neighborhoods

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.

Photography

Vignette: Charles Mintz


“Hardware stores are about self-reliance and culture that values results rather than shiny new things. In today’s world, they are survivors.” — Charles Mintz


"Cedar Center Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Cedar Center Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

As we make the world shiny and new with urban renewal and fashionable shopping malls, there is still a network of old-fashioned hardware stores located in American communities. The counters are aged; once sharp corners worn to a nub, yellowed tile floors, the glare of fluorescent lights on plastic packaged merchandise filling every square inch of space, so that the color of the walls remain a mystery. Photographer Charles Mintz has been documenting these archetypal exemplars of the American character for the last few years, searching out the rustic and utilitarian businesses wherever he travels.

As is his custom, Mintz uses a large format film camera with interior exposures ranging from one to six minutes. He explains how it serves to break the ice with his subjects:  “Though ungainly, the camera is appreciated by the owners, who gave their permission for the project, and allows some control over focus and perspective. The project is a continuation of work exploring the Great American Dream and the meaning of home. Hardware stores are where we go to fix things - to make things. They are about self-reliance and culture that values results rather than shiny new things. In today’s world, they are survivors.”

"  Heuser Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Heuser Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

“All of my work is about things that are important to me. It is built around my biography but is not about me. Rather it is about the culture of my time and place. It is intended to make you feel and to make you think, though it is not didactic. While this project is not traditional portraiture, it pictures the people that own, operate and shop in these stores. In addition, we can see both common elements and hints of where we are. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of place. To the extent possible, I want the subjects to speak for themselves with a minimum of my interpretation.”

Since becoming a full time photographer in 2008, Mintz has explored portraiture through objects and locations: The Album Project, Precious Objects and, still in progress, Costumes. Even Every Place – I Have Ever Lived, where people in the images are largely unrecognizable, is uniquely personal, beginning with my childhood home that was in foreclosure and continuing in all my lifetime neighborhoods the work has become less traditionally photographic both in form and method.

"  Hollywood Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Hollywood Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

Mintz was Artist in Residence at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley CA in March 2016, and he was was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2015. His work can be found in museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American History, private and corporate collections in North America, Europe and Asia.

Trillium Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press, published his latest book, “Lustron Stories”, in 2016. The Lustron series was exhibited at LVA’s PUBLIC Gallery in Louisville in 2015.

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Age: 69
Education: Mintz studied photography at Maine Photographic Workshop, Parsons School of Design, the International Center for Photography, Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College. He has a BSEE from Purdue University and an MSEE from Cleveland State University.
Gallery Representation: 1point618 Gallery
Website: www.chuckmintz.com

"  Krays Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Krays Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

"  Rodeo Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Rodeo Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

"  Rutledge Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Rutledge Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. 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.