But on August 19, nearly 90 years to the day of the original Sears Crosstown grand opening in August 1927, the construction will pause as the community comes together to celebrate the building’s history and rebirth.
The Opening Day Celebration is intended to showcase those organizations and businesses that courageously believed in and dedicated themselves to the creation of this one-of-a-kind vertical urban village. It’s a moment to celebrate Concourse, the Crosstown neighborhood, and the tenacity and creativity of the city as a whole.
The celebration will kick off at 3 p.m. Guests entering the Concourse plaza will be greeted by music from Artistik Approach and hula-hoopers from Co-Motion Studio.
Food trucks parked on Concourse Avenue will include J.J. Hitchin’ Kitchen, Sweet LaLa’s, Paul’s Cariflavor, Sushi Jimmi, Say Cheese, Bedrock Eats & Sweets, Arepa901, Eddy’s Pepper, Stick Em, and Kabob Food Truck. Tapbox will be selling beer on the plaza, and cash beer bars will be set up throughout the building. Mama Gaia and Curb Market will be selling non-alcoholic drinks. Crosstown Brewing Company will pass out samples of their craft beers while supplies last.
Inside the Central Atrium, the Broad Avenue Baptist Choir will perform before a formal ceremony at 3:30 p.m. featuring Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Crosstown Arts co-leader Todd Richardson, and others.
Immediately following the ceremony, Crosstown Concourse’s tenants will welcome guests into their spaces. Some tenants will offer merchandise giveaways or free food samples; others will be giving behind-the-scenes tours of spaces that may not be typically open to the public. Church Health will have kids’ activities in The Well and food demonstrations in their teaching kitchen. The Church Health YMCA will offer group exercise classes throughout the day.
On the second floor, in its still under-construction spaces, Crosstown Arts will feature art and video installations by Jill Wissmiller, MonoNeon, Abigail Lucien, Birdcap and Sentrock, Andrea Morales, and Colin Kidder, plus “Potluck,” a large-scale collaborative exhibition with 80 artists. In the East Atrium, near Crosstown Arts, from 4-7 p.m., Lauren Laux, Harlan T. Bobo & Blueshift Ensemble, Ben Bauermeister, and Don Lifted will perform.
In the theater stair/balcony area, IMAKEMADBEATS will present performances by Aaron James, A Weirdo From Memphis, Preauxx, Cameron Bethany, and Kid Maestro from 4:15 to 5 p.m. and again from 6:15 to 7 p.m.
In the West Atrium, near Church Health, from 4-7 p.m., musical performances will include Crockett Hall, Jeremy Scott, Me & Leah, Faith Ruch, J.D. Reager, Juju Bushman, Megan Carolan, and Mystic Light Casino — all in conjunction with Church Health’s annual Rock for Love celebration, which is being held throughout the weekend.
Outside on the plaza, Fife & Drum will perform at 4:30 p.m. and Melina Almadovar & Orchestra at 5:45 p.m.
At 7 p.m., the party will move into the Central Atrium where the Living Water Choir — the house choir at Crosstown’s Living Water Community Church — will perform before the premiere of a documentary on the revitalization of Sears Crosstown by Crosstown Arts’ video producer Justin Thompson.
Finally, the night will close out with an after-party on the plaza featuring Memphis rappers 8Ball and MJG, soulstress Susan Marshall, and rockers Winchester and the Ammunition.
Crosstown Arts/East Atrium:
2nd Floor Central Atrium/Theater Stair: