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Butchertown Artist Uses Own Money To Grow City's Street Art Scene

St. Joseph Catholic Church

According to multimedia artist Adam Horton, the future of Louisville street art looks like a garage behind a Butchertown Catholic church -- or really, anywhere with a blank wall.

Horton, whose work focuses on woodwork and sculpture, has owned the eponymous Butchertown gallery for two years. As a local artist, he is obviously supportive of regional talent but Horton believes there is room for others in Louisville’s street art scene.

And that’s something he’s hoping to see more of with his latest initiative.

“It’s a whole movement I’m doing with bringing professional and international artists to Louisville,” Horton says. “I know there’s a big push -- a fire’s really been lit -- for local (artists). However, I see some potential for bringing the ‘Michael Jordans to town.”

Horton says bringing more experienced artists to Louisville serves two main functions: inspiring local artists by exposing them to different techniques and ideas, and helping involve the locals in a network of international artists, should they ever want to travel for their own work.

It’s like a less formal version of Lexington’s PRHBTN, an annual street art festival during which co-founders Jessica and John Winters invite international artists to create murals around the city. It was started in 2010 and, despite a few local controversies, has become a well-loved artistic institution.

There’s one main difference though.

While PRHBTN has grown to the point of acquiring corporate sponsors to offset some of the costs associated with the festival -- things like paying artists for their time and supplies -- Horton is reaching into his own wallet to bring other artists to Louisville.

“It’s probably reached close to $10,000 at this point,” he says.

Horton has worked with several artists so far, most recently with Skott Marsi, a Florida-based muralist.

During the last week of July, Marsi created a mural called "Love has no color.” It’s located on the back garage wall of St. Joseph Catholic Church. Marsi spent about 18 hours on the piece, and was then on his way.

“He’s on a tour,” Horton explains.

The base of “Love has no color” is a sprawling swirl of purple, fuchsia and teal paint. Over top of that, are four faces outlined in black: Elvis, Prince, Madonna, and Ray Charles.

“He’s a big Wynwood, Miami, guy,” Horton says, referring to the city’s vibrant Wynwood Art District which is famous for its murals and street art. That’s where the two met when Horton was painting in Florida several months ago.

Horton says that experience is something he’d like to bring to Louisville. While in Miami, Marsi introduced Horton to some of his friends, many of whom -- according to Horton -- are well known in the street art world.

“All this interaction is basically to help Louisville,” Horton says. “To help the artists and to help people here see something new.”

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