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Arts and Humanities Local News

JCPS and Fund for the Arts Announce New Initiative

The Fund for the Arts and Jefferson County Public Schools announced a major initiative Monday, aimed at providing more arts experiences for elementary school students. 53 JCPS schools will be part of the initial program, which will provide $400,000 through local organizations and businesses such as Chase and the Community Foundation of Louisville, with additional support from AT&T and Brown-Forman. PNC will also provide support through the Teacher Arts Grant Program.

Tim King is the Director of Performing Arts at Lincoln Elementary and Western Middle School, two schools that have a performing arts magnet, which will benefit from the program. King says the program provides funding for students to visit performance venues, which often incur steep bus rates for transportation,”Or it also allows artists from those arts organizations that are a part of the fund to come into the school. It’s not necessarily just a field trip. So it can be in school and out of school arts experiences.”

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Arts and Humanities Arts and Humanities Blog In-Depth News

Phoenix Hill’s Public Art

Louisville’s Phoenix Hill neighborhood stretches east to west, from Baxter Avenue to Preston Street, and north to south from Main Street to Broadway. Like the mythological bird rising from the ashes, the neighborhood has undergone a series of transformations dating back to the 1970s and 80s, and Phoenix Hill is now the first Louisville neighborhood to incorporate a public art project. (Left: Beacon by Brooke White)

Creativity Rising is comprised of twelve unique works of art, scattered through out Phoenix Hill. The style and medium range from the abstract to the humorous, which curator Aron Conaway says was one consideration in picking the artists, “I tried to get some artists that show on Market Street. I tried to get some artists from right around the neighborhood. Sean is from Butchertown, so he’s right around the corner. I thought he would have a nice light-hearted approach to the project, where as some of the other artists may be a little bit more conceptual and heady. So it was a nice dynamic between the 12 artists.”

Conaway is referring to Sean Garrison, the former front-man for Louisville punk band Kinghorse. Garrison will tell you he was an unlikely candidate for a public art project. “It’s just kind of mind-blowing that I am capabale of creating something that can be put up in public,” says Garrison, “I didn’t know that was in me.”

Like many of the other artists, Garrison looked for a historic aspect of Phoenix Hill as the basis for his work. He found something that might be considered an extreme sport for the 19th century: The Six-Day Bike Races. These bike races were one aspect of a neighborhood that once boasted a 111-foot bar, bowling alleys and skating rinks. It was the entertainment district of Louisville, and the original East End. (Right: 6 Day Bike Races at Phoenix Brewery by Sean Garrison)

Doug Magee is the president of the Phoenix Hill Neighborhood Association, and says that the art seems to be having a positive effect on the neighborhood that endures its share of vandalism. But more than giving tag artists second-thought before spray painting the side of a building, Magee says the art has created dialogue between residents, businesses and artists.

And this all seems to be achieving what public art should do, according to Chris Radke, who has been co-chair of the Mayor’s Committee for Public Art, for the past year, “It’s really important for people to have a sense of place. And we all have to recognize how important one’s own environment is. It’s a quality of life, a sense of place…a sense of identity. And when you have public art that is really working, it causes dialogue.”

You can view more photos of the artwork at The Edit.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Ali Center Artist Presents New Works

Carlos Gamez de Francisco is a visual artist from Cuba, and was named the 2009-2010 Artist-in-Residence for the Ali Center’s “Dreammakers” program. As part of this program, de Francisco worked with local Hispanic communities, and will visit U of L’s Latin Studies program. The artist also created new works for the Ali Center, which will be on display later this month.

Spokesperson John Faulkner says the works will occupy the LeRoy Neiman Gallery, “There are approximately 40 pieces of work. So on the lower level there will be water colors, and on the second level there will also be acrylics and oil that he’s done. And also adjacent to the water colors on the first floor, is an animated video that he did in conjunction with another Cuban artist.”

The selection committee reviewed over 150 artist applications, and chose de Francisco for his skill and unique style.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Large Crowd Expected at Art Show

The 2010 St. James Court Art Show will be held Friday through Sunday in Old Louisville.  The show is now in its 54th year, and has grown to attract artists from 40 different states.  The show’s director Margue Esrock predicts a large crowd, thanks in part to the weather, “In the past we’ve had anywhere between 200,000 to 300,000 people over three days, so I’m guessing that because of the beautiful weather it will be on the upper-scale.”

This year’s event will include a music stage for local acts and 750 exhibitors, and stretches from Hill Street to Park Avenue, in between Third and Sixth. The St. James Court Art Show is produced by five neighborhood associations and the West End Baptist Church.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

UNFair Returns Fully Compliant

Last year, city officials closed down UNFair on the first day.  This time around organizers ensured that all required permits and fees were filed beforehand.  For 13 years the alternative to the St. James Court Art Show has made its home at the Magnolia Bar, just blocks from St. James Court.

One of the show’s organizers, Paul Harshaw, says that the UNFair has given new artists, without a lot of resources, the opportunity to be seen.  “Like any starving artist, it was to make some money,” says Harshaw “We were just looking for a venue we could afford, because St. James was just a little out of our price range.

This years show will include works by Judson Baker, Nikki Moore and Paul Harshaw (artwork pictured).

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Arts and Humanities Local News

New Documentary Details Griffin's Experiment

It was 1959 when John Howard Griffin stunned the nation by disguising himself as a black man, spending six weeks living in the segregated South. Morgan Atkinson’s new film, Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin, which details Griffin’s life and experiences, will be a part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.

Atkinson says that the Griffin’s experience, later told through his book “Black Like Me,” had an effect on more than just the civil rights movement, “This unrelenting search for truth, for human dignity. His book had so much to do with civil rights, but his life’s work was as much about human rights in general.”

Uncommon Vision will be shown during the film festival of the Civil & Human Rights Conference at the Kentucky International Convention Center in October.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Festival will Discuss Literary Louisville

Makalani Bandele, Carol Butler and Kathleen Driskell are just some of the names on this year’s Festival of the Written Word panel during the 2010 Idea Festival. It’s the second year for the partnership between the two festivals, and will focus on the question “What is Literary Louisville?

Driskell, a professor in Spalding Unversity’s MFA program, says that while Louisville is a center for writing, more could be done to raise its prominence, “How can we present a higher profile for Louisville as a literary hub? We know all the things that are happening here, but we want to have more national recognition. We have some really great writers here – nationally known writers.”

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Arts and Humanities Local News

NETWORK Luncheons Focus on the Arts

U of L’s College of Arts and Sciences will sponsor three NETWORK (New Energy to Work Out Racial Kinks) luncheons this fall. Each session will discuss aspects of critical thinking in education. Spokesperson Linda Wilson says that her conversations with jazz professor Jerry Tolson inspired the first event, “We talked about how he uses critical thinking in his classes to help music educators be able to reach their students, and in the long run, make for a much more productive and well-rounded life.”

Other luncheons will include “Ideas to Action: Using Critical Thinking to Foster Student Learning and Community Engagement” with Patty Payette and Edna Ross from UofL’s Ideas to Action (i2a), and “Shadowboxer: An Opera Based on the Life of Joe Louis” with John Chenault.

Luncheons are held at the University Club.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Film Showcase Draws Submissions from Around State

The rooftop of a downtown garage turns into a movie theater today, with the 3rd annual Kentucky Short Film & Video Showcase at 21C Museum. Submissions were accepted from around Kentucky, and picked by William Morrow of 21C Museum and Ryan Daly of Louisville Film Society.

A variety of film techniques will be featured, including a 3D video by Chadwick Thomas and a live performance featuring Lauren Argo. The event will take place on the rooftop of a parking garage, adjacent to 21C Museum.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Kentucky Opera Opens New Season with Italian

Kentucky Opera was founded in 1952, and was named the State Opera of Kentucky in 1982, and now enters its 58th season. The company opens its 2010 Fall Season opens this weekend with two one-act, Italian operas: Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.

In 2009 the company moved from the 2,300-seat Whitney Hall to the 1,500-seat Brown Theater. General Director David Roth says the move, while motivated by financial reasons, provided a better experience for the audience, “This elegant, intimate venue is the perfect spot for us in the community. It is tailor-made for opera, and we want to make sure we give every opportunity for our community and our audience to come and experience what this opera is all about; what this opera company is all about.”