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VOL. 133 | NO. 113 | Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Rare Treedom Art Adorns St. Jude Land

By Patrick Lantrip

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An international award-winning art installation has a new home in Downtown Memphis. Treedom Memphis – a “functional” piece of art designed by the Parisian architectural firm Atelier YokYok, officially opened Saturday, June 2, on A.W. Willis between Second and Third streets.

To commemorate the grand opening, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and community organizers from Uptown held a celebration that began with a short parade led by the Mighty Souls Brass Band that started on Fifth Street and ended under the wooden structure.

“This is property that ALSAC owns, and we’re happy to allow the community to use it,” ALSAC CEO Richard Shadyac Jr. told the crowd. “We’re super excited about this art installation and the fact that this is going to be a public gathering space.”

Treedom Memphis was unveiled to the public on Saturday, June 2. This is the first time the Parisian-designed work has been constructed in the United States. (Daily News Photos/Patrick Lantrip)

Shadyac hopes the space will unite the Uptown neighborhood that ALSAC and St. Jude call home.

“Just over on Third Street, we’re about to break ground on a brand new housing patient facility,” Shadyac said. “There will be about 130 one-, two- and three-bedroom units.”

Shadyac also hinted at a possible partnership with developer Henry Turley, who was also in attendance and wants to bring more housing to the Pinch District.

MMDC president Tommy Pacello thanked St. Jude for all the work they do both at home and abroad.

“ALSAC/St. Jude does so much, not only for the world, but right here in our community here in Memphis,” Pacello said.

Also there to introduce the new structure were Atelier YokYok artists Samson Lacoste and Luc Pinsard, who oversaw the installation of Treedom Memphis, the first time the structure has been built in the United States.

Guests were treated to a free picnic lunch and MEMPops by the Memphis Medical District Collaborative during the grand opening of Treedom Memphis. (Daily News Photos/Patrick Lantrip)

The first Treedom was installed in Budapest, Hungary, for the Sziget Festival in 2015. It is designed as a place-making installation that can be used for live music performances, outdoor yoga classes, community meetings and picnics.

Treedom is built on a network of poles and branches of different shapes and sizes designed to mimic a forest’s tree canopy.

“It’s been such an honor to have these guys in town the past few days supervising the installation, getting to know them and getting to see their work from around the world,” Pacello said. “It’s really inspirational stuff that they’re doing.”

To bring Treedom to Memphis, the MMDC collaborated with the Uptown Partnership, neighborhood residents, local businesses, Bridges, ALSAC, Memphis Area Transit Authority and local artist Cat Pena.

Construction was managed by Allword Project Management and contractor Fifer & Associates.

PROPERTY SALES 21 82 6,474
MORTGAGES 7 53 4,088
BUILDING PERMITS 240 353 15,714
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