NYC Research Trip – August 2014

As IDEAS 40203 and YouthBuild Louisville (YBL) work with the Smoketown community and our community partners to launch the Creative Innovation Zone supported by ArtPlace America, we are preparing to bring and work with a variety of artists in Louisville as agents of change and consultants for the community. In August, 2014, Theo Edmonds and Josh Miller of IDEAS 40203, Lynn Rippy of YBL, and Chris Radtke CIZ Advisor and the Chair of the Commission on Public Art traveled to New York City to meet with Residency Unlimited, to lay the ground work for artists to come to Louisville to work with IDEAS’ creative innovator corp, conduct studio visits with artists and to draw inspiration from current contemporary art exhibits.

We landed in NYC Monday morning and made our way to MoMA PS1, which devotes its energy and resources to displaying experimental contemporary art. Both the exhibit 1/2 an Autobiography, a compilation of works by James Lee Byars and documents about his life and Hy-Fi by The Living, which generates a dialogue about bio-design and how we approach the built environment both offered parallels to the questions we are asking about sustainability, print/paper making and eco-environments in Smoketown. 

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Next, we made our way to Corona, Queens, to Immigrant Movement International for a visit with Mobile Print Power (MPP) a cooperative mobile printmaking workshop and print collective. Founder Patrick Rowe and 11-year-old MPP member Bryan Marca shared their experience with us as it relates to community engagement, empowerment and operating the print making cart in public spaces.


Tuesday morning took us to Carroll Gardens for a meeting with Residency Unlimited (RU). Before meeting with RU, we met with Meredith Johnson in Carroll Park (an Olmsted Park no less), who is a curator and consultant with Creative Time who worked with the city of Louisville on the Public Art Master Plan. The conversation jumped from E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) founded by Rauschenberg, Whitman, Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer in 1966 to Pier Six, part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park that celebrates play and landscape discovery as a community-building activity.

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Entering the brick church turned multifunctional flex space and office of RU, we met with Nathalie Anglès – Executive Director, Boshko Boskovic – Program Director, Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria – Director of Operations, and Ayelet Danielle Aldouby – Special Projects Curator to put additional framework around the artist residencies that will begin in Smoketown, Fall 2014.

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From metrics and quantitative data to short and long-term tracking and internal organization, the conversation culminated in breaking down current needs for CIZ and goals for upcoming artist engagements. Ayelet (2nd from right in photo) has been appointed as the RU point person to help identify, organize and orchestrate the artist participation in partnership with our Louisville-based organizations.

Tuesday afternoon we visited Christian Duvernois Landscape/Gallery in SOHO – a transdisciplinary landscape design studio and art gallery. The current exhibit features work by Vicky Colombet and Sempre Natura, both of which explore and derive inspiration from the natural world. Down the street we congregated around a table at il Buco with Christian Duvernois and Jacob Lang to discuss potential artist-community dialogues for Fall, 2014 in Smoketown.

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Thanks to Boshko (of RU), we were introduced to Sarah Owens, the Curator of Roses at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Wednesday morning, Sarah led us across the Lily Pool Terrace and to the Terrace Cafe, where we learned about her connection to Louisville as a ceramicist, her knowledge of horticulture and growing passion for slow food production and access to proper nutritional information.


After an energizing conversation with Sarah, we walked up Washington Avenue to the Brooklyn Museum, where Swoon’s Submerged Motherlands is currently on display. The site-specific installation, which fills the rotunda gallery on the 5th floor, serves as both a response to Hurricane Sandy and an exploration of social and environmental issues.

Our last stop was at the New Museum, where the current exhibit, Here and Elsewhere showcases more than 45 artists from 15 countries, creating a multigenerational dialogue between established and emerging artists, while highlighting the role of artists in creating a historical narrative.


The trip helped to further clarify the work being done in Smoketown, and we returned to Louisville energized and ready to begin implementing projects within the Creative Innovation Zone.

[Josh Miller]

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