"Welcome Neighbors: Art from NuLu" at the Speed Art Museum Local Speed space, 2013.
Welcome Neighbors: Art from NuLu
Today, conversations about art in Louisville, Kentucky, often center on the East Market Street district, affectionately dubbed NuLu (short for “New Louisville”). NuLu’s rise as an arts district began with visionary investors like Barbara Smith. In 1990s, she sought out galleries and artists for a dozen buildings she owned, bringing artists like Billy Hertz, Chris Radtke, and Chuck Swanson to East Market Street. The new artists and galleries created an epicenter for visual arts in the city. NuLu’s renaissance continues with innovative projects like The Green Building at 732 East Market, a LEED platinum-certified sustainable building developed by Gill and Augusta Brown Holland.
It was an honor to be asked to curate the first exhibition at the Speed’s new space on Market Street. As great as the art in NuLu has been over the years, it has been missing a non-profit space since the beloved New Center for Contemporary Art closed its doors in 2008. I hope with its new space, the Speed will provide a new opportunity to exhibit art outside of commercial considerations--to show “art for the sake of the art.” I hope too, that visitors to this exhibition will be able to walk away with a greater appreciation of the incredible work being produced here; to experiment with what is possible with their own spaces; and to support the artists and galleries in Louisville.
In the process of curating this exhibition, I quickly learned that it would be impossible to fit every piece, by every artist, from every gallery into the space. It would take every bit of the roughly eight city blocks that comprises NuLu to fit everything in! I felt that the best approach was to make a few selections of artists from some of the prominent galleries along with the work of a few artists whose studios are in NuLu; to focus on variety -- young to established, painting to sculpture, and video to installation. I hope that the differences between them will only serve to highlight what makes each of them so special.