Tone provides opportunities for Black creatives to turn passion into full-time job

Community Changers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  Lawrence Matthew knows how important it is to turn your side projects into a full-time job. In order to do that, he’s making a difference through Tone.  

“Tone is a Black arts nonprofit that provides opportunities for Black creators in Memphis, Orange Mound,” he said. “The goal for us is to have a space that is super accessible to the community and to anybody who is a creative.” 

Tone empowers Black artists and communities by providing mentorship, exhibition space, performances and creative development opportunities. 

“We see you have talent; we see you have a vision. We see you have a passion. We’re going to train you up. Show you the right ways to go about it, and we’re going to place you in that environment,” Matthew said.  

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Amber Ahmad is the curator of Tone and actually took part in one of their artist development programs prior to being elevated to curator.  

“I really wanted to do curation. I wanted to know how to professionally hang a show. Hang it like how they do it in New York,” said Ahmad.  

Tone specifically places people with different levels of experience with each other, so the exposure is across the board. They are also purposely located in Orange Mound. They want the kids in the neighborhood to have access to art.  All programs and exhibitions are free.  

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“We haven’t seen any space, especially Black faces on the wall anywhere else in the city,” said Ahmad.

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Tone a check for $1,000. When you create a space for all to be included, you have a masterpiece on hand. They are a true community changer.  

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