5 Questions on the Road (Memphis, TN)- Mary Jo Karimnia and Crosstown Arts

5 Questions On the Road (Memphis, TN) – Mary Jo Karminia and Crosstown Arts

128px-feed-icon-svgWelcome listeners to a special on the road extra content episode of 5 Questions: A Critical Mass for the Visual Arts Podcast. This episode, we’re talking with Mary Jo Karimnia from Crosstown Arts in Memphis, TN. We’re using this supplemental 5 Questions to see how arts communities flourish and build in other cities, not too dissimilar from our own. The idea here is to see if we can glean some good ideas and best practices from Mary Jo and Crosstown Arts, and help our listeners get a sense of what goes on there.


Mary Jo Karimnia is a Memphis-based artist and arts administrator working in varied media and disciplines including seed beads, printmaking, photography, origami, embroidery and installation. Her work often addresses a communal self, built from individualistic units. Her contemplative practice is steeped in high craft and the feminine, and results in work that is subversive, mysterious and thoughtful. She shows regularly in Memphis, Dallas, and Bolivia.

Karimnia is the Residency Coordinator for Crosstown Arts. She has worked with Crosstown Arts in various capacities through the redevelopment of the Crosstown Concourse building (formerly a Sears warehouse and distribution center), which opened in January of 2017. Crosstown Arts hosts up to 16 multi-disciplinary residents at a time for 20 day, 3 month, and 10 month stays. The residency offers live space, private studio space, meals five days per week and free access to a shared art-making workspace.

  • What is Crosstown Arts?
  • How did you all make this happen? What’s your story?
  • What were the most difficult challenges to overcome?
  • What has been the biggest payoff so far?
  • For potential stakeholders, how does something like Crosstown Arts benefit the broader community?
  • For artists, how can they make it here? What programs do you offer?

5 Questions is a program by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts – a nonprofit, self-formed visual arts collaborative dedicated to promoting, enhancing and initiating contemporary visual art in the St. Louis region. Thanks to Mary Jo for chatting with us, and to Crosstown Arts for hosting me for the weekend. Special thanks to Lizzy Martinez for arranging the whole thing. If you hear any ideas you like, feel free to hit the ground running with them. If there are other places you think we should check out, tweet us @criticalmassSTL, post to our facebook page, or contact us through our website at critcalmassart.org

This Episode:

with Mary Jo Karimnia and Joe Kohlburn

Edited on the road by Joe Kohlburn

Thanks to Mary Jo Karimnia and Crosstown Arts

Special thanks to Lizzy Martinez for guest producing!


5 Questions is hosted by Joe Kohlburn

Produced by Brett Williams

and Edited by Sarah Hammond


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