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Artists, Residents Voice Support For Neighborhood Following Portland Shooting

Ashlie Stevens

Early Sunday morning, police responded to a call of multiple gunshot victims at The Tim Faulkner Gallery in Louisville's Portland neighborhood.

One person, 20-year-old University of Louisville student Savannah Walker, died at the scene from a gunshot wound. Five more people were wounded in the shooting.

During a Sunday afternoon news conference, Louisville Metro Police Lt. Emily McKinley said no arrests had been made.

Now, one day after the shooting, neighborhood residents and artists have begun responding to the violence and also voicing support for the victims and their families, and the gallery.

Larry Stoess is a pastor in Portland and the president of the neighborhood association Portland NOW. In a statement released Monday afternoon, he said the decision of gallery co-owners Tim Faulkner and Margaret Archambault to relocate to the neighborhood played an important role in the positive changes Portland has experienced over the past few years.

“This act happened in our neighborhood and has given cause for people to rationalize or confirm their uninformed and negative opinions about Portland,” Stoess said. “I would like to remind us all that this act of violence is in no way a reflection on the character of our neighborhood or the venue where the shooting happened. It is only a reflection of the distorted evil that grips the heart of the perpetrator.”

Trevor DeCuir is the co-founder of McQuixote’s, a coffee shop attached to the Tim Faulkner Gallery that opened in 2014. He said he has been asked since the shooting if he is scared for his safety.

“And I am not,” he says. “Things can happen anywhere in the city.”

DeCuir said he hopes people from all over Louisville continue to support the gallery and feel safe there.

“Because one of the things that has been great over the last years is hearing from people that it’s a place where they did feel safe.” he said.

Additionally, some area artists have voiced their desire to work even more closely with Faulkner and Archambault as a way to show support for the work they do.

Jim Wallace is a Portland-based photographer and co-founder of the Nelligan Art Alley Project, an organization that focuses on beautifying spaces in the neighborhood through public art.

He said that he and his partner Danice Creager had been talking about renting out studio space in the Faulkner Gallery for several weeks prior to the shooting.

“And we’re in total agreement on it that not only are we still going to do it (rent space in the gallery), we are more determined now than ever,” Wallace said. “This does not change the mission and focus of the community.”

Sean Patrick is a local R&B singer who visited the Tim Faulkner Gallery for the first time last year during the inaugural LouiEvolve Hip Hop and Arts Festival, a 60-act celebration of local hip hop that featured workshops on lyricism and music.

Since then, he has visited regularly for hip hop shows, comedy acts and other musical acts.

“The stage is great, the sound system is great,” Patrick said. “It’s always had an awesome vibe because of all the art and stuff.”

Patrick is slated to play this year’s LouiEvolve Hip Hop and Arts Festival which is scheduled for April, an event he hopes can still take place despite the recent violence.

“I’ve seen people saying the Tim Faulkner Gallery is a club and it’s not -- it’s an art gallery,” Patrick said. “It’s a sanctuary for art, like straight-up, and I hope that it is not taken from us because Tim is a really, really good dude who has allowed the local hip hop scene and other scenes to use his space.”