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New Portland Mural Embodies Neighborhood's Transformation


Thursday morning, a group of about a dozen people huddled under umbrellas as they snapped photos of the new electric blue mural that adorns Louisville Visual Art’s Portland warehouse space. In giant pixelated font, the phrase “Together We Flourish” runs down the wall.

It’s a phrase LVA Executive Director Lindy Casebier said captures the developments taking place in the neighborhood.

“I think that just encapsulates the movement down here at this time with Gill Holland and the Portland Investment Initiative,” Casebier said. “We say often that art removes barriers, so the barrier of the ‘Ninth Street Divide’ -- we’re getting people here, making them aware of what is possible down here and we’re very excited about that.”

(Disclosure: Holland is a member of Louisville Public Media’s board of directors.)

Casebier said the new mural is part of the Mural Art Program, a long-term, sustainable public art program that engages local businesses, professional artists, Louisville Metro, and the greater Louisville community in the creation of large scale murals “to celebrate the city's unique identity and enhance civic pride.”

Through that program, LVA -- which moved into the neighborhood last October -- and Center for Neighborhoods have collaborated because of their joint desire to enhance Louisville public spaces through visual arts.

Casebier said the program is a way to empower diverse community voices.

The newly installed "Flourish" mural was designed by Ashley Trommler of strADegy Advertising and painted by Louisville artists Ashley Brossart and Branden McClain.

Trommler said her inspiration for “Flourish” was her belief that individuals can accomplish more together than they can individually.

“This community has had its ups and downs, but it is going through a transformation, and this is the perfect spot for this mural,” she said.

Sara Lindgren, the public arts administrator with Louisville Metro Government, said that public art like this mural has a special place in developing Louisville communities.

“I think (public art) is important in a lot of ways, but the most important way is an expression of identity -- to say who you are as an organization, or a business, or a community group,” Lindgren said.

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