Goodwyn Gallery


Thank you for your interest in displaying art in the Goodwyn Gallery at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Please read through the information on this page before completing your Gallery Application. The Goodwyn Gallery Selection Committee will select art for display that supports the mission of Library – Satisfying the Customer’s Need to Know. The Central Library’s Goodwyn Gallery will include, but is not limited to the works of local artists and art organizations from amateur to professional levels.

The Goodwyn Gallery application forms and information can be found on this page. Exhibitions will rotate monthly and signed Gallery Commitment forms and proof of insurance for any piece valued at $500 or higher is required. Please email Goodwyn.Gallery@memphistn.gov for additional information about Commitment forms and proof of insurance.

Receptions can be arranged by contacting our Events Coordinator at 901-415-2752 or events.coordinator@memphistn.gov Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.  You will need to read and submit the Gallery Guidelines along with your Gallery Application should you plan a reception for your exhibit.

Information about Goodwyn Gallery exhibitions will be included in the Library calendar of events and in various local media outlets.

Your support of the Goodwyn Gallery provides Library customers with an amazing array of art over the years. We look forward to reviewing new works focusing on literacy and the mission of the Library.

If you would like to display your art in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Goodwyn Gallery, please submit the Gallery Application to Goodwyn.Gallery@memphistn.gov.

Artwork Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used in the selection process to promote local artists and professional organizations to ensure that the collection is representative of our diverse population of the Memphis and Mid-South community.

  • Must not have had work on display in last 2 years
  • Educational, cultural and of broad public interest
  • Provide information cards for each piece
  • Provide artist bio, contact info
  • Must be visually appealing
  • Must meet safety standards
  • Artwork will not be selected that creates unsafe conditions or contain other factors that may bear on public liability
  • Must be framed and presentable for display
  • Due to high volume of children touring our library, use discretion when selecting your artwork
  • We reserve the right to refuse any display which might be offensive to the public

Gallery Forms

Goodwyn Gallery Application (email to Goodwyn.Gallery@memphistn.gov)

Goodwyn Gallery Guidelines ( email to Goodwyn.Gallery@memphistn.gov if you plan a reception)

Gallery Calendar 2019

January: Volunteer Memphis
February: Open
March: Lonnie Robinson
April: History Department
May: Memphis in May
June: Willie Bearden
July: Explore Memphis
August: Community Art Academy
September: Teen Arts Fest
October: Staff Showcase
November: Open
December: Open

*Dates are tentative.

A Brief History of the Goodwyn Institute

  • The Goodwyn Institute was founded in 1903 from proceeds from part of the estate of Tennessee businessman William A. Goodwyn.
  • The founder of the Institute, born in Kentucky in 1824, lived in Memphis from 1846 to 1880. Little is known about his life during those years except that he was a cotton dealer and a member of Calvary Episcopal Church. While living in Memphis, he and his wife, Harriet R. McGavock, bore and lost nine children – all buried in historic Elmwood Cemetery. He died in 1898 and she died in 1903. Both are buried in the family plot at Elmwood.
  • His will stipulated that a large part of the estate would be used to construct a building in downtown Memphis which would contain office rental space along with a large auditorium in which free lectures would be presented. The building would also house a library. The will also stipulated that the state of Tennessee act as a trustee and that the state would appoint three commissioners to manage the Institute.
  • The original Commissioners were S. P. Read, President, J.M. Goodbar, and John R. Pepper.
  • The original building, located at the southwest corner of Third and Madison, opened in 1907. By 1962, the income generated from the office rentals had declined in relation to the cost of operating the library and the lecture series.
  • The Institute then exchanged its original building for the first National Bank Building located at Second and Madison. The first Goodwyn Institute Building was torn down that same year to make way for the First Tennessee Bank Building.
  • In 1964, the 58111 lecture series was moved to what was then Memphis State University, while the library materials were moved to the Cossitt Library.
  • Dr. Cecil Humphreys, Jack J. Heflin, and Charles Freeburg were named Commissioners in 1985.
  • The lecture series continued as late as 2002-2003 and was presented at Harding Academy.
  • The Foundation for the Library is honored to have been named the organization to succeed the Goodwyn Institute, November 19, 2004.
  • The Foundation for the Library will honor Mr. Goodwyn’s generosity by:
    • Naming the pre-function area of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library for Mr. Goodwyn – The Goodwyn Gallery.
    • Establishing endowments to maintain the Goodwyn Gallery to host meaningful art exhibits for the public and to purchase library materials consistent with Mr. Goodwyn’s interests.