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We love alleys here at Broken Sidewalk. They’re like a secret network inside of the city just waiting to be explored. Lucky for us, Louisville has some great alleys networks. And they’re about to get even better.

In our opinion, the more convoluted and intricate the alley, the better. One of the best in Downtown sits tucked behind the Starks Building and 4th Street Live! It forms a sort of “h” shape and is interrupted only by a single surface parking lot. A “U”-shaped section of it is called Post Office Alley.

Alley highlighted in yellow. (Courtesy Google)
Alley highlighted in yellow. (Courtesy Google)

That’s where officials are launching Louisville’s Alley Gallery on Thursday morning. Artists painted doors facing into alleys along this stretch and throughout the city, forming an urban canvas open to all.

Looking down Post Office Alley toward the Starks Building. (Google Street View)
Looking down Post Office Alley toward the Starks Building. (Google Street View)

While there’s a strong concentration of painted metal doors along this alley, more doors will follow throughout Downtown and Nulu. More than 350 of them, according to the Louisville Downtown Partnership’s Ken Herndon, who is overseeing the gallery. (The project is bound by River Road, Broadway, 12th Street and Baxter Avenue.) And the before-and-after transitions can be dramatic.

Before and after. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)
Before and after. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)

Want to go? Just show up to Post Office Alley at 11:00a.m. on Thursday, May 11. You’ll likely see a crowd. Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth, and District 4 Metro Councilperson Barbara Sexton-Smith, among others, will be in attendance.

Left to right: Ashley Brossart's City; Joyce Garner's Cantaloupe; and Andrea Alonso's Inside the Box. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)
Left to right: Ashley Brossart’s City; Joyce Garner’s Cantaloupe; and Andrea Alonso’s Inside the Box. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)

At Post Office Alley, 11 doors have been installed. An interactive online map also details locations of completed doors and the city’s collection of art-bike-racks.

Five other artworks were installed this spring at Broadway and Seventh, Seventh and Jefferson, and Market at First. There are plenty more doors that need covering, and artists are encouraged to submit their work to the LDP.

Left to right: Connie Sandusky's Full Bloom; David Walinski's Phone; and Andy Perez's Cardinal. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)
Left to right: Connie Sandusky’s Full Bloom; David Walinski’s Phone; and Andy Perez’s Cardinal. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)

Artists can submit images and businesses and landowners choose which designs they like. As this stage, all of the 16 doors around town so far have been sponsored by Riverside Parking or 4th Street Live! That’ll expand as more doors are added.

The doors add pops of color and texture to alleyways. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)
The doors add pops of color and texture to alleyways. (Courtesy Louisville Downtown Partnership)

Designs are then printed on vinyl and applied to the doors. Just like in a real gallery, door frames are painted black as a picture frame and title cards announce the artist and work to the side.

What do you think of the Alley Gallery concept? Are you an alley walker like us? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and if you go to the opening (or anytime), send us photos!

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent project! We have many great unsung alleys….. this is what Barbara Smith tried to do by naming alleys in East Market… another thing we could do to honor neighborhood heroes……….
    I think parts of that alley were originally constructed of wooden blocks, which were removed during the demolition of this block for the Galleria.

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