Standing in the back parking lot of his massive Portland warehouse-turned-art gallery, Tim Faulkner leans against a parked Chevy Tahoe and waves goodbye to some visitors — the first the gallery has seen in a week.
Last Sunday, with hundreds of people packed into the Tim Faulkner Gallery for a concert, a person opened fire. Five people were wounded, and 20-year-old University of Louisville student Savannah Walker was killed.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions — and police are still looking for suspects — but Sunday’s reopening, Faulkner says, was about healing.
“Today’s event really just demonstrated just how powerful community support can be,” he says. “When we’re all moving in at the particular direction — and in that particular direction, what I mean to say is one of healing, one of understanding.”
Faulkner pauses to light a cigarette. The smell of the tobacco smoke mixes with the lingering, earthy scent of the burning sage that was used in a cleansing ceremony in the event space.
“Nine years of the gallery, it’s always been about diversity,” Faulkner says. “It’s always been a very eclectic group. It’s always been about people being able to come together and feeling comfortable and strong, and this is a place where people can come and do what is important to them.”
For that reason, many have come to consider the gallery a de facto community center for the Portland neighborhood. They host everything from AA meetings to weekend yoga to punk rock shows. Sunday offered a small demonstration of that.
There was poetry, hip hop, art therapy and music therapy — all of which had a distinct message of community healing.
Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams performed a portion from Bach’s “Well-tempered Clavier.” The piece, he says, starts peacefully, has a rush of intensity, and resolves peacefully; something he hopes could serve as a subtle metaphor for how the gallery — and the city — can move forward.
As part of that, Abrams says he hopes people will continue to invest in the Faulkner Gallery and in the community surrounding it.
“What Tim and Margaret do here and what this place has come to represent is the very best of Louisville,” Abrams says. “It’s for all people. It’s for ages. All backgrounds, all demographics, all kinds of art, too.”
He continues: “They have been so extraordinarily open about who is welcome here. It means literally every single person that’s in this community can find I home at the Tim Faulkner Gallery and I’ve seen it.”