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Photo taken by Melissa Donald.

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Louisville Visual Art (LVA) is in its 110th year but, like all venerable institutions, it has experienced some changes over the decades, including the removal of “association” as part of its name and its relocation from Louisville Water Tower on Zorn Avenue to its new digs in Portland on Lytle Street. While many people hold fond memories of LVA’s past and the artistic gifts it has provided for Louisville since 1909, it is what the future holds that makes LVA so special.

Since 1925, LVA has offered children’s fine art classes (CFAC). Classes for students in fourth through eighth grade are free; high school classes are tuition-based, although there are scholarships available, and LVA strives to make its CFAC classes as affordable as possible. “There aren’t too many cities that can claim this kind of a commitment to accessible, quality visual arts education,” says Grant Johnson, LVA’s communications and marketing director. Johnson thinks of CFAC and other education programs as the beating heart of the organization, although LVA’s impact across the community is painted with broader strokes. 

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Photo taken by Grant Johnson.

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Exhibiting art is another prong of LVA’s mission. In addition to having exhibits at its Portland gallery, it sponsors an ongoing series of exhibits at Metro Hall and AC Hotel in Nulu. LVA also offers artist engagement programs. “Professional working artists in the metro area open their studios to let people come see their behind-the-scenes working process,” Grant says. 

LVA’s murals program is growing and having an impact on the community in a variety of ways. While many of these murals have been inside Kroger stores, there has been a recent movement into outdoor murals. “We try to do mural projects that have a positive community impact or engagement component,” Grant says. LVA has partnered with other organizations and businesses, including New Directions Housing Corporation and Portland Now. 

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Photo taken by Grant Johnson.

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Whether it is through education, exhibits, engagement, or tying all three together, “LVA is trying to cultivate the entire art ecosystem in Louisville,” Grant says. Its special events throughout the year, including its Honors Luncheon in Feb 2020 or its art [squared] exhibit and sale in April 2020, are aimed at ensuring that that ecosystem is nurtured for another 110 years. 

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Photo taken by Grant Johnson.

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P.S. See how Louisville is going to transform the region with arts and culture in 2020.

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