Indie Memphis filmmaker Alan Spearman receives Metropolitan Bank's third annual Emmett O'Ryan Award

2013 Emmett O'Ryan Award nominees: Jared Small, Alan Spearman, Eli Gold, Bill Price

Indie Memphis filmmaker Alan Spearman recently received the third annual Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration, given by Metropolitan Bank to an emerging artist for his or her work that also bears promise for future artistic significance. The honor comes with a $2,000 cash award and Indie Memphis, as the nominating organization, receives $500.

Alan, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist, made his directorial debut in 2007 with the Indie Memphis Film Festival award-winning feature film, Nobody. In 2012, he completed five short films including As I Am, a project recently named by the video-sharing website Vimeo as one of its top 12 videos of 2012. The film follows Chris Dean, the Booker T. Washington High School student who introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation. It is a poignant depiction of the battle of everyday life  faced by children who grow up on the streets of South Memphis.  As I Am won both the Audience Award for Hometowner Film and the Jury Award for Best Hometowner Documentary Short at the 2012 Indie Memphis Film Festival. 

The "Emmett" Award was created is in honor of the late Emmett O’Ryan, a founding board member of Metropolitan Bank. Mr. O’Ryan was an avid art collector and artist. Metropolitan Bank created this award to honor Mr. O’Ryan and his contribution to the community. The winning entry and artist is selected by committee composed of Metropolitan Bank associates, a member of the ArtsMemphis Board or Directors and a member of Mr. O’Ryan’s family.

“Emmett O’Ryan was not only a very influential founding board member of Metropolitan, but he was a friend to many of us,” said Phillip May, Metropolitan’s Memphis President.  “It is important to us that we continue to honor his contribution to both the bank and to the arts.  We are grateful to ArtsMemphis and the nominating organizations for their help in making this event a reality, and we were thrilled once again with the quality of the nominees and the impact they are each having on the city of Memphis.”

Area nonprofit visual arts organizations are eligible to nominate affiliated artists for the Emmett O’Ryan Award. Other artist nominees this year included: Thomasin Durgin, nominated by the UrbanArt Commission; Elisha Gold, nominated by Crosstown Arts; Andrew Meers, nominated by the Metal Museum; Bill Price, nominated by Memphis College of Art; and Jared Small, nominated by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

ArtsMemphis is hosting an exhibition showcasing the works of 12 Emmett nominees and recipients from the past three years. The exhibition is open 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, through March 29 at ArtsMemphis, 575 South Mendenhall. It is free and open to the public.

About Metropolitan Bank:

Metropolitan, the banking subsidiary of Metropolitan BancGroup, Inc., is a $720 million financial institution. After its successful acquisition of Bancsouth Financial Corporation and its subsidiary, Bank of the South, in 2008 and its acquisition of a Tennessee state bank charter, Metropolitan currently operates seven full-service banking offices in Mississippi and Tennessee. Metropolitan offers a full range of financial products and services, including personal and business transaction accounts, online and mobile banking and bill payment, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, construction, commercial and consumer financing, treasury management, Xpress deposit, remote deposit capture and merchant card services. For more information, visit

About ArtsMemphis:

Since 1963, ArtsMemphis has raised funds to ensure excellence in the arts and to build a vibrant cultural community for everyone. During FY12, ArtsMemphis allocated more than 95 percent of its annual campaign, in addition to enhancement funds from the historic Memphis for the Arts endowment campaign, to distribute $4 million, including more than 100 grants to 60 local arts and culture groups in 10 categories. For more information, visit