In fall 2014, LVA, in collaboration with IDEAS 40203, worked with young people in Sheppard Square and the surrounding Smoketown neighborhood to create a new project that combined poetry, photography and creative entrepreneurship. The project was called Living It!

LVA and IDEAS 40203 paired nine students with three 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 art and poetry workshops, taught by the group of African American poets who created the Smoketown Poetry Opera, 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, make-up, set designers and community leaders to achieve these portraits. The image created of the student is an empowering image of the highest expression of themselves.

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

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