Yancy Villa-Calvo (B.A., B.F.A., M.B.A.)


Villa-Calvo’s multimedia work seeks to create awareness, provoke thought, and stimulate conversation on issues of social justice, equality, and prosperity.

Villa-Calvo is the creator of Barrier Free: A Socially Engaged Art Installation. She currently works as a City Artist with the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Growth City Plan. Her Memphis 3.0 project, Go Explore Memphis Soul (GEMS), uses art to engage city residents in neighborhood planning and development.

Her art installations have been exhibited around the U.S. in Washington, D.C., Houston, Phoenix, and Baltimore, as well as in various cities in Tennessee including Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Nashville.

Villa-Calvo is a recipient of grants and art commissions sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute Latino Center, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Tennessee Arts Commission, ArtsMemphis, UnidosUS, the Funders’ Network, the UrbanArt Commission, and the City of Memphis, among other entities.

She received her formal art education at Christian Brothers University and Memphis College of Art. She frequently exhibits in solo show and group shows in addition to participating in collaborative projects. Her paintings are displayed in private collections in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Israel, and the Netherlands.

Villa-Calvo was born in Mexico City. She has been a resident of Memphis for over 20 years, where she lives with her husband Mauricio Calvo and their children Anna, Carolina, and Santiago.

Artist Statement

I consider my work to be an intertwined web of art and life. My life experiences have influenced how I define, make, and encounter art. Experiences such as being born and raised in Mexico, living in Mozambique, and traveling to many countries have provided me with a cross-cultural perspective and an awareness of my place as both a global citizen and a resident of the U.S., a country I call my own.
My work appears in diverse forms ranging from visual art, to activism, to performance art, to urban planning. For me, the creative process starts by questioning current systems and social dynamics. It leads me to produce asset-based artwork that is aesthetically and emotionally powerful and that emphasizes dialogue, participation, and action. My art provides a platform to see common ground in the midst of our complex humanity, and it encourages civic engagement for the betterment of our shared spaces.

Community Service/Engagement

ArtsMemphis, Artist Advisory Council, member.

Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, Board member.

Overton Park Conservancy, Board member.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital  National Leadership Council, member.

Latino Memphis, volunteer.