In fall 2014, Louisville Visual Art (LVA), in collaboration with IDEAS 40203, worked with young people in Sheppard Square and the surrounding Smoketown neighborhoods to create a new project that combines poetry, photography and creative entrepreneurship.  The project is called Living It!.

LVA and IDEAS 40203 paired 9 students with 3 photographers to create photographic portraits of how each student would define and envision their professional future in a world with no limits.

Through the visual arts and poetry workshops, taught by the group of African American poets who created the Smoketown Poetry Opera, the students realized what it would be to see their own personal vision of the future.

In addition to the poets, the students worked with professional photographers, wardrobe, hair and make-up, set designers and community leaders to achieve these portraits. The image created of the student is an empowering, yet permeant image of the highest expression of themselves.

Living It! is supported by funds from IDEAS 40203 / YouthBuild Louisville’s 2014-15 ArtPlace America grant for “Creative Innovation Zone”.

Living It! is inspired by NYC’s Art Start’s Portrait Project. A completed series of portraits of will be on exhibition at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville Gallery during February, African American History Month.