Greetings from Louisville, Kentucky – the home of the ‘Hot Brown’ (no Chicago, this is it’s true home!), Woodford Reserve bourbon and of course, horse racings’ crown jewel, the Kentucky Derby. I traveled to Louisville to create a 3d anamorphic street painting for the Champions 4 Her Festival, sponsored by a Who’s Who of Louisville’s finest
women targeted non-profits. This event featured a walk/run along with a new art component featuring street painting, which is brand new to Louisville. Needless to say, I was very excited and honored to be the first to introduce the art form to this community.
I have to say I really had little knowledge of Louisville other than it being the home of that great American tradition, the Kentucky Derby. Upon arrival I quickly realized that I had landed in a most unique place due mostly to the uncompromising hospitality and amiability of the local populace. I’d been there 4 days and had yet to meet a grumpy local! How charming! Louisville opened its arms to me and I couldn’t have been more delighted.
My arrival was adeptly facilitated by Ashley Cecil, a very lovely young woman with a passion for art and social activism, who seems to be able to juggle an enormous amount of responsibilities at one time. She quickly settled me in and proceeded to acquaint me with Louisville’s burgeoning art community. The arts in Louisville are incredible – I was impressed not only with the quality of public art, museums, galleries, hotels and facilities, but also by the quantity. This place is oozing art! Cutting edge and international – a bastion for the edgy & hip.
My first stop was museum/hotel 21C, which houses an astounding collection of contemporary exhibits, including multi-media, ceramics, sculpture, photography and painting. The lobby alone is a must see, as well as their house restaurant, Proof.
My second night in town included an artists reception to welcome me to Louisville – this being held on the rooftop penthouse of the 21C. It was a memorable evening and my sincere thanks go to Ann Coffey and everyone who welcomed me so warmly.
After the fun of socializing I was down to work at the street painting site, in the Waterfront Park. The Ohio River is massive and sweeping here – Indiana just across the way – tugboats bustling up and down stream with their immense barge trains.
I was placed under an overpass since this time of year can often bring unannounced rain storms to the area – a good idea. The shade would also be a welcoming change from street painting in the hot sun of California. The surface was very good as well, so the elements were working for me.
My street painting image was based on the spirit of the event, with symbolism being the featured component of the composition. I chose 3 women of different ethnicities, ages and occupations as the central figures. The idea was to show women holding up each other, so I designed the piece so that real viewers could actually get into the painting and look as if they were being held up by the drawn figures, by standing on their outstretched hands. I thought it would be good fun and it was.
Everything was going well until Thursday night when a monster storm blew through the area at about 8:30pm. I could only look out the window and hope for the best. Friday morning rolled around and I was at the site at 5:00am – not my usual schedule! The local news station, WAV3, had asked to shoot their morning segment from the street painting site with 2 local celebs, Vixen and Kent, the Goth kids from The Amazing Race reality TV show. (I don’t know how they do it but those two had more energy than a 6 pack of RedBull!)
The painting was somewhat damaged from the rain run off but all repairable; although it did set me back one day. I got to work and about 4:00pm later that day just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Nothing a nice hot bath, a nap and a great meal couldn’t fix!
The day of the Walk/Run event was sunny and beautiful – perfect for some physical activity. The event had sponsored 10 local artist teams to work with students in creating original street paintings that day as well.
Everyone did an amazing job and seemed to have a lot of fun. Louisville was so receptive to street painting that I am sure it will become an annual event for that city. My painting was finished by noon and then I helped direct viewers in how to interact with the piece. It was a successful day for everyone!
I was sad to leave so soon after the event – I guess I’ll have to go back next year for more Derby Pie (Chocolate, Pecans, sugar, sugar, sugar….!); and possibly the Kentucky Derby. Finally, I’d like to say thanks to all of the fans of street painting who stopped by to personally greet me and share a little bit of Louisville. This experience was filled with lots of fun, art, exchange and new friendships. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right?
For video on this event, courtesy of Debra Beatty: