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Butchertown Loses Artists as Gallery and Theater Move West


Right on the heels of gallery owner / art scene impresario Tim Faulkner's announcement that his eponymous gallery and studio spaces will soon move to the Portland neighborhood from its Franklin Street compound, where it moved in 2012 after it outgrew its previous East Market Street digs, The Alley Theater announced it would also leave the Butchertown neighborhood for a new downtown location. The Alley has made its home in The Pointe on Washington Street for the last four years. Faulkner and company double their space in their new home in Portland's Warehouse District with a 25,000-square foot building on 15th and Lytle Streets (that's one block north of Main Street). With Portland poised to become the next arts hub, the move is pro-active, and Faulkner's gallery, which has long been a hot gathering spot for artists, art lovers and performers like the new Marrow Street Theatre, which began staging one-acts in the space last summer, is sure to bring the party with it to Portland. Faulkner's gallery, which will also include studio space for artists and more room for live performance, will join mainstays Nelligan Hall and the Mammoth, developer Gill Holland's new Compassion Building project, and several resident studio artists in the historic riverfront neighborhood. In a release, a gallery spokesperson says: "As part of this initiative, Tim Faulkner Gallery is proud to join the ranks of some of the city's most progressive thinkers in their effort to help bring the Portland Neighborhood back to its former prominence. Rich in history and architecture, the Portland neighborhood provides a perfect background for the artists of this city to flourish."The new Tim Faulkner Gallery will open in February with an exhibition of paintings by Damon Thompson. Matt Anthony's Record Shop and Paul Wheeldon's Second Hand Books, both part of the 10,000-square foot Franklin Street building that Faulkner turned into an artists' complex, announced their separate relocation to Frankfort Avenue yesterday. The Alley Theater's also moving west, though not quite as far. Their new digs at 633 W. Main Street place the fringe theater company square in the middle of the city's flagship arts institutions - the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on one side, 21C Museum and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft on the other. While Louisville has many small theater companies that are doing the same type of programming as storefront theaters in other cities like Chicago, until now, none of them have actually occupied a little storefront of their own. The Alley's been working out of the basement in the Pointe, a location you have to intentionally seek out, so the move to a highly visible, foot-traffic-heavy location is sure to raise their visibility, figuratively and literally.'We had the opportunity offered to us to take a space in the heart of downtown, in the middle of all the best entertainment and nightlife destinations. We were in a position to accept the offer, and it's a great space for a new theater and ideal for our customers," says artistic director Todd Ziegler. The Alley will open its new doors in March. These two moves leave Butchertown without much of an arts presence. Not that it's bereft - Forest Giant, a boutique interactive design firm, hosts delightful, occasional art shows in their offices inside The Pointe, and Work the Metal recently doubled its space in Butchertown Market. Given Butchertown's location adjacent to both monthly arts-centric trolley hops, it will be interesting to see if other galleries and groups move in, or if the pull to fill in downtown storefront space and under-used properties in Portland will prove to be a greater draw.