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Local News

U of L Photo Exhibit to Recall 1937 Flood

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Louisville Photographic Archives, a resource that contains some two million images.

The milestone coincides with the 75th anniversary of the 1937 Ohio River flood, which is the focus of the archive’s first exhibit of the year.

Bill Carner has been the archive’s photo wrangler for more than 30 years. He says there’s a wealth of images and other items from the ’37 flood in private collections, some of which made it into the exhibit.

Renowned photographer Margaret Bourke-White came to Louisville to document the disaster for Life Magazine. Mayor Neville Miller appointed a local man, Corwin Short, to be her guide.

Bill Carner says Short also brought his camera.

“So we have pictures of Margaret Bourke-White taking pictures. We thought we’d pair that up with the Life Magazine stuff. There’s the famous shot of the relief line in front of the billboard for Ford. It says ‘world’s highest standard of living’ on the top of the billboard. So it’s loaded with irony,” he said.

Carner says there are also some rarely seen aerial photographs of the flood.

The exhibit is free and runs from January 26 through March 9 at U of L’s Eckstrom Library.

(Photo courtesy of University of Louisville Photographic Archives)

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Arts and Humanities Local News Next Louisville Raw Audio

Mayoral Forum Offers Ideas for City's Arts Future

Eleven candidates for Louisville mayor spoke at a forum on the arts and culture last night. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

(To listen to the entire forum, click on Listen to the story.)

Local businessman Chuck Maisch opened the event recounting how a few business leaders started the Louisville Orchestra in the aftermath of the 1937 flood and in the midst of the Great Depression. He spoke about how the orchestra, on the brink of bankruptcy, was saved by the foresight of another business leader, Charles Farnsley, who became mayor.

Maisch used that story to rouse the candidates before turning over the floor.

“What we’re hoping to hear tonight is not just your words about your love of the arts and so on,” Maisch said. “But we really hope that we hear about the actions that you plan to move arts forward.”

During the next two hours, more than 300 spectators listened to candidates answer nearly a dozen questions in between their opening and closing remarks about their vision for the arts and culture in Louisville.

Many candidates emphasized generating more support to preserve and restore Louisville’s landmark architecture in various neighborhoods. And almost all spoke about the need to bring art and culture to children through education and special programs.

David Bretschneider says he was happy to hear those ideas.

“I appreciate the fact that there was emphasis on education and getting the kids involved,” he says. “I don’t like the fact that the schools have taken arts, music, industrial arts even — I’m a word worker by trade and nobody’s learning.”

Some questions covered special taxes and other funding mechanisms for arts and cultural programs. Most candidates were ambiguous about their plans in that area.

Lucy Langman, who came to listen to their ideas, says she didn’t hear anything novel.

“But it was good to get an idea of where these candidates are as far as how they see art being brought into their administrations and how they see, you know, art with development and the economic impact it has,” she says.

The Kentucky School of Art and several other local arts and cultural groups presented the forum. David Cupps of Arts Kentucky moderated the discussion.