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If you ask Ephraim Muvire Urevbu
will tell you "I have a very interesting story, it is full of laughter, tears, heartache, and happiness.
The amazing thing, is, this statement is actually a humble one.
impoverished beginnings in Warri, Nigeria, to his
home above the Art Village Gallery
journey has been a long one, often marked with struggle.
However, you would not know it to talk with him.
had a love affair with art from an early age.
As a child, his
first instinct was to capture the things that he
saw in the world around him, from capturing the warm nature of his
local culture in Nigeria, to doing caricatures of the classmates that bullied him in his
adolescence as a way to blow off steam.
Growing up in Nigeria, neither he
family had a lot of money.
days both going to school and working with his
mother at her
timber shed to help make ends meet.
spent any additional spare time he
had doing odd jobs to buy art supplies.
Soon Ephraim's talents began to blossom and become noticed.
gained entrance to one of Nigeria's elite High Schools and later went to University.
worked for a national television network, theater, and dappled in graphic design.
soon decided that moving to America was going to be the next step, and enrolled in the Memphis College of Art
The move to America was not an easy one.
quickly found that the American dream was slightly harder to attain than it was advertised; counter to the "land of the free and home of the brave" motto, he
encountered prejudice on an almost daily basis.
found the lack of governmental support for students daunting and quickly found himself at the mercy of unrelenting superiors on the jobsite.
Frustrated with the things he encountered, he transferred to Memphis State University, where he quickly found his niche, earning both his BA and MBA.
credits this time in his
life for helping him find a common human thread: everyone struggles.
case, the struggle did not win.
humble beginnings, Ephraim
has gone on to have a truly remarkable career.
With over 20 years as an Memphis artist, He
is a true Renaissance man.
Just a few of his
other activities include volunteer work and serving on the boards of a number of organizations.
has also found newness in giving motivational speeches throughout the world.
talks about living and enjoying a healthy lifestyle through wellness and a product called Agel.
remarkable story across the world through conferences and meetings around the world throughout the year.
You might say he's
a little busy.
If you ask him what the most important thing he
does is, however, he
will not tell you it is anyone of these things.
mission is to revitalize the city of Memphis as a whole, shaping its future through the arts and deploying his
creative energies to change not only how the residents of the city experience their culture, but also visitors.
will say, "This city has so much potential.
Perhaps this is why he
was a pioneer in the South Main Arts District.
As the president and founder of the South Main Arts Association
has worked tirelessly to create a place for the arts in downtown Memphis.
has watched the community grow up around him to the cultural haven it is today.
Constantly striving to bring the arts to Memphis, new galleries, interior design firms, architecture firms, graphic design firms and boutiques now form the core of the cultural center of South Main.
To increase awareness of the arts in Memphis, Ephraim
fellows open their galleries late every last Friday of the month for the Art Trolley Tour.
This provides an opportunity for Memphians to journey to the place that is South Main, take in music, and experience a little culture.
The Art Village Gallery
, one of the oldest galleries in the district, is a sight in itself to behold.
A restoration project, Ephraim
purchased the building and carefully crafted it into what it is today...and what it is is something special.