business

Special, Mural, Painting, Photography

Feature: 1619 Flux

1619 FLUX is re-opening for our One-Year Anniversary on April 15th, 2017 with a new Exhibition about Revitalization in West Louisville, and other surrounding neighborhoods.


“1619 Flux is NOT an art gallery.” — Kara Nichols


Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition  Co-Curators:  Jesse Levesque, Kara Nichols, and Gwendolyn Kelly

Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition
Co-Curators:  Jesse Levesque, Kara Nichols, and Gwendolyn Kelly

Kara Nichols and Jessie Levesque did not want to open an art gallery on West Main Street. Not that there’s anything wrong with that notion, it’s just that the pair had something else in mind. The full name they gave their venture, 1619 Flux Art + Activism is actually fairly direct in announcing the mission, but once you put art on the walls with a price tag, “gallery” is the easy assumption. People get it – they know what that is and they can feel good about it. But the real mission – the second part of that name – is an idea that still struggles to gain currency in the mainstream. What exactly does it mean to use art to effect social change?

Part of the problem is that it can mean so many things. “We want to engage artists who are solving problems creatively,” explains Levesque, “and, of course, part of that engagement will include exhibiting art, but there’s more to it.”

Nichols, who holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Louisville, never saw herself in the role of “curator”, but she and Levesque are inventing a new role for themselves, step-by-step.  The first step was to make a home. The building is a humble, low-slung bungalow-like edifice that sits back off of Main Street between 16th and 17th Streets. It seems utilitarian on the outside, and the interior is open and efficient; a good space for a reception. When 1619 opened its doors one year ago, there was a party attended by a host of Louisville VIP’s: Mayor Greg Fisher, Ghislain D’ Humeires, Teddy Abrams, and many others. The high profile event drew a large crowd and the owners engaged a valet parking company to handle the traffic. That doesn’t seem unreasonable for such a glittering night, but later they heard negative comments from the neighbors. “They said to us, ‘seeing valet parking told us we weren’t welcome,’” says Nichols. “Which is exactly the opposite of what we intended.”

"Portland Car Show" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Portland Car Show" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

Which just underscores the challenge of trying to focus creative social activism through a physical location designed to pull people across the mythical 9th Street divide.

"Consume" by Bryan K. Holden, 48x72x9in, Plastic Liquor Bottles, Cardboard Homeless Signs, Wood, Resin, Ink, Paint, Liquor, Cigarette Butts, Pills, Syringes, Keys and Wedding Ring

"Consume" by Bryan K. Holden, 48x72x9in, Plastic Liquor Bottles, Cardboard Homeless Signs, Wood, Resin, Ink, Paint, Liquor, Cigarette Butts, Pills, Syringes, Keys and Wedding Ring

Hoping to clarify their intentions, Nichols and Levesque invited artist and West End resident Gwendolyn Kelly to co-curate a new exhibit that opens April 15, Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow. Although it does feature artists: Adam Horton, Randall Webber, Anne Huntington, Gwendolyn Kelly, Bryan K. Holden, Scott Vinson, D.R. Stewart, REMI, Kacy Jackson, Dwayne Whidby, Josh Ison, Shaun Sargent, Andrew Cozzens, and Erik Nohalty will all have work in the show, it will also highlight people and businesses that are making a creative difference in neighborhoods in transition: Algonquin, Butchertown, California, Chickasaw, Germantown, NuLu, Parkland, Park DuValle, Park Hill, Phoenix Hill, Portland, Russell, Shawnee, Smoketown, and SoBro/SoFo, among others.

One of the ways they accomplish this is by devising categories for people who affect change through creative action. In the statement for the exhibit, the curators state: “Creative people help to revitalize neighborhoods as architects, artists, connectors, employers, muralists, navigators, and witnesses. Art and activism emerges when creative people invest their time, money, and energy in neighborhoods in flux.”

"Pharoah Sanders" by Kacy Jackson, 48x24in, acrylic and spray paint on board

"Pharoah Sanders" by Kacy Jackson, 48x24in, acrylic and spray paint on board

Nichols, Levesque and Kelly came up with a series of identities:

Navigator
Architects
Witnesses
Connectors
Muralists
Employers
Artists
Evolvers

They see these terms as establishing entry points for individual to become a part of the discussion. “There is so much going on,” says Kelly, “but if people can identify with one of these roles, then they are involved.” The roles encompass people, businesses, social agencies, and art non-profits. “Connectors are churches, school, organizations like Louisville Visual Art,” explains Levesque, “Employers are obvious, but some of the other categories are more subtle in their definition, and, of course, we are all witnesses.”

It may seem surprising that Nichols and Levesque opened their space while still trying to figure things out, but their lack of arrogance and willingness to learn and grow provides an important example for people of means who want to make a difference in the community. It’s too easy to talk yourself out of taking such a risk, and nobody wants to look foolish, but perhaps in the territory where angels fear to tread is exactly where we might find the greatest opportunity for change.

Grand Re-Opening and One-Year Anniversary!
1619 FLUX: Art + Activism’s
Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition

Saturday, April 15th, 2017
5:00pm - 10:00pm

Meat from Superior Meats, BBQ by Boss Hog, wine & beer, sides and desserts from The Table, Farm To Fork, and Sweet Peaches

Live music with WoWuWoo & Krew from 8:00pm to 10:00pm

"Phoenix Hill" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Phoenix Hill" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Sweet Peaches Restaurant Mural" by Resko, Photo by Randall Webber. 8x11in

"Sweet Peaches Restaurant Mural" by Resko, Photo by Randall Webber. 8x11in

"Smoketown Teardown" by Adam Horton, 36x36in, photograph

"Smoketown Teardown" by Adam Horton, 36x36in, photograph

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Mixed Media

Q&A: Deborah Stanley


“Experience will be more valuable than anything learned in the classroom.”
— Deborah Stanley


Artist Deborah Stanley

Artist Deborah Stanley

Deborah Stanley has been a juried member of the Louisville Artisans Guild (LAG) since 2011 and a member of the Louisville Visual Art (LVA) since 2014 and have been a participatant in the Art[squared] project since its inception.  Her work has been displayed and featured in various art galleries and exhibitions in the Louisville area such as LAG 2016 Holiday Showcase and 2016 Annual Exhibit; Kaviar Forge and Gallery (Touched with Fire, 2016 and The Figure Revealed, 2014, juried participant); Gallery 104 in La Grange, KY (the 2014 Red Show, juried participant), 2013 Crafts of Kentucky Exhibition, (juried participant), JCC Patio Gallery Presents Louisville Artisans Guild, 2013, the 2012 and 2013 Brown-Foreman Annual Pride Fair, The KORE Gallery (former partner), 2012 September Art Fair Mellwood Art Center, juried participant, Louisville Artisans Guild Annual Art Exhibit, and The Women's Club of Louisville (2012 Annual No-Jury Art Show).

When did you first think you would be an artist?

2004

Who or what inspires you now?

Beautiful and colorful visual imagery in nature or photo images  

"Lukas" by Deborah Stanley, 8x10in, polymer clay (2016) $350 |  BUY NOW

"Lukas" by Deborah Stanley, 8x10in, polymer clay (2016) $350 | BUY NOW

Your work is unique, and blurs many lines. How did you come to work with polymer clay?

I was working on an art project with my young son and needed something different and colorful that would be easy enough for a child to make into simple shapes. However, I found an immediate connection and affinity for the feel of the clay and the endless possibilities I saw when the colors are blended. 

You describe yourself as an “abstract expressionist,” yet the images also contain representational figures and faces – talk about how you balance the two strains in your work?

I strive to express an emotion or feeling with every piece I create. While many of my creations contain representational figures and faces, my concentration is on communicating emotion or feeling rather than trying to create a technically correct replica of a particular subject. I would say my balance of the two strains is giving just enough technical detail to capture the essence of the subject and let abstract expressionism take over from there.

"  Gypsy Dancer" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 |  BUY NOW

"Gypsy Dancer" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 | BUY NOW

If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?

Photography. I have always had a passion for photography and previously owned and operated a photography business specializing in wedding and family photographs.

What frightens you the most?

Bugs!

What challenges you more than anything?

Coloring within the lines.

What is your favorite music to listen to when making art?

R&B/hip hop/rap/oldies/pop  

Vinyl or CD?

iTunes - Sorry but if I have to choose between the two, it would be CD

What advice would you give a young artist just out of college?

Experience will be more valuable than anything learned in the classroom. Keep working and never feel like you've "arrived". You will always improve if you keep working.

Tell us about an important moment of transition for you as an artist?

For my first several years as an artist, I exclusively created abstract designs, always determined to "let go/let flow" with the clay. A few years ago, I accepted a commission, which required the inclusion of a representational figure. This commission challenged me to find the most creative way to express freedom while meeting the requirement of my client. This was a pivotal moment for me and gave me the outlet to express myself or an idea or feeling in every piece I now create.

"Sheba" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 |  BUY NOW

"Sheba" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 | BUY NOW

How do you feel about local art scene in Louisville? What would you change about it?

I love the art scene in Louisville. As a transplant from the Washington, DC area, I was pleasantly surprised at how art friendly Louisville is. Just walking downtown and admiring the artistic bike racks and generations of "Gallopalooza" horse statues is always entertaining. There are plenty of galleries and venues that are very welcoming for local artists of all levels. I wouldn't change a thing.

Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think influenced this?

Yes. As I described above, my style has evolved from strictly abstract, to Abstract Expressionism utilizing representational figures or faces. It was a required element in a new commission, so I had to give it a try and have not looked back!

MV5BMzMzNzU0NzQ1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTMzOTEzMQ@@._V1_SY1000_SX670_AL_.jpg

Favorite movie?

"Something New"

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Boy George. I would ask him where his courage comes from to have demanded to live and look his own way since childhood. His love of freedom and honest way of expressing himself has always been an inspiration to me.

Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Age: 52
Education: Studied Business Administration and Sociology at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD
Website: http://www.aegalleryshop.com

"Color Chameleon" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 |  BUY NOW

"Color Chameleon" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016) $425 | BUY NOW

"The People's Champ" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016)

"The People's Champ" by Deborah Stanley, 9x12in, polymer clay (2016)

"The Purplest" by Deborah Stanley, 11x142in, polymer clay (2016), $500   |  BUY NOW

"The Purplest" by Deborah Stanley, 11x142in, polymer clay (2016), $500 | BUY NOW

Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Painting, Mixed Media

Feature: Keeping It Weird For The Holidays

Revelry Gallery located at 742 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Revelry Gallery located at 742 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202

“Buy Local” has become a rallying cry in American communities in the last several years, and with good reason. As outlined by the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), the impact on local economy is obvious, but that impact extends to environmental and philanthropic ideals that are equally important. Businesses that market the work of local artists may not be the first local business that comes to mind, but Revelry Boutique Gallery exemplifies the points in the LIBA checklist. All of its products are Kentucky-made, its gallery space has become a spotlight location for local artists, and the owner, Mo McKnight Howe, has emerged as a community leader who works tirelessly in support of cultural non-profits (full disclosure: Ms. Howe serves on the board of Louisville Visual Art). As the intense holiday shopping season is now upon us, it is important to take note of the range of local creations available. Three Revelry artists provide examples of the range of unique gifts available.

"Scenes Of The Seasons" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Paintings, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 Each

"Scenes Of The Seasons" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Paintings, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 Each

Kevin Oechsli

For a holiday founded on the most sacred of events in Christianity, Christmas has become surprisingly characterized by lightness and humor. The debate that the holiday has become overwhelmed by materialism has continued for decades and will likely continue for decades more, but some that feeling is founded, appropriately, in the innocence of children. The good will and jolly tone of the iconic Santa Claus figure never fails to find welcome at this time of the year, and Santa always seems to have good sense of humor about himself. Artist Kevin Oechsli’ s perennial series “Scenes of the Season” takes full advantage of this quality by placing an uncharacteristically athletic St. Nick swimming underwater, surfing a high wave, or airborne on a snowboard. It should not come as any surprise that the generous and beneficent figure should enjoy himself to the fullest, but that he is never seen except in his traditional red and white costume just might.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 55

"Three Wise Men (Scenes Of The Seasons)" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Painting, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 |  BUY NOW

"Three Wise Men (Scenes Of The Seasons)" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Painting, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 | BUY NOW

"Santa, Sled, and R eindeer  (Scenes Of The Seasons)" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Painting, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 |  BUY NOW

"Santa, Sled, and Reindeer (Scenes Of The Seasons)" by Kevin Oechsli, Mini Painting, Acrylic on Wood (2016), $30 | BUY NOW

Various Works   by Wood & Twine, wood, string (2016)

Various Works by Wood & Twine, wood, string (2016)

Wood & Twine

An emphasis on “local” artists and craftspeople might not require motifs unique to Louisville, but perhaps it is inevitable that at the intersection of creativity and commerce we find community pride. Melody Niemann and Jessica England, who together form the team Wood & Twine, make no bones about their love for their hometown: “We feel that it is important to represent Louisville and its distinct culture in our artwork. This can be seen in pieces such as Kentucky, Louisville Skyline and Fleur de Lis. Our participation in the Louisville art scene, such as the Flea off Market, Deck the Walls, Cuteopia!, and local charity events, exemplifies the importance we place on giving back to the city that raised us.”

The simple appeal is not dissimilar to folk art, one of the virtues of which is the ability to connect on straightforward level with a wide audience. “Our artwork takes a very unique approach to utilizing raw materials. Using wood, nails and twine, we are able to create distinct pieces with an unprocessed and rustic, yet simple feel. Our work is very accessible to all, available in a variety of sizes and designs. And no two pieces are exactly the same, making each a one-of-a-kind staple for the home.”

Name: Melody Niemann and Jessica England (Wood & Twine)
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 23 and 25
Education: BA in Marketing, with Minors in Communications and Management, University of Louisville (both)
Website: https://www.instagram.com/woodntwine/

“Louisville Skyline” by Wood & Twine, 16x12in, wood, string (2016), $75 |  BUY NOW

“Louisville Skyline” by Wood & Twine, 16x12in, wood, string (2016), $75 | BUY NOW

“But First, Bourbon” by Wood & Twine, 6x8in, wood, string (2016), $35 |  BUY NOW

“But First, Bourbon” by Wood & Twine, 6x8in, wood, string (2016), $35 | BUY NOW

“My Old Kentucky Home” by Wood & Twine, 8x6in, wood, string (2016), $35 |  BUY NOW

“My Old Kentucky Home” by Wood & Twine, 8x6in, wood, string (2016), $35 | BUY NOW

"Inspiration Bracelets" by Gretchen Leachman

"Inspiration Bracelets" by Gretchen Leachman

Gretchen Leachman

Gretchen Leachman works in a variety of mediums, but the majority of her time is spent in jewelry design, mainly working with metal, wire, and gemstones. Some of the pieces are plaintive and understated, such as the necklace charms we see here, but others are more intricate and luxurious in their impact. “I pay close attention to creating pieces that will have meaning for the person wearing it,” explains Leachman.

She is currently involved in several pen & ink projects as well. “One of my current favorites involves collecting a series of words from family members about their home and family life … then using those words to depict a drawing of their house. Thoughts & feelings are the heart of what makes each home unique and loved, and I want to capture that as a reminder to those living there.”

“I love art. I always have. I fully support the theory that art should be fun and inspirational, and that is what I want to bring out in everything I do. It is my goal to make a connection with each individual, providing a small reminder of inner strength, joy and empowerment. Everyone has greatness and worth. Sometimes we just need a tangible reminder that we are, indeed, enough.”

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: SHA 1990; BA, Advertising, Western Kentucky University 1994
Website: http://www.GretchenLeachmanDesigns.com

"Symbols Of Peace Made With Vintage Safety Pins" by Gretchen Leachman

"Symbols Of Peace Made With Vintage Safety Pins" by Gretchen Leachman

" Hammered & Stamped Necklaces " by   Gretchen Leachman

"Hammered & Stamped Necklaces" by Gretchen Leachman

Other artists to be found at Revelry include painters Bob Lockhart, Julio Cesar, Melissa Crase, Ewa Perz, Joshua Jenkins, Erik Orr, and Gibbs Rounsavall, jewelry makers Rachael Erickson and Lindsay Hack, and household crafts by Ashleigh Anthony, DayNa Gliebe, Paul Nelson and Mark McGee, just to name a few.

Mo McKnight Howe, Molly Huffman and Major Hanging Out At Revelry Gallery.

Mo McKnight Howe, Molly Huffman and Major Hanging Out At Revelry Gallery.

In Louisville, the Buy Local catchphrase is “Keeping Louisville Weird,” which captures the unique tone of the River City’s celebration of the individualism of locally owned businesses. Flair and eccentricity are part and parcel of the experience, in which the idiosyncratic personalities of the owners are a crucial part of the identity of the enterprise. When you visit Revelry this holiday season, you also will meet Mo, Molly, and Major (the official greeter), and that personal connection to the community they represent gives added value to the shopping experience and deeper meaning to the act of giving.


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

For information on how you can advertise through Artebella    click here   .

For information on how you can advertise through Artebella click here.

Photography

Vignette: Patricia Brock

“Bathed in Sunlight” by Patricia Brock, 20x20in, photography on brushed aluminum, $320 |  BUY NOW

“Bathed in Sunlight” by Patricia Brock, 20x20in, photography on brushed aluminum, $320 | BUY NOW

In the work of Patricia Brock we see how versatile the camera can be as a creative tool. Brock shoots a broad range of images, including work of a distinctly commercial sensibility. The intimate close-ups of flora capture the grace and delicacy of nature in representational terms, yet “Bathed in Sunlight” also allows the recognizable forms of flower petals to begin a shift into abstraction. The overwhelming light of the sun subtly blinding the detail at the very moment it clarifies it.

And then the high contrast of her recent exploration of the newly opened Lincoln suspension bridge stands apart from the flowers; expansive in their composition, Brock pushes the color into extremes through digital manipulation, now emphasizing the geometric abstraction of the vertical cables through deliberate choice. The older bridge we see through those dissecting vertical elements establishing context and even further contrast.

Patricia Brock taking a photo with her camera.

Patricia Brock taking a photo with her camera.

Brock had used her mother’s box camera as a child, and returned to photography after retiring from teaching elementary school 18 years ago, embarking on a new career and opening her own photography business. She has printed on various materials such as photo paper, metallic papers, canvas and brushed aluminum recently introduced a new creative line for the home or garden with her photographs printed on brushed aluminum or acrylic, which can be used in outdoor spaces. 

Brock is a juried participant of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Crafted Program, The Architectural Artists Directory, and a juried exhibiting member of The Louisville Artisans Guild. Her work is represented by KORE Gallery in Louisville, KY. Currently her work is on exhibit as a part of At the Rivers Bend: Our Place on the Ohio, at the Evansville Museum in Evansville, IN. It runs through November 27.

“Riveted (Big 4 Pedway Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 16x20in, photography on brushed aluminum, $275 |  BUY NOW

“Riveted (Big 4 Pedway Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 16x20in, photography on brushed aluminum, $275 | BUY NOW

PUBLISHED WORKS
2015 BLINK, Art Design Consultants, Cincinnati, OH
2008 Kentucky Quilt Trails
2007 Saint Paul’s Art on The Parish Green, New Albany, IN, advertising material
2006 The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Vol. 72-4
2006 The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Vol. 72-3
2006 Promotional Materials, KY Crafted: The Market, KY
2004 Botanica Fleur de Lis Poster, Louisville, KY

COLLECTIONS
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, KY
Saint Joseph Hospital, KY
Private collections, Louisville, KY
Private collections, The Villages, FL

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 68
Education: BS in Education, MA in Education from Eastern Kentucky University 
Gallery Representation:
KORE Gallery (Louisville)
Website: http://www.PatriciaBrockPhotography.com

“Suspension I (Lincoln Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 36x22in, photography, triptych on acrylic, $575 |  BUY NOW

“Suspension I (Lincoln Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 36x22in, photography, triptych on acrylic, $575 | BUY NOW

“Bermuda Hibiscus” by Patricia Brock, 36x24in, photography on brushed aluminum, $454 |  BUY NOW

“Bermuda Hibiscus” by Patricia Brock, 36x24in, photography on brushed aluminum, $454 | BUY NOW

“Suspension V (Lincoln Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 16x20in, photography on archival photo paper (matted and framed), $225 |  BUY NOW

“Suspension V (Lincoln Bridge)” by Patricia Brock, 16x20in, photography on archival photo paper (matted and framed), $225 | BUY NOW

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Interested in advertising on Artebella?    Click here    for more information.

Interested in advertising on Artebella? Click here for more information.

Painting, Mixed Media, Photography, Ceramics

Feature: Building A Foundation At Art Sanctuary

"Branching Out" by  Britany Baker,  103x23in, charcoal on paper (2016)

"Branching Out" by Britany Baker, 103x23in, charcoal on paper (2016)

Photo by  Sarah Katherine Davis

Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis

One of the aspects of the art community that tends to be under appreciated is how much artists, especially visual artists do for themselves; taking care of business independently, often with a scrappy, can-do attitude. It happens often out of necessity, because social infrastructure and municipal support for such projects can be hard to come by, even in a city that prides itself on generations of support for local artists, but it also has always been a part of the counter-culture identity embraced by many younger artists, one in which integrity is equated with struggle.

I’m not sure that Lisa Frye and Britany Baker had any such thoughts in mind when organizing Art Sanctuary, the artist’s studio space located at 1433 South Shelby Street in the Germantown neighborhood. The current President and Vice-President, respectively, are overflowing with war stories of the constant uphill battle to make the dream a reality. But I guess if it were easy to build a vision, everyone would be doing it.

Frye, a visual artist, founded Art Sanctuary in 2004. Her first efforts were pop-up exhibits, or ‘art soirees’, as they became know, at locations such as River Bend Winery, Felice Vineyard, Flame Run, Petrus Nightclub, Main Street Lounge, Mellwood Arts Center, and many more. “That was back when art shows in coffee shops wasn’t even a thing yet,” remembers Frye. An attempt to secure a permanent space led to collaborations with The Alley Theater when they were occupying various spaces at The Pointe on East Washington Street, but the uncertainties of that circumstance led Frye to believe that Art Sanctuary needed to follow its own path. “We applied for and were granted non-profit status in 2006, but we still found ourselves with no place to show on a regular basis.”

Artist Victoria Klotz at work. Photo Sarah Katherine Davis

Artist Victoria Klotz at work. Photo Sarah Katherine Davis

It was in this period that Frye became involved with the Va Va Vixens, a neo-burlesque, vaudevillian style performance troupe who mount extravagant shows of music, dance, and acrobatics. Original founder Christiane Nicoulin moved on to other creative adventures and left Frye as Producer/Manager, writing and producing shows such as the upcoming yuletide holiday show, Va Va Festivus, at Headliners Music Hall, December 8 -10.

Frankie Steele at work. Photo by Brian Bohannon.

Frankie Steele at work. Photo by Brian Bohannon.

Enter photographer Frankie Steele, who was looking for a building to develop as a “maker space.” It’s a phrase that has gained currency in the intervening years, but Steele had managed Ice Box Co-Labs, an earlier co-working space on Main Street, long before the trend picked up steam in Louisville. He met Dennis Becker, who in 2008 had purchased the wedge-shaped building at 1433 South Shelby Street to use as a warehouse for his business, Voit Electric. Steele made a formal presentation to Becker outlining his vision for the building, and began work on the first spaces – studios for he and his wife, Baker, independently. The need for a non-profit organization to structure fundraising seemed important, and Baker reached out to her friend Lisa Frye about Art Sanctuary, which had no brick and mortar location. A union was born, and Steele and Baker joined the AS board in 2012. Scott Slusher joined shortly thereafter, and the first formal lease was signed as Art Sanctuary.

Artists Lisa Frye and Britany Baker. Photo by Frankie Steele.

Artists Lisa Frye and Britany Baker. Photo by Frankie Steele.

It is where Art Sanctuary now makes its home. The 26,000 square foot space seemed well suited to the two-fold mission to house individual artist’s studios and rehearsal/performance space. It came equipped mostly with potential, and multiple loading doors into a wide, high-ceilinged space and a second floor. The group started with just a few spaces, but it wasn’t long before landlord Becker opened up more space for them, until, in stages, they had a lease on the entire building. “Dennis has been terrific,” remarks Frye. “It really feels like he is on our side, and wants us to succeed.”

Baker estimates that Steele has personally been responsible for about 90% of the work that has been accomplished: “He envisioned the space as what it has become, built the stage, installed the fire-rated doors, designed and built the rolling gallery walls. He fixed everything that needed fixing, found deals on what we were missing, did all the heavy lifting - literally.” Frye concurs wholeheartedly: “Without Frankie, we would not be a fraction of what we are today.” Now the board numbers seven, with approximately sixty visual and performing artists involved.

The current entrance is from McHenry Street, on the southeast side, and this half of the building is devoted to visual art, with a spare gallery space and photography studio for rent by the hour on the first floor, and individual studio spaces upstairs. Many of the occupants are painters: Rita Cameron, Sabra Crockett, Victoria Klotz, Brittni Pullen, Kelly Rains, Shahn Rigsby, Nancy Ann Sturdevant, and Charlotte Pollock to name a few, mixed media artists Michael Braaksma, and Kate Mattingly, ceramicist Sarabeth Post, photographers Frankie Steele and Tony Dixon, can also be found there, and even one playwright and free-lance journalist who also works the arts and culture beat, Eli Keel. 

"March 30, 2016 1pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016), $350 |  BUY NOW

"March 30, 2016 1pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016), $350 | BUY NOW

On the Shelby Street side, a high and wide space that aches to be performed in stands idle while various permit issues wait to be resolved. The entry doors open into a suitable little box office nook, which spills into an ample lobby where Frye and Baker see a permanent gallery space. Beyond that stands an ample proscenium stage and floor that could likely accommodate several hundred seats. It will someday make a perfect home for Va Va Vixens, but for now it settles for prep space for multi-media artists like Ryan Daly, who is working on the upcoming Louisville Ballet production of Swan Lake

Photo by  Sarah Katherine Davis

Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis

How long it will take to fully realize Art Sanctuary’s potential in this facility is difficult to estimate. One of the challenges in adapting such an old building with so much history, and repurposing it for multiple uses, is that the past is revealed layer by layer, excavating a crazy-quilt legacy of zoning and renovations that did, or didn’t follow, regulations. “I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far,” exclaims Frye. Baker is slightly more philosophical about this moment for Art Sanctuary: “ It also feels healthy. It's like how you can intentionally stress a plant, by picking off the earliest buds or breaking branches to encourage a stronger, more stable foundation, then it flowers more beautifully than you ever thought it would.”

Art Sanctuary will once again be participating in Open Studio Weekend, November 5 and 6, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and the University of Louisville’s Hite Institute. Participating Artists will include Britany Baker, Michael Braaksma, Rita Cameron, Sabra Crockett, Jada Lynn Dixon, Victoria Klotz, Samantha Ludwig, Kate Mattingly, Brittni Pullen, Shahn Rigsby, Frankie Steele, & Joseph Welsh. Three artists who have moved in since the original deadline for the event will also be working in their studios during those times. They are Nancy Ann Sturdevant, Charlotte Pollock, and Sarabeth Post.

"Through A Veil" by SaraBeth Post, 9x5.25in, lathe carved blown glass (2016), $500 |  BUY NOW

"Through A Veil" by SaraBeth Post, 9x5.25in, lathe carved blown glass (2016), $500 | BUY NOW


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.