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New Murals In Louisville's Russell Neighborhood Aim To Empower Residents Through Art

Artist Kacy Jackson in front of his mural at 800 S Preston Street
Artist Kacy Jackson in front of his mural at 800 S Preston Street

A project underway in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood will add four murals to local railroad overpasses to help beautify the area. The artwork is part of Vision Russell, an initiative funded by city and federal dollars to revitalize Russell. 

Russell resident Victor Sweatt is one of the participating artists; he said his passion for art has sometimes, unwittingly, led him to work through the night. Amid dozens of his art pieces in his studio, with sky-blue paint caked onto his fingernails, Sweatt said his mural will focus on the neighborhood’s history. He said many young people do not see themselves in art or television, and he wants to change that through his art. 

“For me, it’s just really about empowering our kids — our people,” Sweatt said. “I’m just giving them a taste like, ‘Here, you can do it too. It’s right here in front of you. It’s right here in front of you. These people grew up in your city. You have access to this.’”

Sweatt’s mural will be on the railroad overpass at 14th and Magazine Street. Artists from VIA Studio and Often Seen Rarely Spoken will paint two others, and Kacy Jackson will paint a mural at 14th and Muhammad Ali Blvd. Jackson’s mural will focus on local figures like retired Louisville Central Community Center CEO Sam Watkins and neighborhood matriarch Lucille Leggett. 

“My goal is basically to uplift the community, [to] put a little more light into that tunnel,” Jackson said. “I want to make sure the kids see it, I want the neighborhood to see it and I want people to actually engage into it.”

Officials expect the murals will be completed in December. There’s a clean-up of the murals’ railroad overpasses planned for this Saturday morning from 9 to 11. The cleanup is open to the public.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.