What makes us

About Grounded

Founded in 2019 and in action since 2012, Grounded is an organization of artists and storytellers who know Memphis inside and out. We believe artists have the power to inspire students, communities, and cities to unite, pursue their passions, and end cycles of violence.

Statistically, Memphis is a traumatized city. It is ranked as one of the worst cities in the nation for violent crime. It’s homicide rate is the third highest among the country’s largest cities. One in every 30 black males in Tennessee are incarcerated. Memphis also sits at the top of the list for overall poverty and childhood poverty.

Memphis is also the place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated more than 50 years ago. The lasting wounds from the city’s trauma are amplified by increasing violence, racial discrimination and the criminialization of poverty.

While Memphis has many challenges, it is also full of possibility, profound authenticity, powerful thinking, creative solutions, and limitless inspiration. These forms of resilience, when combined with art and mindfulness, generate opportunities for healing.


What We Do

Our shared purpose is to create conscious content that is impactful, meaningful and inspiring, while serving the larger mission of using creativity as a means of connecting and galvanizing communities around important social issues.

We are guided by our methodology of using art as a vehicle for growth, trauma release, and transformation.

We know there is greater opportunity for art and mindfulness, when paired with a network of collaborators, to create emotional outcomes such as empathy, compassion, healing, happiness and confidence.

Research shows that engagement with the creative arts -- specifically music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and creative writing can help to heal trauma and improve health and behavioral outcomes.

We have already seen positive outcomes. Last year during our four month pilot program in a Memphis juvenile detention center, there was a 54% reduction in violence. And during a recent public art installation at the site of a homicide, family members who had lost a loved one to gun violence were able to find new meaning and healing in a place that was difficult to confront. In the fall of 2019, educational curriculum that accompanies our film Me and the Light, will be implemented in Memphis schools to teach the difficult history of our city and to prompt conversations about conscious choices and resilience.

By using the arts as a strategic vehicle for targeting larger issues, our work also aligns with national cause-based organizations and initiatives. By sharing with other communities and cities what we're learning, Grounded can assist in coordinating effective artist-driven solutions for social change.

Our collaborators

We work in association with an open network, including:

  • Students and young artists
  • Local communities
  • Educators and school districts
  • Juvenile detention facilities
  • Producers and creative production houses
  • Judges and the criminal justice system
  • Philanthropists and nonprofit groups
  • Scientists
  • Mental health professionals
  • City leaders and law enforcement