Since 2008, artist and teacher Churchill Davenport has been working to get the Kentucky School of Art off the ground by raising funds, holding classes and having notable artists come to town for lectures. Now, its agreement with Spalding University will allow it to accept students through an accredited school and provide needed administration services.
Davenport says many art schools work under this kind of arrangement.
“There’s a number of model schools. There’s a Boston Museum school in Tufts (University),” he says. “There’s Tyler (School of Art) in Temple (University). There’s a lot of terrific art schools, but they’re connected with another school and they stay connected because it’s helpful for both schools.”
The school will have three faculty members teaching about 10 students the first year, but Davenport says he believes it will have a few thousand students in five to ten years.
Davenport wants to grow a school akin to an academy of art with its own kind of curriculum.
“Even when you take an English class, it’s related to art,” he says. “It’s like the core in the middle is the art. And so you take poetry, even a math course can be connected to the art. So it’s the art at the core of the school.”
Davenport sees the school helping grow Louisville.
“People don’t leave the city, they come into the city,” he says. “And businesses are starting to recognize that these art students and this creative thinking is very helpful for business as well as for students going into painting or drawing.”
Spalding University eliminated its degree for a bachelor of fine arts nearly eight years ago when financial circumstances prompted it to restructure. University officials did not return calls for comment.