“Hey, I just saw the announcement about no Homebound this year. Wondering if there’s any chance there might be a ‘901 moot’ in the offing?”
I sent this message to Eddy Efaw, the only person I knew who was involved with Hutchmoot Homebound in 2020 and 2021. All I wanted to know was whether or not someone was already planning a faith and arts conference for Memphis (the “901”, in local parlance). If so, I definitely wanted to attend.
Honestly, I wasn’t suggesting we start something, but seeing my message and knowing that no such event was on the horizon, Eddy responded with enthusiasm. He assumed I was proposing that he and I make this our mission, and he was definitely down for it.
Was I hearing him right? Did he actually think we could do this? I liked the idea—I liked it a lot—but had to wonder if we might be taking on more than we could handle. As he and I met in a local coffeehouse and hashed it out, all the “W” questions came at us like a blast from a firehose: What did we know about putting on a conference? What was even involved? What kind of sessions should be offered? Who would present? Who would be a good keynote speaker? Where should we plan to have the conference? When would be the best time of year? How should we even begin?
We knew absolutely nothing about how to proceed, but the more we talked, the more the concept captured our hearts and imaginations. This could happen. This life-affirming celebration of faith and the arts could be part of our community’s story. What better way to bring together people who found great joy in co-creating with God?
It was mid-March 2022, and we were in.
Over the next months, God placed key persons in our path who directed us as we tackled the daunting tasks of creating an LLC, obtaining a bank account, designing a website, gathering a team of people to manage various aspects of the conference, figuring out QuickBooks, learning how to use Eventbrite, and much, much more. Turns out, the two of us were a pretty good team, Eddy having participated in Hutchmoot in person multiple years, while I had only attended Hutchmoot Homebound; Eddy being well-acquainted with many artists and musicians, both from Hutchmoot friendships and in Memphis, and I with the experience interacting with lawyers and accountants from my time in corporate America.
I think we would both agree that it’s been a wild and challenging journey. Lots of hard work, lots of decisions, lots of just feeling our way, lots of prayer. The destination is now drawing near, and our entire team is beyond excited to offer the first ever Memphis Arts Moot, planned for April 13-15, 2023.
We have a wonderful lineup of presenters and musicians designed to help us celebrate the beauty of creation through participation in our own creative activities. Attendees will enjoy a “welcome” dinner and concert by Skye Peterson on Thursday evening. Presentations on photography, writing, gardening, visual arts, culinary adventures, and music are planned throughout the day on both Friday and Saturday. Our Friday evening concert features Memphis native Moriah Jackson. Following the example set by Hutchmoot, meals are an integral, essential part of this conference. We purposely included four meals in the full-price tickets in order to encourage ample engagement around a common table.
In order to facilitate attendance by Memphians, we also established a Saturday Day Pass which includes all presentations for that day, plus the Keynote address by John Hendrix and the evening concert by “Son of Laughter” Chris Slaten. Saturday Day Passes are not limited to Memphians and may be of particular interest to those from nearby areas who wish to drive in just for the day. There are also a limited number of Student Day Passes available for Saturday, which include the same access. Meals are not included in either of the Saturday Day Passes.
Our planning team is working hard to provide a friendly Memphis welcome to all who attend. Memphis is beautiful in the Spring, with warm breezes and vibrant colors furnishing a feast for the senses. The conference venue in east Memphis is a five-minute drive from Dixon Gallery and Gardens, which currently has free admission, and the Memphis Botanic Gardens. A fifteen-minute drive will bring you to Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, complete with a lake with multiple walking and biking trails and its own herd of buffalo.
Come join us for a Spring infusion of Memphis passion, faith, and making! It could change your life. Full information and a link to purchase tickets may be found on our website.