Setting up a recording studio at Who's Louisville. (Courtesy IDEAS)
Setting up a recording studio at Who's Louisville. (Courtesy IDEAS)
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Last week, Nulu was the site of a major art announcement, with the city launching the neighborhood’s first public art installation. Today, the neighborhood is launching another ambitious art project spearheaded by non-profit IDEAS 40203. The organization, headed by Theo Edmonds, and billed as the city’s “Creative Chamber of Commerce,” has opened a new exhibition at Zephyr Gallery called Who’s Louisville? The project, collected under hashtag #WhoLou, is “a two-month dialogue to further cultivate a network of allies, to have frank discussions and to promote inclusive practices for creating the best Louisville possible.”

Who's Louisville takes place in February and March at Zephyr Gallery. (Courtesy IDEAS 40203)
Who’s Louisville takes place in February and March at Zephyr Gallery. (Courtesy IDEAS 40203)

According to the organizers:

During February and March 2015, Zephyr Gallery will become IDEAS LOUISVILLE—a creative chamber of commerce and entrepreneurial engine. An artist-centric organization, IDEAS is deeply engaged in the process of helping to develop our city by working at the nexus of culture, business, and inclusive politics.

Through programming and dialogue, IDEAS invites the public to investigate the emerging identity of the city of Louisville, while cultivating a network of allies and engaging in frank discussions. Focusing specifically on Healthcare, Business, and Social Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing, Who’s Louisville? explores how artists, cultural creators, business people, entrepreneurs, and policy makers working together benefits the entire community.

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The exhibition will bring an Open Source Think Tank, bring interdisciplinary groups together to investigate community-suggested topics. A number of cultural events including artist talks, performances, and small concerts are also planned.

slick website launched as part of the exhibition left us a little puzzled, with a splashy graphic of some city in some other country and some abstract text reading, “If we work together – imagination will carry us far. Our city needs your voice. Your brains. Your talents. Your skills. Louisville’s future begins now. A future that values diversity, nurtures creativity and believes in fairness. The time has come. Louisville is ready.” Still, the project sounds like it will spur some serious dialogue over the next two months.

According to curator Theo Edmonds:

Artists have valuable insights and skills that can benefit neighborhoods, businesses and policy makers. IDEAS is developing a new, central role for these skills to be used in shaping our city’s future.

From helping mature industry leaders become more competitive, to catalyzing community revitalization, to workforce development, IDEAS is an organization that is making Louisville a place where artists are becoming embedded into the very fabric of the city’s new approach to building a just, sustainable economy.

IDEAS is an entrepreneurial organization. We place a high value on experimentation as a necessary component of innovation. While our methods may differ from current business, community development and artistic practices, we respect differing viewpoints and, when possible, strive to find common ground for collaboration.

Who’s Louisville? plans a full calendar of activities taking place at the gallery in February and March. The initiative’s first event, Mix+Pivot, takes place tonight, February 3, at 5:30p.m. at the East Market Street gallery. On Wednesdays, a webcast will tackle various issues, beginning with “Lifelong Wellness & Aging” tomorrow. An official launch event is also planned on Wednesday at 5:30p.m. that includes work by New York City–based artist Man Bartlett and music by AMPED. The exhibit will also be part of this Friday’s regular First Friday Trolley Hop. Stay up to date with what’s going on with Who’s Louisville at the project’s website or its Facebook page.

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