ed hamilton

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Legacy: Anna Huddleston (1913-1999)

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art will present WIlma Bethel with the Art Educator Award, in memory of Anna Huddleston. Former LVA director John Begley remembers the influential artist and educator.

“. . . (African American artists) run around, do good things and then disappear.” - Fred Bond, a Louisville Black artist, colleague, and friend of Anna Huddleston

Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Anna Huddleston was a force for art education in Louisville for many years.  Beginning as a elementary art teacher in what were, in that period of segregation, referred to as Louisville’s "colored" schools, then as a middle school teacher at DuVall in the integrated Louisville Board of Education, and finally as the Resource Art Teacher for the Jefferson County Public School system, she mentored and encouraged many students, beginning instructors, and emerging artists.  She was also president of the Kentucky Art Education Association.

After retirement, she continued her community engagement in many ways, working to establish the Louisville Art Workshop with fellow Louisville artists G.C. Coxe, Fred Bond, and Ed Hamilton, and serving on various boards including the Bourgard College of Art and Music, and the Art Center Association (now the LVA) where she was deeply involved in expanding the free Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC) into new neighborhood venues, including the West End.

Generally working behind the scenes, she received deserved recognition in Black Kentucky artists: an exhibition of work by black artists living in Kentucky that was organized for the Kentucky Arts Commission and toured by them from June 1979 through January 1981, and shortly after when she was the first African American artist to be awarded the Kentucky Arts Council’s highest honor, the Milner Award, at that time the only Governor’s Award in the Arts in Kentucky.

Ed Hamilton, Anna Huddleston, Gretchen Bradleigh, William Duffy, & Sylvia Clay. Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Ed Hamilton, Anna Huddleston, Gretchen Bradleigh, William Duffy, & Sylvia Clay. Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

With the Stars Among Us luncheon on March 1, the LVA will again remember the important achievements of this landmark visual arts educator so that her contributions to following generations do not disappear.


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John Begley is a Printmaker, Installation, and Video Artist. From 1975 to 2014 he was a Curator and Gallery Director, including 19 years as Executive Director of LVA and several years with the UofL’s Hite Art Institute, where he is now Coordinator of the IHQ Project.

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Sculpture

Feature: Falls Art Foundry

For many, many years, the Bright Foundry was the primary metal arts foundry in Louisville. Even after founder Barney Bright’s death in 1997, the facility functioned under the stewardship of Barney’s son, Jep Bright until April 2016.

Artists: Matt Weir, Tamina Karem, and Scott Boyer

Artists: Matt Weir, Tamina Karem, and Scott Boyer

Matt Weir, Tamina Karem, & Scott Boyer all worked at Bright Foundry, and knowing Jep was thinking of shutting down, had talked to him about purchasing the equipment and opening a new Bronze metal casting foundry  on property they intended to lease on Portland Avenue, just across the street from The Table restaurant. They followed through and have now moved the contents of Bright Foundry into that location at 1715 Portland Avenue. They are still sorting things out, but are already working on projects and some small casting contracts.

Barney Bright’s River Horse statue at 6th & Chestnut was, of course, cast at Bright, as was Ed Hamilton’s York statue on the Belvedere, Bob Lockhart’s Robert Bellarmine statue on the campus of Bellarmine University, and many other local sculptures. Over the years there seemed to be plenty of work, so the Falls Art Foundry team are confident about the opportunity for work once they are fully established. But the journey to that result will require a lot of work  - and money.

Building plans by Mose Putney Architect

Building plans by Mose Putney Architect

The building, with over 55,000 square feet of space, high ceilings, and land allowing for expansion, is ideally suited to the task, but it will require modifications that will run in the neighborhood of $350,000 before the three will have met all of their goals.

Currently, the location satisfies much of the needs for the functioning foundry, with some changes needed in the floor to accommodate furnaces, extension of some interior walls to the high ceilings, and a second double wide door, but the team also has ambitions to develop what Boyer describes as, “our ideal foundry,” (the new building is about 19,000 square feet larger than Bright Foundry). Plans include building an annex to house retail and educational spaces that would enable outreach to the community. “Our long-term vision is for a sculpting campus,” explains Karem.

Artist, Tamina Karem with one of her recent pieces

Artist, Tamina Karem with one of her recent pieces

Between them, the trio can boast 40 plus years of experience working at Bright Foundry, and offer what Weir describes as, “a diversity of experience in materials and practices,” positioning them to be a full-service operation for artists in the area. “All foundries are collaborative efforts run by artists or, at least, craftspeople,” states Boyer, as he explains that the artists working to caste a bronze piece have a significant impact on the final result, often as much as 1/3 of the surface might change during the process. The observation underscores the importance of the relationship sculptors develop with a specific foundry. Bright Foundry enjoyed a strong reputation with artists, a reputation that Boyer, Karem, and Weir helped build and hope to carry over to Falls Art Foundry.

Artist, Matt Weir at work in Falls Art Foundry

Artist, Matt Weir at work in Falls Art Foundry

The technique of lost-wax casting is complicated. Weir breaks it down to nine stages, each of which contains several steps. Although all three have university educations, they learned the technique working at Bright. Because there is no academic foundry in Louisville right now, the opportunity to demonstrate the technique is important. It is older than one might assume, with the oldest known examples being the objects discovered in the “Cave of the Treasure “(Nahal Mishmar) hoard in southern Israel, and which belong to the Chalcolithic period (4500–3500 BC). Conservative estimates of age from carbon-14 dating date the items to c. 3700 BC, making them more than 5700 years old.

The Falls Art Foundry team currently rent the building with an option to purchase, and they seem nothing if not committed, so the smart money is on them following through and realizing their dream.

On June 2, it was announced that Louisville Visual Art would bestow the 2017 Barney Bright award of $1200 to Falls Art Foundry.

(Editor’s note: an interview on LVA’s PUBLIC, broadcast on WXOX-97.1 FM on 12.16.16, was used as a source for this article.) 


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.


Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Sculpture, Painting

Feature: William M. Duffy


“You have to be dedicated, but also giving of yourself.” — William M. Duffy


"African Heads" by William Duffy, prismacolor on paper

"African Heads" by William Duffy, prismacolor on paper

Artist, William M. Duffy

Everybody calls him “Duffy”. You say that name to anyone in the visual art community over 30 and they immediately know whom you’re talking about. A Louisville native who earned his BFA in Painting from the Louisville School of Art during its fabled heyday in Anchorage back in the 1970’s, he turned to sculpture after chancing upon an automobile collision that freed some marble from a pillar. He was fascinated by the piece of stone and took to it with a hammer and screwdriver when he got home.

Needless to say, William M. Duffy obtained the proper tools, but the story illustrates the unpretentious, workaday touch that seems characteristic of this artist. He has distinguished himself as a sculptor ever since, and a new exhibit at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Folks and Wee Folks: The Work of William M. Duffy, puts a long overdue spotlight on the man and his work.

Duffy was raised on Magnolia Avenue in the West End of Louisville, which, at that time, was predominantly Black, but the elementary school he attended, Virginia Ave. Elementary, was more balanced racially. “In my school, I would say it was closer to 50% White/50% Black back then,” recalls Duffy. He attended Shawnee High School, by which time he already knew he wanted to be an artist. Louisville School of Art came next, where he studied painting with Bob Barton.

"Electric Slide" by William Duffy

"Electric Slide" by William Duffy

But the most crucial influence in those early years was Gloucester Caliman “G.C.” Coxe (1907-1999). The most notable African American artist in Kentucky in that period, he was known as ‘the dean of Louisville’s African American artists.’ Duffy recalls, “He ran the Louisville Art Workshop on 35th Street back in the day, and we all called him, ‘the Master.” Duffy, along with Ed Hamilton, Sylvia Clay, Eddie Davis, and several others were a loose group around Coxe that eventually was given formal shape as “Montage.”

"I Fear None" by William Duffy, silk screen

"I Fear None" by William Duffy, silk screen

“It was difficult at that time for any of us as individuals to get a show in Louisville, so we formed Montage because we thought there would be strength in numbers. Part of it was that there was a militant, political edge in much of our work, and that seemed to make it even more difficult to be accepted by traditional galleries.” Montage exhibited as a group for several years, including at The Speed Museum, before disbanding, but this was happening at a time when several young, outspoken Black people holding a meeting could too easily arouse fear and suspicion. “Ed’s Shelby Street studio was kind of our center,” says Duffy, “and one night we emerged from a meeting there to find four police cars waiting for us with questions – ‘what kind of meeting was this?’ – that kind of thing…because the neighbors had called them; and that was in a predominantly Black neighborhood!”

The group also sought opportunities elsewhere. “G.C., Ed, and myself were in a show in Atlanta, so we drove to get to the exhibit opening, and then almost nobody came because the Falcons had a big game at the same time,” recalls Duffy, laughing at the memory. They returned to Louisville the same night driving for 8 straight hours in hammering, blinding rain.

"A Little Bird Told Me" by William Duffy, 7.75x5x7in, alabaster sculpture (2011)

"A Little Bird Told Me" by William Duffy, 7.75x5x7in, alabaster sculpture (2011)

But Louisville remained home for all three men, a commitment to the community that Duffy worries is not carrying through with younger generations of African American artists. Having taught youth art classes for over 30 years now (including with LVA), Duffy has seen a lot of talent come up through the education system only to move on to other cities that afford more opportunity. “G.C. stayed here, Ed stayed here…we came together in support of each other, and I’m not certain that is happening enough with young Black artists in Louisville right now.”

“You have to be dedicated, but also giving of yourself. I still hear young people who have the attitude, ‘This is what we need – this is how you can help us… almost never what do you need – how can we help you?” It is a different ethos from Duffy’s halcyon days with Montage. “We were always encouraging each other, always working to help each other out. I built the turntable in Ed Hamilton’s studio that he still uses today. We always did for each other.”

Duffy speaks about his life with self-effacing ease, yet not without a sure sense of his place in the history of African American artists in Louisville. While arguably not as celebrated as some of his contemporaries, his legacy of teaching ensures a lasting influence on the past, present, and future of the Louisville arts community.

Duffy’s work can be found in numerous private, corporate, and public collections, including Phillip Morris USA, Brown-Forman Corporation, Kentucky Fried Chicken (now YUM! Brands, Inc.), Humana Inc., The Louisville Orchestra, and The Speed Art Museum.

"At Rest" by William Duffy, 6.5x11.6.5in, bronze sculpture (2011)

"At Rest" by William Duffy, 6.5x11.6.5in, bronze sculpture (2011)

Folks and Wee Folks

April 3- May 25, 2017

Monday – Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm

Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
1701 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard
Louisville, KY 40203
502-583-4100
kcaah.org

Hometown: Louisville, KY
Age: 63
Education: BFA in Painting, Louisville School of Art
Gallery Representative: E&S Gallery (Louisville, KY)
Website: http://www.wmduffy.com/

"On My Block" by William Duffy

"On My Block" by William Duffy

"Queen for a Day" by William Duffy, alabaster sculpture on wood block

"Queen for a Day" by William Duffy, alabaster sculpture on wood block

Artist, Duffy with his wife Sherrolyn. Photo by Jason Harris.

Artist, Duffy with his wife Sherrolyn. Photo by Jason Harris.

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

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Sculpture, Public Art

Feature: Ed Hamilton

"Ed Hamilton's Studio"     P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton's Studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

On the west-facing side of the Glassworks building in downtown Louisville you will find an over-size image of sculptor ED HAMILTON with the legend, “Ed’s Louisville.” Part of a series of such tributes to native sons and daughters located throughout the city, the placement of this particular portrait is significant because the west side of town is where Hamilton came of age. Although born in Cincinnati, he grew up on what was then Walnut Street (later rechristened Muhammad Ali Boulevard); a stretch from 6th Street west to 18th Street that he describes in his autobiography as, “…my street, and I owned every crack and every weed in those concrete sidewalks.”* So it is appropriate that his visage is cast out onto what truly was Ed’s Louisville. 

It also explains why the renowned artist has never let fame lure him away. His heart is here, where his parents, Edward Hamilton, Sr. and Amy Jane Hamilton, ran the family business, a tailoring and barbershop, in the early Mammoth Building at 6th and Walnut Streets. Hamilton’s first steps as an artist were at Parkland Junior High School, where art teacher Harriet O’ Malley nominated him for the Children’s Free Art Classes (CFAC) operated by Louisville Visual Art, then called The Art Center, located on the University of Louisville campus. 

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

Hamilton becomes animated talking about this turning point: “If that teacher hadn’t picked me out for CFAC - she could have picked any of those other kids – but she picked me. I never would have gotten there on my own. I had no thought, no ambition to be an artist. That’s an example of why teachers are so important.”

Jean Mulhall, a professional medical illustrator taught that CFAC class, but the human form was not a subject. “We were mostly outside. We drew all over campus.”

Later he attended Shawnee High School, where his art instructor was Patsy Griffiths. In his autobiography, Hamilton describes the contentious atmosphere created by the push for “total” integration in the city schools: “I still remember the animosity and disrespect from white students in that school.” So the fact that Griffith, a white teacher, fostered the talent of a black student in the midst of such tension made an important impression on the budding young artist. When Hamilton graduated in 1965, she pushed him to apply for a scholarship to the Art Center School, which was located in the same building where he had taken CFAC classes. When he returned, with portfolio under his arm, for his interview, he was taken aback: “It had been a few years, and I was still young,’ he laughs, ”and I kept thinking, ‘this place sure seems familiar’.”

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

The Art Center building was located on South First Street on the U of L campus, and Hamilton used to hang out between classes at a café in Bigelow Hall that was a gathering place on campus for Black students. It was there he met his wife. “I made my move… and introduced myself. When she said her name was Bernadette…well, the name alone was enough for me!” For their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2017, the Hamiltons are planning a trip to Europe to celebrate.

Of course, there is a lot more life and history between that meeting and today. For 49 years Ed Hamilton has built a career and a reputation that now positions him as one of the foremost American sculptors of public work. Yet his studio is surprisingly modest considering the scale of some of his most famous pieces: the Lincoln Memorial in Louisville, the Joe Louis statue in Detroit, or the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, in Newport News, Virginia. It is a reminder of Hamilton’s humble roots and that, whatever his preeminence, he remains a hard-working artist.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an   Underground Railroad conductor.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor.

His latest commission is a life-size bronze bust of George DeBaptiste to be installed in a park development in Madison, Indiana. DeBaptiste (1815-1875) was a freeborn black man who settled in Madison before the Civil War and was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, ferrying slaves across the Ohio into Indiana, and later a key figure in the abolitionist movement after riots forced him to move his family to Michigan. It is a subject that fits very well into Hamilton’s oeuvre of African-American History. Taking on such stories as the mutiny of the slave-ship Amistad, African American soldiers during the American Civil War, the migration of southern blacks to the western United States, or the contributions of such individuals as Booker T. Washington and Medgar Evers, seems a natural task for someone with such an acute sense of history. Hamilton does extensive research into the historical background of each project just to prepare his submission, long before he has been formally selected. “I’d like to think it makes the difference – one of the reasons they choose ME.” Even 25 years after completing the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut, he speaks extemporaneously and in great detail of Cinque’s mutiny aboard the notorious slave ship and the landmark Supreme Court ruling that finally allowed he and his compatriots to return to their native Sierre Leone twenty years before the Civil War. Should Hamilton ever wish to “retire” from making monuments, he could easily forge a lucrative career as a guest lecturer in history classes, just don’t expect that retirement to come anytime soon.

A 360° video featuring the "Bust of George DeBaptiste" (Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor) by Ed Hamilton. 

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

*The Birth of An Artist: A Journey of Discovery, by Ed Hamilton, Chicago Spectrum Press, 2006


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.


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

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