Academy @ Shawnee

Open Doors

Open Doors Feature: Student Collaboration for Human Abstract

While LVA and Louisville Ballet have been collaborating to bring Human Abstract to the Kentucky Center, their education teams have been working with the students at Newcomer Academy and The Academy @ Shawnee on a student-led version of the project! Louisville Ballet led students at Newcomer through the process of planning the choreography for their own performance interpreting William Blake's Human Abstract while LVA helped Shawnee visual art students conceptualize and build sets to go along with the piece. The result is breathtaking— performances were held at The Academy @ Shawnee as well as at The Kentucky Center!

Member Monday

Member Monday: Beth Holladay

How did you first get involved with LVA?

As a high school art teacher at the Academy at Shawnee, I worked with LVA and Ehren Reed on a Kentucky Fund for the Art's grant funded Open Doors Honor Quilt Project inspired by Judy Chicago’s International Honor Quilt.

 When did you first know that art was going to be a big part of your life?

In elementary school I wanted to be an author/illustrator, later I wanted to be a photographer, and in college, I finally discovered the field of graphic design. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic professor, Angela Lee, that grounded that design education in studio art practice, and I knew it was the field for me. It wasn’t until years later, though, that I decided to attend graduate school to study art education.

It took me (what felt like) a very long time to really grasp my role as an artist, but that became much clearer when combined with my desire to teach.

 What does LVA add to your life?

LVA provides artist connections, support, teaching opportunities, and most importantly, opportunities for my students through programs like Studio 2000 and Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC). I see LVA as a critical driving force of connection, camaraderie and momentum in the growing Louisville art scene. LVA makes me feel hopeful about the future of the arts in our city.

How else are you involved in the community?

I’m a mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. My little, Julia, is a high school student who inspires me as an artist and as an educator, and BB/BS has given us many opportunities to get engaged in our community together.

I’m also a proud volunteer at Girls Rock Louisville, who aims to empower girls and gender­ non-conforming youth from all backgrounds by exploring music creation in a supportive, inclusive environment. At their summer camps, I’ve taught campers to create their own band logos and how to screen print their own t-shirts.

Describe your perfect Sunday afternoon.

I’d love to have a meaningful talk with friends over a meal, do some exploring, make a few photographs, and hear live music.

Who is your favorite local artist?

So many favorites! Illustrator Robby Davis, Photographer and Installation artist Mary Carothers, assemblage artist Caroline Waite, painter Ericka Jeffries and painter Gaela Irwin, and photographer Sarah Lyon.

Where would you like to see Louisville 10 years from now?

Making progress in intentionally confronting and dismantling barriers to equity and social justice - addressing our housing and public school crisis. Empowering and celebrating underserved communities through the Mural Arts Project. Improving public transportation. Reinforcing our declaration of Sanctuary city status through profound supports for immigrants and refugees. Supporting LGBTQ people.

Beth and her students, courtesy of Beth Holladay

Beth and her students, courtesy of Beth Holladay

What neighborhood do you live in? What are some of your favorite things about it?

I live in Schnitzelberg. I love being able to walk to Nord’s Bakery, Sunergos Coffee, Zanzabar and Dairy Del. I also love living in a connected community with a lot of fascinating history and close access to downtown.

What three items would you bring to a desert island?

A luxurious treehouse, a boat, and a massive sketchbook.

What advice would you give your past self if you could?

Travel as much as possible, take time to slow down and meaningfully reflect, dream big for the future.