Three years ago, in partnership with the Orange Mound Arts Council, My Cup of Tea launched an effort to support Black artists, raise the profile of the Orange Mound community, and to grow support for our social enterprise that employs women from the neighborhood. We have been blessed with the opportunity to work with some of Memphis’ most talented artists, all of whom have their work displayed in homes and businesses across the nation. Their stunning paintings have helped us sell out of the tea boxes that display their artwork, which, of course, helps us keep local women employed.
This past Friday, just as in previous years, we unveiled the creation of the selected artist and the tea box that displays the new artwork. This year’s artist, Darlene Newman, grew up and lives just outside the borders of Orange Mound and has been a professional artist for over 22 years. Darlene’s work is bright and whimsical, but full of depth and commentary on her faith journey and lived experience.
Drive through the Memphis community, and you will find her murals decorating places like the South Memphis Farmer’s Market. Her creations have been displayed in galleries in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Nashville, and she has traveled across the country to many different states to share her work. Darlene is also the creator of “Orange Mound Bound,” an animated series that will be shown on Amazon and Roku TV.
For My Cup of Tea, Darlene painted an homage to the traditional “shotgun” homes that were once synonymous with living in Orange Mound. Those homes are less common today, but part of the rich history of this proud community. Darlene named the acrylic, “Happiness at Home.” The work is based on an actual house on Hanley Street in the Cherokee community of Memphis.
“My hope is that my artwork not only adds beauty to these tea boxes but also symbolizes the strength and resilience of the women working at My Cup of Tea,” says Darlene Newman. “Their dedication to creating a better future for themselves and their community is truly inspiring.”
We have named the tea, “Home” to recognize and honor the neighborhood where the My Cup of Tea ladies live and work, but also to communicate that the sisterhood that has evolved has made the House at 3028 Carnes and the experiences we share there feel like home.
For an experience so intense and a work of art so warm and inviting, we needed a complementary tea. Debbie Hert, our tea expert, with the help of some of the ladies and some of our customers, chose Lemon Ginger Oolong to fill the tea box. This tea has a robust and fresh lemon flavor with the warmness and spiciness of freshly peeled ginger. It is a tea that from the first sip connotes the fondness of wherever you call home.
As in past years, we have licensed a limited number of tea boxes with the artist’s work on the front. These are available for $15 until they are all sold. What is different this year is that you also have the opportunity to own a signed, limited edition canvas print of this exquisite artwork. Darlene is allowing our customers to preorder prints.
Finally, we have been blessed by the partnership without friends at the Orange Mound Arts Council, and our winning artists, Andre Miller, Danny Broadway, and Darlene Newman. However, the success of this annual event would not have been possible without our customers and supporters. Thank you for supporting our artists, buying the tea box, and sharing our mission with your family and friends.