Rugby Gates, – (Frayser) Memphis, Tennessee
Rugby Gates is a community based public art project in the Rugby neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee. The piece is a series of brick gateways along a main road in the neighborhood. It was created from the ground it sits upon. The area is where the original brickyards of Memphis were located. The concept was developed after a long process of meetings with city officials, neighborhood organizers, neighborhood residents, local schools and extensive research on the history of the area. Twenty-six local high school students were hired to assist in making bricks in a five week long after school program. The final piece consists of 12 brick columns with carved relief depicting images relating to the area's history. The two columns that serve as the gateway into the neighborhood are 4' x 20'. The other ten columns serve as 5 small gateways as one moves up Overton Crossing and are 2' x 5'. There are 100 carved clay tiles (10 on each small column) representing the area's events and people of the past and present. The two large columns sit at approximately the same location as the original stone gateway into Rugby.
The project began in November 2006 with community meetings and historical research for 9 months. 80,000 pounds of local clay from the original farm of Dr. John Frayser was transported to Clarksville, Tennessee where it was processed and the bricks were made and carved. There was a temporary brickyard setup at Arkwings on the eastern edge of the Rugby neighborhood. This is where the high school students worked to make the paver bricks. These bricks surround the base of the two large columns and have over 400 names stamped in their surface. People who live in the neighborhood submitted the names. 2500 flyers were handed out door to door by high school students to inform the neighborhood about the project and receive names for the bricks.
The project was commissioned by The UrbanArt Commission for the City of Memphis.