Artist Clare Hirn & LVA Executive Director Kristian Anderson. Photo: Keith Waits

New Program From Louisville Visual Art Is Funded By Local Artist

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Nobody knows what artists need better than a working artist. If that somehow strikes you as too hopeful a sentiment, a few minutes with painter Clare Hirn may convince you otherwise. After years of holding on to an idea, fate and a partnership with a venerable visual arts organization delivered the opportunity to make that idea a reality.

On September 2, Louisville Visual Art (LVA) announced a new program called Curate Purchase Inspire (CPI) to be funded by a $1 million dollar gift from Hirn. The program will engage Louisville’s artists, curators, and organizations by placing original art in accessible spaces at local non-profits and civic buildings.   

LVA’s press release explains the origin and development of the concept:

As a working artist for over 35 years, Clare Hirn has created murals in many public spaces, including hospitals and other health care facilities. As a result, she knows the power of art to inspire, energize, and heal. Over the years, Clare has received direct feedback from community members on how art enhances their daily lives. Clare also knows the challenges faced by artists to have the time, space, and funds to create while trying to make a living. In addition to these challenges, artists are too often asked to donate their work for no compensation. These were the catalysts for Clare’s dream to start a program to purchase artworks directly from artists at a fair price and place them in non-profit spaces accessible to the community at large. Made possible by Clare’s unique insight and charitable donation, LVA will help make this vision a reality.

“During the 2020 shutdown, LVA’s new director, Kristian Anderson, invited me to a zoom meeting where he made it clear that LVA intended to become more supportive of and responsive to artists pursuing professional careers in Louisville,” said Clare Hirn. “In nursing the dream for this project, I had been daunted by the prospect of starting a new non-profit to make it a reality. The partnership with LVA that grew from my conversations with Kristian is the perfect way to bring my dream to life.” 

Each year, LVA will work to build a diverse committee of community arts leaders to choose two emerging local curators to spend six months working with a non-profit or public partner to identify local artists’ work for purchase and installation in publicly accessible spaces. For the purposes of this program, the “curator” applicants are not limited to formally trained or self-taught curators, but could also include artists, designers, writers, or others who are engaged in a creative practice. 

CPI will set Louisville apart from other cities by providing several unique benefits:

  • Development of a substantial community art collection, accessible to all citizens of Greater Louisville
  • $900,000 in artwork purchase funds directly supporting local artists and our creative economy
  • Critical real-world experience and professional development for emerging curators

More details can be found on the LVA website: