The city’s profile as an art destination has risen over the last few years, landing Louisville on superlative lists like AmericanStyle magazine’s best cities for art. Now the Louisville Visual Art Association is putting individual artists in the spotlight with Artebella Daily, a website and email campaign featuring a different local artist every weekday.
Featured artists span media—from glass artists and photographers to landscape and portrait painters—and include artists living and working in the Louisville area as well as artists with strong local connections, like James Southard, a Louisville native now working in Pittsburgh.
Since Artebella Daily went live in October, more than 40 artists with Louisville ties have been featured in daily emails that are viewed by more than 6,000 subscribers in 18 countries, as well as archived online. Artist pages include photos of up to three pieces, information about the artist and links to buy the artwork. LVAA receives a commission from each sale, which will help underwrite the program.
“In Louisville, we do not have a strong—I will say—collecting art spirit, if you will,” says LVAA executive director Shannon Westerman. “This is a way to help people understand why they should be collecting, who they should be collecting. And what’s important about that is developing relationships with artists that speak to them for whatever reason.”
But Westerman says promoting local artists online isn’t just an opportunity to help Louisville residents change how they think about art. It can change how the rest of the world views Louisville, too.
“A curator in Chicago might see it and hook into that artist and realize that he or she should be part of a group show they’re planning at a museum or gallery space in another city. It elevates Louisville artists in a way that would not be possible without this medium,” he says.
“It’s really more important to us in the beginning, especially, to have this as an outlet for artists to develop a relationship with potential collectors, curators, people around the world, really,” adds Westerman.
Artists can nominate their own work through the website, and selections are reviewed by a community panel every quarter. Artists must be members of the visual art association to have their work featured. More than 60 local artists have joined LVAA the since the site launched in October.