Frequently Asked Questions


Who owns The Memphis College of Art (MCA) building ?

The Memphis College of Art (MCA) building, also known as Rust Hall,  is currently owned by MCA, and the land is owned by the City of Memphis. When MCA closes in the summer of 2020, the building will return to City ownership.

Who owns the Brooks Museum building?

The Brooks Museum building and land is owned by the City of Memphis. The Brooks Museum of Art currently leases the building from the City. When the Brooks Museum relocates to its new location on the riverfront in 2024, the building and land will remain in the City’s ownership.

What are the conditions of both buildings? Where can I find out more?

While both buildings have been well-loved over the decades, additional investment will likely be needed. The MCA building is estimated at having a minimum of $3.5 million in deferred maintenance. A comprehensive assessment of other deferred maintenance and upgrades has not yet been conducted. The City has invested $1-2 million in deferred maintenance over the past 2 years into the Brooks building, but a comprehensive assessment of other deferred maintenance and upgrades has not yet been conducted. Download more information on each building (including floor plans, reports, and images) in the Resources section.

What outreach and community feedback has been done?

The City of Memphis and U3 Advisors invited feedback from the community through two public forums hosted in the Fall of 2018. They also conducted an online survey. This essential feedback heavily informed the guiding principles outlined in this call for ideas. Additionally, U3 Advisors had more than 25 meetings with Overton Park stakeholders, local arts & culture organizations, national arts schools, and others. See the outcome of this research here.

What is the timeline for the call for ideas?

  • March 25th, 2019: Call for ideas open

  • April 17th, 2019, 5-7pm: Create Your Space Workshop & Information Session. Attendees can receive feedback from experts and the selection team, and tour the MCA building.

  • May 10th, 2019: Submission deadline

What comes after the call for ideas?

A selection committee will invite chosen respondents to expand on their ideas as part of an RFP (Request for Proposals) process. This process will determine the selected occupant(s) of the buildings. See the selected finalists here.

How will my proposal be reviewed and judged?

Your proposal will be reviewed by a selection committee of 11 experts (including local and national leaders in the arts & culture community, community leaders, civic organization leaders, and others). You will be judged on a variety of factors, with close attention to how well your idea adheres to the guiding principles, the impact your idea would have on the Memphis community, and financial sustainability. The selection committee members are:

Lester Merriweather, artist, Chief Curator for Black Art for a Friend of the Brooks Museum
LarJuanette Williams, Executive Director,  Memphis Black Arts Alliance
Maria Munoz-Blanco, Director, Memphis Department of Parks and Recreation
Tina Sullivan, Director, Overton Park Conservancy
Ashley Cash, City Planning Administrator, City of Memphis
Darrell Cobbins, President, Universal Commercial Real Estate
Justin Merrick, Executive Director, Center for Transforming Communities
Andy Kitsinger, Director, University of Memphis Design Collaborative
Tommy Pacello, President, MMDC
Bill Bullock, Business Development Associate, Entegrity
Eric Robertson, President, Community LIFT

Who makes the final decision for the MCA and the Brooks Museum buildings?

The final decision will be made by the Mayor, following input from the selection committee and U3 Advisors. The final selection(s) will also need to be approved by city council.

I’ve got a great idea but I have limited experience and time to implement it. Can I still apply?

Absolutely! We believe in the power of big ideas. Please share your vision — we can help you find resources and partners to bring it to life.

How can I get help with my proposal?

If you have a great idea but aren’t sure where to go from there, we are here to help. In partnership with Epicenter, free advice and feedback on your ideas is available. To schedule a session, just email us:

Can I collaborate with others?

Yes! Whether through sharing space or program partnerships, we encourage collaboration. These buildings are large, and not all ideas may need the entire space. While we encourage you to seek out these partnerships, some groups may be invited to collaborate and respond to the RFP as a team after the call for ideas.

Does my idea need to include both buildings?

No. We encourage all ideas, large or small. Your submission can be for one building, both buildings, or part of either building.

What ideas aren’t acceptable for the buildings?

We welcome all ideas that meet the guiding principles established by the initial community feedback. Please refer to this PDF of required questions as you develop your ideas.

Is there funding available for great ideas?

Funding is not available as a part of this selection process. We understand that great ideas will require investment, and we encourage applicants to develop sustainable business ideas.

Didn’t the city release a Request for Proposals for the Brooks Museum in 2018? What is the status of that?

Yes. However, the news of MCA’s closure broke shortly after that release. Given the close proximity and relationship between the MCA and Brooks buildings as anchors in Overton Park, the City decided it would be best to launch a new process that imagined the future of both buildings together.

If you have a question not answered above, please email us at