Basin Potraits


Khara Woods



In 2019, Khara Woods met with Uptown residents, business owners, and city officials to discuss their environmental concerns. She found that litter was a major problem in the areas—in particular, trash collects at the large fenced-in stormwater drainage basins and flows into the river. Woods collected data on the volume and variety of litter and studied its path into the waterway. This information was directly incorporated into her mural, which is a brightly-colored geometric pictograph with water droplets and other icons representing the data. An interpretive sign explains these symbols and provides information about the research. The mural is installed on the MATA building that towers dramatically over the storm basins.

Woods’ mural was produced through the Art + Environment Initiative, a program that UrbanArt Commission launched in 2018, funded by a capacity-building grant from Mural Arts Philadelphia. UAC partnered with Clean Memphis and MMDC (Memphis Medical District Collaborative) in the creation of two projects that use public art to address an environmental opportunity or situation in two neighborhoods: Uptown and Frayser. Khara Woods was selected to lead the project in Uptown, while artist Jamond Bullock was chosen to work with residents in Frayser.