The Louisville Visual Art Association’s Open Doors Program will celebrate two years of community-based arts projects with a retrospective exhibit, “Making Art. Changing Lives.”
Twelve art projects, selected from nearly forty pieces of art completed through the program, will be on view to the public in the Water Tower, with an opening reception on July 22. The exhibit will run through August 19.
Open Doors pairs working Louisville artists with traditionally underserved groups, like at-risk girls at Maryhurst, for on-going artistic collaborations. With the artist, community members create pieces of art they can display in their own facility or campus.
Program manager Aron Conoway says the program gives participants an opportunity to make art that’s tailored to their own experiences.
“Just to be engaged in something, to be a part of something that usually ends up staying at the facility we worked at, it becomes a fixture there in that facility so they feel connected to that place after they’ve left,” says Conoway.
Some pieces are public, like the “Project Blue Drum” installation created by students at Western Middle School and artist Tara Remington in conjunction with Broadway in Louisville’s Blue Man Group performance.
Remington and artist Janet Britt have also worked with youth in residence at St. Joseph Children’s Home to design and paint a mural in their gymnasium inspired by artist Keith Haring’s iconic work.
Conoway says the program’s power lies in providing transformative experiences for budding artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to work alongside a professional artist.
“It’s been great to see a kid who had low self-esteem all of the sudden getting patted on the back by their peers and really finding out who they are, almost taking on a leadership role,” he says.