wider audience. In doing so, I have learned a lot about working through multiple ideas or opinions and the complexity of doing large-scale or long-term projects. As a result, I see gallery and museum settings ripe for engagement that extends beyond passive viewing into exhibitions that ask visitors to participate physically and/or mentally.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Recently I installed my largest piece of public art suspended above the intersection of Monroe and Marshall Avenue called, “There’s More To Be Proud Of.” This piece came out of a collaboration with artists from Collabortory’s Survey 1: the EDGE District, which was funded by the Downtown Memphis Commission. On this piece, I worked as the creator, designer, project manager and fabricator. There is nothing like it in the city and I am proud that I was able to install a piece of this scale as an individual artist.

What do you most enjoy about your work? Whatever hat I am putting on is part of my artistic practice. I enjoy putting my spin on complex problems and looking at even common day practices as an opportunity to take an artistic approach. Art nourishes me and I am always thankful to have a job that pays me to share what I love.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Never be afraid to ask a question even if you think you know what the answer will be.


Amber Floyd, a senior associate at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP, has been named a recipient of the 2017 American Bar Association “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers” award. The honor is presented by the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, which annually selects 40 young lawyers from throughout the United States who “exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community service.” Floyd is a member of Wyatt’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Service Team, and concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, construction and tort law.


Bob Rogalski has been appointed chief financial officer for the Wolf River Conservancy. Rogalski comes to the conservancy with 35 years of financial management experience in the nonprofit and private sectors. Most recently he served as vice president and CFO for BRIDGES USA Inc.



Latoria Taylor has been named vice president of development for Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South. In this role, Taylor will oversee all fundraising and marketing efforts. She most recently served as vice president for Leadership Memphis. In addition, Courtney Miller has joined Junior Achievement as program manager, a role in which she will assist in managing and developing the nonprofit’s in-school and company programs. Miller previously served as development coordinator for Leadership Memphis.

Brandon Bell has been appointed to the board of RISE Foundation, which works to transform the lives of low-income working Memphians through financial literacy. Bell is vice president, organizational inclusion and change leadership for First Horizon National Corp.

Fisher Phillips has been included on Working Mother magazine’s 2017 list of the 50 “Best Law Firms for Women” and Law360’s “Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys,” which both recognize U.S. firms implementing best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers and fostering environments committed to achieving that success.

Semmes Murphey has added two doctors and a physical therapist for its Tennessee and Mississippi locations. Dr. Michael DeCuypere, who will practice in DeSoto County and Memphis, specializes in pediatric and adult neurosurgery (minimally invasive neurosurgery, brain tumors and aneurysms, among other conditions). Dr. Debra Turner, who will be based in Memphis, is an autonomic care specialist with an extensive background in cardiovascular care services. And physical therapist Kathryn Barry, who will primarily be in Memphis, specializes in spinal rehabilitation and sports injuries, and is certified in the Graston Technique.

Several Crye-Leike Real Estate Services sales associates and agent teams from the Memphis area have been ranked among the most productive in Tennessee on REAL Trends’ 2017 list of America's Best Real Estate Agents.

Tennessee – Individual Agents by Closed Sales Volume:

No. 7: Rick Travers (Germantown-Poplar branch) attained $32 million in closed sales volume in 2016.

No. 10: Joyce McKenzie (Collierville branch) attained $29.45 million in closed sales volume in 2016.

Tennessee – Individual Agents by Closed Transaction Sides:

No. 9: Rick Travers generated 124 closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 18: Jimmie Tapley (Quail Hollow branch) generated 95 closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 28: Joyce McKenzie generated 86 closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 63: Anna Bishop (Arlington branch) generated 68 closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 144: Paige Arnold (East Memphis branch) generated 53 closed transaction sides in 2016.

Tennessee – Agent Teams by Closed Sales Volume

No. 16: The Judy McLellan Team (Quail Hollow branch) generated $66.3 million in closed sales volume in 2016.

No. 41: The Melissa Thompson Team (Quail Hollow branch) generated $35 million in closed sales volume in 2016.

Tennessee – Agent Teams by Closed Transaction Sides:

No. 37: The Melissa Thompson Team generated 158 in closed transaction sides in 2016;

No. 48: The Tyler Tapley Team (Quail Hollow branch) generated 142.5 in closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 76: The Judy McLellan Team generated 104 in closed transaction sides in 2016.

No. 90: The Lott Team, Carol & Amanda Lott (Midtown branch) generated 92 in closed transaction sides in 2016.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783