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For Louisville UnFair artists, it’s more than a show, it’s a community

A piece of glass is cut into the shape of a skull with an open mouth. It is painted in neon blue and green colors.
Alison Kaiser
via Tiffany Ackerman
Alison Kaiser said she feels like she's in with the cool kids now that she's displaying work, like this skull, at UnFair.

Louisville UnFair is an art fair focused on outside-of-the-box work. Organizers aspire to set it apart from other art shows in the city by taking a more artist-oriented approach.

Tiffany Ackerman and Alison Kaiser are Louisville UnFair attendants this year.

Ackerman does all kinds of art, but has a heavy focus on glass art. She has taken Kaiser under her wing to learn glass painting. Their partnership helped bring Kaiser into the Louisville UnFair artist fold.

“Alison is my studio mate, my art partner in crime and my bestie. So, where I'm going, she's going,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman has been participating as an artist since 2021. She said UnFair stands out from other well-known “white tent” festivals, referring to some of the other large-scale art shows that Louisville hosts.

The St. James Court Art Show welcomes hundreds of vendors from across the country every October. Arts fairs as large and well-known as St. James are often expensive to participate in. For example, it costs$575 for a 10 x10 space on St. James Court, not including the yearly application fee.

While the two fairs take place over the same weekend, UnFair features only local artists and participation works differently.

“Since our show is in the back of the Mag Bar, you know that area is only so large, so we can only accommodate so many artists,” Ackerman said. “So getting into the UnFair, someone had to sort of suggest your name to the group as other people were retiring.”

UnFair’s structure creates a tight-knit community among participating artists.

“The UnFair is 100% a community event,” Ackerman said. “Everybody participates, everybody builds, everybody helps, everybody cleans and that makes it even more unique.”

A piece of glass is cut into the shape of a bat hanging upside down. It's painted mostly white with a rainbow painted like a sash across its abdomen area.
Tiffany Ackerman
via Tiffany Ackerman
Tiffany Ackerman said Louisville UnFair creates a supportive, close-knit community among participating artists.

This is Kaiser's first year fully participating as an artist. Last year, she was there for part of UnFair working with Ackerman, but even in that short time she felt welcomed.

“You very much feel a sense of family and community,” Kaiser said. “Growing up and hearing about the UnFair, it was always the cool kids. I feel like a dweeb all the time like I never felt like a cool person.”

Now, she said, she’s one of the cool kids.

Getting to display with artists with similar philosophies about art creation makes for a more supportive environment, she said.

“You know, we're selling our work, so there is a bit of a hustle,” Ackerman said. “It's nice to be in a hustle where you look over and you're like, ‘Oh my god, you sold that? Hell yeah. Good job, man.’”

The Louisville UnFair is Oct. 6, 7 and 8 at Mag Bar in Old Louisville.

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

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