New Art Gallery Owned By Lauren Kennedy ’08 to Feature Works By Rhodes Faculty

head and shoulder image of Lauren Kennedy

Rhodes art history alum Lauren Kennedy has formed Sheet Cake, a contemporary art gallery, located at 405 Monroe Avenue in Memphis’ Edge District. The gallery supports artists based in and connected to the regional South, and intentionally celebrates women, queer artists, and artists of color.

The grand opening is Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m.

Among artists featured for the inaugural exhibition are Erin Harmon, associate professor of art at Rhodes, and Joel Parsons, director of the college’s Clough-Hanson Gallery.

“I am thrilled to be working with such an incredibly talented group of artists in the next year of the Sheet Cake’s program,” said Kennedy said. “Each represents something vital to the spirit of the gallery, and this first show will give people a good taste of what to expect.”

As a student at Rhodes,  Kennedy was devoted to the arts, serving as a Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA) Fellow. After earning a bachelor’s degree in art history in 2008, she moved to Dallas where she supported fundraising efforts for the Nasher Sculpture Center and managed the production of the Dallas Art Fair. She returned to Memphis in 2012 after being hired as partnership manager for Ballet Memphis. She also established Southfork, an alternative space for art and conversation, from 2012 to 2017.

In 2015, Kennedy became executive director of the UrbanArt Commission, and for the last eight years she has managed $6 million in public art investments, led the development of the art program for the Memphis International Airport B Concourse, and grown the organization’s visibility and engagement.

“Opening this gallery would not be possible without the incredible support around me and the experiences that have led me to this moment. And I can see how some of the very first threads of Sheet Cake were woven together in my time at Rhodes College—from my classes to opportunities to curate art and projects on campus and in Memphis,” said Kennedy.

Opening hours for Sheet Cake are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and by appointment.