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Four artists chosen for local curators program

 A mural from the Envirome Institute on the wall of a brick building in downtown Louisville
Ryan Van Velzer
A mural from the Envirome Institute on a wall in downtown Louisville

Four artists will serve as the inaugural cohort of curators for the Curate Purchase Inspire (CPI) program from Louisville Visual Art.

Officials from LVA said the CPI program, which is slated to run for 10 years, aims to give residents access to local art, support local artists and their work and give curatorial experience and training to those selected to create exhibitions. 

Local artist Clare Hirn worked with LVA to conceptualize the program and donated $1 million dollars to help fund it.

“I came to this idea because as being an artist, I know how valuable it is to get real dollars for your artwork,” Hirn said. 

Hirn has created murals for hospitals and said she’s seen the first-hand impact that having art available to the public.

“This seemed very obvious to me, to work to bring these two together,” Hirn said. “More purchasing of artwork at market prices, not asking artists to donate and placing it—the artwork—in easy view, so to say, of general society."

The chosen curators will have $30,000 to purchase work from local artists to create their respective exhibitions. 

Hirn said each curator will have roughly six months to collect and set up their exhibitions, but that they might open on a staggered timeline.

The exhibitions will be displayed by local nonprofit organizations that will keep the works on permanent loan as long the art is publicly accessible. 

“It will be truly a community collection, and it will grow over time,” Hirn said.

Artists whose work is chosen for display will receive money from the sale of their work and be invited to attend an LVA workshop series for professional development. 

There's an event May 10 when interested artists can meet CPI curators and submit their work for consideration.

LVA intended to have two curators per year. But because of “the quality of applicants and their proposed projects,” organizers doubled that. 

A news release announcing the curators said, “This first cohort of curators speaks to the diversity and quality of our creative visual arts community.”

Here is the inaugural cohort of curators:

Ada Asenjo

Asenjo’s exhibition will be entitled “Somos de Aquí,” which translates to “We are from Here,” is in partnership with La Casita Center and will uplift Latinx artists and their work.

“The Latinx community is often seen as a homogenous entity. We are, in fact, quite diverse,” Asenjo said in a news release. “This exhibit will consist of multi-varied expressions of who we are, expressions of our heritage, the longings of our souls, and our heart’s desires.” 

Bianca Vaughn

Vaughn leads an after-school arts program at The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, where she serves as a visual arts specialist. The program will act as a source for works included in her exhibition entitled “Revitalizing Art Accessibility”.

“My passions have always been art and sharing the gift of creating art with other people, so as a kid my dream became being an art conduit for my community,” Vaughn said in a statement. “The murals that have emerged in the West End since my childhood are a great addition to making art accessible, but having fine art in a place where families of our communities frequent and are able to interact intimately is the real key to making it for everyone.” 

Minda Honey

Honey’s exhibition will combine the literary and visual arts community in a collaboration with nonprofit publisher Sarabande Books. 

“I propose an exhibit that features the visual artwork by the poets in the anthology, as well as art by local creatives inspired by and in conversations with the themes present in the collection,” Honey said in a release. 

The exhibition will also serve as a way for Sarabande books to release its Louisville poetry anthology.

“This exhibit will bring together the literary arts and visual arts community, invite the broader public to engage with the words of our hometown poets and celebrate the rich heritage of creativity from all parts of our city.” 

Shauntrice Martin 

Martin has chosen Play Cousins Collective as the community partner for her exhibition “Fire This Time.” The exhibition will feature works from artists of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latinx backgrounds across artistic mediums. 

“The collective will focus heavily on creators whose practice includes multiple mediums/styles/genres/vibes,” Martin said in a news release. “The LVA's guidance will support in collecting, developing and amplifying these pieces for a cohesive story that pays homage to James Baldwin's description of Lorraine Hansberry in his letter ‘Sweet Lorraine.’” 

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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