This venture has been a long and healthy haul – and now our future is even more robust. When we (my Co-Publishers Tom Martin, Art Shechet and I) first launched UnderMain in 2014, we were simply having fun. We enjoyed uncovering what we thought was hidden in the shadows or living under the main thoroughfares of the then-present consciousness of art and culture in our region.
That was the way this all started: With caffeine and laughter, many morning meetings turned to their adjacent afternoons full of new ideas. Sitting at the same table at Le Matin Bakery, one Wednesday after the next, we came up with the title of our ad-free, visually rich digital magazine: UnderMain. We decided then that its primary mission would be to shine a light on artists, writers, gallerists, creative spaces and ideas, collectors, curators, and critics who work hard everyday and struggle to be heard and seen.
I am not sure why we were searching the darkened spaces or if we just felt there was not enough visibility in print publications, but no matter – because now we’ve flipped the switch in this little digital space. Whether it was passion, fatigue, frustration, ideation, or the simply act of creating, we had it and found enough of it mirrored in you to thrive all these years.
So, as your UMPrez, I am delighted to announce that UnderMain has received a three-year commitment from the Great Meadows Foundation (GMF) to continue our programming.
It should be noted that the generosity of the Great Meadows Foundation is supported by a near equal match of anonymous donations and in-kind contributions from so many. The writing, management, coordination, editing, curation of our content is brought to you by an undying commitment from our contributors and editors, many of whom work in an entirely philanthropic manner. Together we have remained consistent and fresh over the last five years and, with this three-year commitment, all that we have done means all the more there is to do.
As I elaborated in our proposal to the Great Meadows Foundation, UnderMain must now move beyond our light-and-shadows naiveté into a more prominent place of advancing the level of discourse in Kentucky about visual art and culture. These three programs are at the heart of that effort:
I began writing exclusively for UnderMain three years ago with a primary focus on artists, their work and what inspires them. For me, ‘the blank page is both exhilarating and intimidating and, like creating a work of art, writing is a process that requires both vision and revision. It is about making certain choices, being aware of various connections, and synthesizing information in order to give my ideas shape and meaning. Working with artists in their studio settings requires implicit mutual confidence and trust, with equal vulnerability, and being ever mindful to not be blinded by the obvious. I am honored to have been selected as one of the writers to participate in Under-Main’s Studio Visits Series under the auspices of The Great Meadows Foundation. While I am grateful for the stipend I received, my real reward for writing ‘A Studio Visit with Skylar Smith: Her Story’ came from the artist herself when she emailed me shortly after the article was published: “You gave voice to things I have not been able to articulate, yet resonate for me—thank you for this.”
Upcoming is a visit by the Speed Museum’s Miranda Lash with Louisville artist John Brooks, Paul Michael Brown’s visit with Lexington artist Robert Beatty, and Cooper Gibson’s visit with James Lyons.
In 2020, UnderMain will organize thirteen studio visits with Kentucky artists and our writers will not only be paid a stipend for their work, but – at the request of Sso-Rha Kang – I have included a small amount for travel expenses as I have always tried to connect artist and writer from different areas of this region.
Critical Mass Symposium
In 2016, we launched the Critical Mass Series, a symposium intended to advance critical thinking in the arts and promote further discussion about Kentucky’s position as it relates to the broader art community.
Critical Mass I took place in 2016 at the University of Kentucky Art Museum and was moderated by Stuart Horodner. Then in 2018, we followed that with Critical Mass II at KMAC with Joey Yates moderating – fully intending the symposium as a biennial. The discussions however, generated such enthusiasm that it led us to rethink that idea – and in 2019 Matt Distel of The Carnegie in Covington held Critical Mass III.
Critical Mass IV is being planned for March of 202o and will feature the GMF Critic-in-Residence Koan Jeff Baysa. So, please watch our site for upcoming details.
Critical Reviews of Local Exhibitions
Since inception, we have held this as one of our highest priorities and, at year end, we are encouraged by the impact these reviews have had. They have exposed the curatorial work of many institutions in Kentucky and the Central Kentucky region, including: The Moreman Gallery and KMAC in Louisville; 21c Museum Hotel, Mary Rezny Gallery, Institute 193, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum in Lexington; the Solway Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio; and the Kleinhelter Gallery in New Albany, Indiana.
Engaging critical writing from both within and outside of our state has helped to advance the level of critical discourse about contemporary art and its role in defining our regional identity. With the support of the Great Meadows Foundation, UnderMain will increase the publication of these reviews to twenty per year with an increase in pay to our writers.
Thanks to all who support our endeavor. The UnderMain concept is growing, and with new programming like UMRadio – a recurring feature of the weekly program Eastern Standard on WEKU, a local NPR station, and UMDingers, a surprise treat coming in 2020 – we continue to aim higher. And, when that big ball hits the top, we’ll move into the dawn of the dusk knowing full well how to light the way.
With the launching of the American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story, the Smithsonian Institution states that its intent is to: “Amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present and inspire the future.” So I don’t think there could have been a more appropriate time (Women’s History Month) for me to visit with Louisville multimedia studio artist Skylar Smith, whose work graphically signifies the Smithsonian’s mission to tell stories that “deepen our understanding of women’s contributions to America and the world, showing how far women have advanced and how we as a country value equality and the contribution of all our citizens” (Smithsonian Office of Communications & External Affairs).
Given our current political climate, these words may sound vacuous, hypocritical, or downright fake. Not so, though, in the context of Smith’s work in the duo exhibit, Personal Is Still Political, at Spaulding University’s Huff Gallery in Louisville last spring where she brought into full play what she describes as “human-scale politics that influence perception.” And because Smith’s regard for intersectionality encompasses gender and race as well as the subtle and overt ways in which discrimination becomes manifest, the scope and impact of her work are considerable.
Skylar Smith, “Personal Is Still Political”, Installation View, Spalding University’s Huff Gallery, Louisville, KY, March 2-31, 2018
Smith’s transition from her earlier 2016 pre-election abstract work was initially inspired by the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 and the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, granting white women the right to vote. But she says the turning point for her was the Women’s March in 2017 because no one was expecting it to happen. It became one of the largest protests in the history of this country—a positive act stirred by negative political actions that unified women from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds worldwide.
Skylar Smith surrounded by images and research that inspire her work. Photo/Jim Fields
On Personal Is Still Political, Smith comments that the 2016 presidential election opened her eyes and that she “had to move out of the abstract into the difficult process of making work about this moment in history and be somewhat objective rather than emotional. I wanted to be very clear about what statement I was making and what I was responding to. I wanted my work to be educational and provide the potential for the viewer to think about ideas in a different way, to experience some kind of transformation or exploration of thought.” She points out that by walking around and between these banners you are participating in marches that span decades not only in protest against discrimination, misogyny and the dehumanization of women, but for human rights as well.
Skylar Smith, “Marching Installation”, 3’ x 10’, acrylic, ink & pencil on vellum, 2018
Smith painted these banners with image overlays on both sides of large sheets of vellum and as light passes through this translucent material, the streamers not only edify but radiate a palpable spiritual tone that challenges the viewer’s sense of awareness, especially when viewed in a single space as shown in the photo above. Essential to her point of view, Smith wanted the personal and politically charged takeaway from this show to be: “It’s not okay to say that some people can be oppressed but not you.” The same holds true for her work in other media, particularly her more abstract Suffrage paintings.
Skylar Smith, “Ladies Remember”, 28” x 40”, acrylic, ink & pencil on paper, 2018
Although she works in a variety of media, including photography, video, and installations, Smith gravitates toward the immediacy of what she loves most—drawing and the materials used to paint and draw: graphite, charcoal, colored pencils, pastels, and water-based media, such as acrylic and ink. By combining wet and dry media, as in Ladies Remember, she is able to create a dichotomy and establish a dialogue within a given piece where tension emerges between the wet marks that are erratic and fluid and the dry marks that are more precise and controlled. However, she says she often chooses a wet medium on wet paper over dry because “it creates a visual manifestation of something I cannot control or expect and for me that’s like life, one percent within our control and 99 percent out of our control.”
The surface she works on, be it vellum, paper, or wood, is crucial since it dictates what she can and cannot do. For instance, different types of paper—cold press with a rough texture or hot press with a smooth surface—render distinct effects based on the medium she applies to it.
Smith creating colored pencil overlays on vellum from projected images. Photo/Jim Fields
As for me, I chose this particular photo of Smith at work in her studio because the harsh light striking her hair, shoulder and arm illustrates a salient point she emphasizes about her work from her Accumulation and Micro/Macro series. “Everything mimics and echoes something else. The only thing that is different is the scale.” Here, the light projected from behind her and onto the vellem echoes her as an integral part of her process and raises an important question in relation to a long-accepted theory of art. In this instance, is it coincidental that the nap of Smith’s sweater looks remarkably similar to the texture of her painting, Afghanistan,1963, or is it simply art imitating life? Regardless, the palimpsest technique the artist used to create this image deepens the viewer’s connection to her work and her purpose while inviting further exploration and personal interpretation where the conscious and subconscious can be given free rein.
Skylar Smith, “Afghanistan”, 1963, 10” x 13”, ink & pencil on paper, 2018
Afghanistan, 1963, and India, 1947 are from Smith’s Suffrage series, which includes the United States, Canada, Italy, and Saudi Arabia, where the date women gained the right to vote became the subject of each piece. These paintings require close examination and are significant because Smith intended for them to represent “both the historical assertion and the absence of female representation in the history of voting rights and political office.” They are literally figurative works that are at the same time abstract and real.
Skylar Smith, “India”, 1947, 10” x 13″, ink & pencil on paper, 2018
The palimpsest process involves painting the voting rights date on the surface of the paper, then scraping and wiping it away, and then repainting and removing it repeatedly as it builds up the canvas with a rhythmic repetition of color and form that amazes in its singularity of purpose. Smith emphasizes that history is a lot like this where we make marks in the sand and they’re gone the next day: “We still have in our own country voter disenfranchisement with people not getting to vote for any number of reasons, as in our most recent election involving particular populations and the redrawing of districts for political favor. How government is built and policy is made is at the heart of all of this.”
Skylar Smith, “Things Arise, Things Disappear”, 25” x 36”, ink, watercolor & colored pencil on paper, 2015
Things Arise, Things Disappear from Smith’s Accumulation series is also a nod to American history and the ephemeral and transitory nature of time, to the nefariousness and self-serving actions of government, and to the ability of the people (for the sake of freedom and human decency) to endure, persevere, and overcome. The fragments of the American flag I see fluttering in this piece convince me that Smith is acknowledging and drawing on the power of her earlier non-representational abstract work to help advance her goal of creating “more literal content connected to a particular concept.”
The painting, With Her, makes a substantive statement. Smith places the familiar symbol of the Women’s Movement up front and center—an emblem that combines the astrological symbol of Venus, representing all things feminine, with that of a clenched fist from the 60s and early 70s power movements, particularly black power. The women don “pink” pussyhats with somewhat haunting and almost ghostly visages to the right of the proud nonwhite figure waving the sign. The rays of light emanating from the upper left corner of the painting seem to link the past and present, indicating an uneven and rough journey but one filled with hope. However, I think based on Smith’s broadened interest in intersectionality (a term coined by the African American civil rights advocate and scholar, Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989), the content of this painting would have benefited from including a more diverse display of disenfranchised women voters, adding to its effectiveness in communicating the significance of the Women’s March of 2017.
Skylar Smith, “With Her”, 28” x 40”, acrylic, ink & pencil on paper, 2018
I bring this point up because of the far-reaching comments Smith made as we discussed her personal-is-political views and her ideas related to intersectionality that have her looking toward the future: “The message of the women’s march was intersectional in that you have women in general who faced challenges historically, politically, socially, and personally, as well as other marginalized groups. For feminism to be relevant it needs not to include just women’s rights but human rights. Immigrants, native Americans, blacks, LGBTQI, and individuals with disabilities are all discriminated against in different ways.”Making art that narrates such a multidimensional concept of intersectionality sounds like a monumental commitment, but no more so than the life Smith navigates in order to grow, do her art, and feed her spirit.
To say Smith is a busy woman is an understatement. She obtained her MFA in Painting and Drawing from The Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. She is a founding member and Associate Professor at the Kentucky College of Arts + Design (KyCAD), where she teaches studio art and art history classes. KyCAD became independent from Spaulding University in May 2018 and was approved by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to grant a BFA in Studio Art. It is now poised to become the only stand-alone, accredited four-year college of art and design in the state of Kentucky and will have its own downtown campus.
Smith, who is also a certified yoga instructor, lives in the Crescent Hill neighborhood with her husband, two daughters and three cats; and her involvement in the Louisville arts community falls right in line with the guiding principles of her teaching philosophy. So how does she manage all this?
Skylar Smith, “Radiant, But Easy on the Eyes”, 24” x 24”, ink, acrylic, colored pencil, & crayon on wood panel, 2015
In every artist’s portfolio there is a seminal work that explains a lot and Radiant, But Easy on the Eyes, epitomizes Smith’s process and practice of art—past, present, and future. Beethoven had his Fifth Symphony that served as the bridge from his early Classical style to his later Romantic style, culminating with his Ninth Symphony—his magnum opus. Radiant bridges Smith’s earlier nonrepresentational abstract work in her Accumulation Series with her current realism and narrative approach in Personal Is Still Political and beyond.
Radiant, But Easy on the Eyes vibrates with energy. It looks like a square of irregularly shaped pixels from an enlarged computer image that teases you into thinking it will eventually assume a recognizable form. Instead, these juxtaposed blotches of glowing color seem to rearrange themselves the longer you look at it. Smith attributes the radiance of this piece to the spirituality she explores in her personal life through yoga and meditation and to her process of making art by “using deliberate, repetitive marks in ink and pencil [as she] investigates the tension between the ‘chaos’ of ‘wet’ media (ink) and the ‘order’ of ‘dry’ media (pencil).” These are the moments where she reclaims her “sense of inner peace by connecting to a larger life cycle, and consciously marking the passage of time in ink and pencil” (www.skylarsmith.com). So, for Smith, moving from women’s suffrage in 1913 to the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment in 2020 represents more than a stitch in time.
“Home Makers,” part of the Women’s Suffrage Parade on March 3, 1913, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress
Ann Taylor, in an article for The Atlantic (March 1, 2013) honoring the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade, recounts the abominable treatment these women received during the march from the men who had deluged Washington, D.C. for President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration to be held the following day. “Marchers were jostled and ridiculed by many in the crowd. Some were tripped, others assaulted. Policemen appeared to be either indifferent to the struggling paraders, or sympathetic to the mob. Before the day was out, one hundred marchers had been hospitalized.”
Smith with her own inventive tribute, Homemakers’ Rebellion, brings these women into the 21st century wearing pink pussyhats as they march out of and back into the picture, essentially saying, “We are here, we are making progress, and we are not going away!”
Impressive in her resolve, Smith does not try to emulate other artists although she is notably inspired by the works of three contemporaries: Mark Bradford, an African American artist living in Los Angeles, known for his large abstract grid paintings combined with collage representing aerial views of the city’s segregated neighborhoods; Julie Mehretu, an Ethiopian-born New York City abstract artist who creates politically themed works on a monumental scale by using a variety of techniques and media to layer her canvases; and Japanese artist Yoyai Kusami, who works primarily in sculpture and installations and is currently best known for her Infinity Rooms that provide viewers an unparalleled virtual experience with art.
Smith says she never feels limited by her media or content and, even with her busy schedule, she is looking forward to pushing the art side of herself, never losing sight of her goals and purpose, “Because the narrative for me right now is important, I want my current work to be very audience focused. I’m interested in making art where I am connecting with people inmore direct ways, especially in making work that has a political bent to it or effects change so that the conversation doesn’t end right there. The message may be literal but the impact has to go beyond that.”
Smith’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and she has curated several in and out-of-state exhibitions. She has also been the recipient of grants from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Great Meadows Foundation Artist Professional Development Grants.
Skylar Smith, “Marching”, 3’ x 10’, acrylic, ink & pencil on vellum, 2018
Edward Hopper, the great 20th century American Realist painter said, “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.” Skylar Smith is committed to making more art and to additional community involvement as the centennial of the 19th Amendment approaches, reminding us that black women (and men) did not get the right to vote until 1965. Facts like this and continued voter disenfranchisement and discrimination drive her artistic narrative.
The Great Meadows Foundation is a grant giving foundation whose mission is to critically strengthen and support visual art in Kentucky by empowering our community’s artists and other visual arts professionals to research, connect, and participate more actively in the broader contemporary art world.
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UnderMain invites you to attend Critical Mass III: In The Mid March 15th & 16th. In its third iteration, after being hosted in Lexington and Louisville, the conversation will now move to Northern Kentucky to be held at The Carnegie Center in Covington. The Critical Mass Series is based in a common desire to create a platform for critical thinking in the arts: including artists, art critics, and curators.
CMIII: In The Mid will center on the experience of art professionals living and working outside of the major art centers for contemporary art. The panel-community discussion will also examine the role that written criticism plays in engagement of regional artists and institutions in a national and international dialogue.
Natalia Zuluaga, Featured Panelist and second Critic-in-Residence for the Great Meadows Foundation and INhouse.
UM is partnering with The Great Meadows Foundation and INhouse and their second Critic-in-Residence, Natalia Zuluaga. During her residency she will make studio visits to a number of artists in the region as part of the foundation’s goal to help strengthen and support the critical growth of Kentucky artists.
Matt Distel, the Exhibitions Director at The Carnegie and moderator of the event, has also invited the following panelists to attend: Valentine Umansky, Annie Dell’Aria, and Sarah Rose Sharp. The focus of CMIII: In the Mid is Regionalism. Matt states that the aim is to discuss questions like ‘What is Regionalism and how does it inform opportunities for artists and writers?’ ‘What are the practical concerns for artists that are working outside of major arts centers?’ And ‘What role does art criticism (and critical dialogue in general play) in the careers of “regional” artists?
This event will bring forth ideas and topics relevant to anyone who values cultural critique with a focus on practical outcomes. The format promises interaction and discussion punctuated with artist presentations, accompanied by light bites and brunch cocktails.
UnderMain President, Christine Huskisson, thinks that the event will help build more meaningful and productive connections between people in the arts whether that be artists, curators, critics, or collectors. ‘My hope is that the Critical Mass Series, now in its third year, could become a space where we can discuss critical topics relevant to our growth as artists and develop a collective voice strong enough to be heard on the larger stage of the contemporary art world.’
Matt Distel believes the time is critical, ‘With any event of this nature we are really hoping to increase the level and, frankly, quantity of critical discourse around the arts. It’s such a vital component to the overall health of an arts community to receive and engage in dialogue around art projects and exhibitions. As mainstream news outlets drift further away from that sort of coverage, it feels like a really crucial time for the artists, writers, curators, collectors, galleries and administrators to ask what we want from the art critical conversation in this region.’
CMIII: In The Mid will take place on Saturday, March 16th at The Carnegie in Covington and will run from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. We hope you will join us the night before on March 15th for gallery opening of Open Source, featuring artist Sky Cubacub.
Sky Cubacub is featured at The Carnegie’s Gallery opening March 15th. Cubacub first dreamed of Rebirth Garments in high school when they didn’t have access to buy a binder. Rebirth Garment’s mission is to create gender non-conforming wearables and accessories for people on the full spectrum of gender, size and ability.
“I am especially interested in Rebirth Garments being accessible to queercrip youth and I’m working on creating a program for making free/reduced priced garments for people in need… In my practice, the intensive handwork makes the process the most important part and gives me inspiration. For me, everyday is a performance where I bring my body as a kinetic sculpture into the consciousness if the people I interact with in passing and on a daily basis. I embody the spirit of Radical Visibility, and Rebirth Garments is my soft armor.”
Lindsey Whittle received a BFA, in painting, from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2007. She pursued a master’s degree in fashion at the Scholastic’s of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2012 – 2014, studying under “Soundsuit Artist” Nick Cave, all while maintaining her position as the Master Crafter at Kiki Magazine from 2012-2015. Presently, she co-instigates and co-coordinate unique art experiences at PIQUE art gallery and bed and breakfast.
“I am a fashion/performance artist that makes colorful transformable objects as as starting point to collaboration with others. A single piece of my work often has many applications and the work functions best when those applications are in flux. It can function as an installation, on the wall, as a sculpture or on a body etc. There are elements of exploration, change, transformation, interactivity and possibility in everything I do.”
Social Circle Site specific installation at The University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash. Found objects, enamel paint, screen print. David Wischer, 2018
David Wischer was born in Henderson, Kentucky. He received his B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Northern Kentucky University and his M.F.A. in Printmaking from Purdue University. He has taught courses in Printmaking, Foundations Design, and Digital Art at both Northern Kentucky University and Purdue University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital and Print Media at University of Kentucky. Through his use of printmaking, animation, video, and sound, David melds topical humor, nostalgia and social commentary with his work. His prints and video pieces usually function as an inside joke for a generation that grew up absorbing their worldly knowledge through television and the internet. David’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and he has been included in many private and public collections. His work is currently on view in The Carnegie’s Exhibition, ‘Open Source.’
“I Am The LEAST Racist Person You Have Ever Met” – Harry Sanchez Jr, 2018
Harry Sanchez Jr. was born in El Paso, Texas in 1980. He was spent much of his life on the border with Mexico, bust he also lived in many parts of the country doing menial jobs such as working in construction and the restaurant industry, providing maintenance to a golf course and ushering at a movie theatre. His mobility allowed him to experience and understand life and this society from the perspective of people from different social classes and races. In his earliest works, he used the same tools and techniques he learned as a cake-decorator, but replaced the icing with oil paint. He squeezes oil with a pastry bag over the canvas to explore the relationship between painting, sculpture and abstraction. In his most recent work, Harry gas used installations, prints, and other media to make artistic statements from the position of a racialized minority in the United States. He uses his artwork to comment on global matters such as the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the double-identity of whistleblowers who are hailed as heroes or condemned as traitors, and to denounce the separation of families following the deportation of undocumented migrants.
Rose (for MM), 2015. Wilted rose sprayed with a mist of Balenciaga Rosabotanica.
Joey Versoza was born in Michigan and currently resides in Northern Kentucky. He has been a professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati since 2013, and received a BFA from the same institution in 2000. He has shown several solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and has shown in group exhibitions in Chicago, Baltimore and Louisville- to name a few. Speaking on his work he said, “It kind of exists as both; as a question and then also as an affirmation. His show, This is It at the Contemporary Art Center in 2013, was in part about “challenging the idea of masculinity in the midwest.”
Make a free reservation for CMIII at firstname.lastname@example.org
About UnderMain: UnderMain is a Kentucky 501(c)(3) dedicated to arts and cultural affairs in the region. Our vision is to become a digital meeting space that empowers Kentucky creatives by presenting arts of all kinds, community issues, controversies, contests, events, people, and critical reviews. UM is serious and fun. We love playing in the digital sandbox and presenting vivid content to you, ad-free, as we offer support to some of Kentucky’s most talented writers, artists, and performers.
About the Great Meadows Foundation: The Great Meadows Foundation is a grant giving foundation, launched in 2016 by contemporary art collector and philanthropist Al Shands. Named for the home that Al and his late wife Mary created, the mission of Great Meadows Foundation is to critically strengthen and support visual art in Kentucky by empowering our community’s artists and other visual arts professionals to research, connect, and participate more actively in the broader contemporary art world.
About The Carnegie: The Carnegie is Northern Kentucky’s largest multidisciplinary arts venue providing theatre events, educational programs and art exhibitions to the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati community. The Carnegie facility is home to The Carnegie Galleries, the Otto M. Budig Theatre, and the Eva G. Farris Education Center. More information about The Carnegie is available at www.thecarnegie.com or by calling (859) 491-2030.The Carnegie is supported by the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. The Carnegie receives ongoing operating support from the Cincinnati Wine Festival, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Kenton County Fiscal Courts, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr. / US Bank Foundation.
About the Featured Critic: Between 2007 and 2012 Natalia Zuluaga was the manager of foundation programs at CIFO (Cisneros Fontanais Art Foundation) where she managed the foundation’s core programs, and from 2016 through 2018 she was Artistic Director of the ArtCenter/South Florida, where she developed exhibitions, residency programs, artist development initiatives, and adult education programs. Since 2014 she has been the co-director of [NAME] Publications, a non-profit press and cultural office, and most recently she launched and is the co-editor of the bilingual online journal Dispatches (www.dispatchesjournal.org).
Savannah Wills is a Chellgren Fellow and senior at the University of Kentucky. Graduating with Bachelor Degrees in Art History and Arts Administration in Fall 2019, she previously coordinated Critical Mass II in 2018, and will be working with Under Main again to help coordinate Critical Mass III.
UnderMain joins forces with WEKU’s weekly current affairs program Eastern Standard to bring you regular coverage of the arts in central and eastern Kentucky. You can listen to our first contribution to the show on this week’s edition (88.9 WEKU at 11 am / 7 pm Thursdays, 6 pm Sundays. You can live stream Eastern Standard from WEKU.fm or esweku.com, download the WEKU app from your device app store and listen live, or find our podcast on NPR One, iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.)
On February 1st, the Great Meadows Foundation launches its inaugural Critic-in-Residence Program with Dan Cameron – an internationally renowned, New York-based contemporary art curator, writer and educator – kicking things off. His residency runs through March 31st, 2018. And his job? Well, to visit Kentucky artists in their studios and discuss a few things.
According to a Dec. 29th press release from the Great Meadows Foundation, “the Critic-in-Residence program is meant to bring a high level of discourse to our community of artists. The goal of the residency is to help strengthen and support the growth of Kentucky artists’ work and their engagement with the larger art world. Selecting residents based on their connectedness to artists, the foundation also looks to nurture ongoing interest in and build networks for Kentucky artists among curators from other parts of the country.”
Dan Cameron, Critic-in-Residence, Great Meadows Foundation, February 1 through March 31, 2018
As a curator, Dan Cameron, first came to prominence in 1982 with the exhibition Extended Sensibilities, the first-ever exhibition of gay and lesbian art in a U.S. museum, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1986 he gained international acclaim for his exhibition Art and Its Double at the Fundacion ‘la Caixa’ in Barcelona and Madrid.
Cameron was appointed Senior Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in 1996—a post he held until 2005—where he helped raise the profile of the institution internationally, curating exhibitions by renowned artists while consistently maintaining a high level of exposure for younger artists.
From 2006 to 2011 Cameron’s attention was devoted to founding and providing artistic and executive direction for Prospect New Orleans, the largest survey of international contemporary art in the U.S. This triennial, which is now in its fourth iteration, was conceived as a means of bridging the gap between the city of New Orleans in its post-Katrina state of neglect and disrepair.
Opening in 2008, Prospect 1 exhibited works by 80 artists from 40 countries and attracted more than 50,000 visitors. From 2007 until 2011 Cameron also served as the Visual Arts Director at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in New Orleans.
Then, as Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), from 2012 to 2015, he oversaw an ambitious expansion of scholarship on the museum’s Permanent Collection and relaunched the museum’s signature California Biennial as the California-Pacific Triennial.
In 1988, Cameron was invited to be the first-ever US commissioner for the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale. Subsequently he has served as Artistic Director for the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003), co-curator for the Taipei Biennial (2006), and curator for the XIII Bienal de Cuenca in Ecuador (2016). Presently he is working on a Midwestern Biennial, Open Spaces: A Kansas City Arts Experience, to be launched in 2018.
Along with his ongoing curatorial projects, Cameron is a widely published art critic, with several hundred books, magazine and catalog essays to his credit. Along with teaching on the graduate faculties of Columbia University, NYU and the School of Visual Arts, Cameron is a frequent lecturer at museums and university campuses around the world.
He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Madison Park Art Conservancy in NYC and the ARC/Athens Artist Residency in Greece. He has received numerous awards for his curatorial and scholarly work, most recently the 2010 Service to the Arts Award by the Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado, and the 2015 Eminent Scholar award from the American Cultural Association/Popular Culture Association.
The 2018 Curator-in-Residence program is being supported in partnership by INhouse, an initiative of Louisville art collector and philanthropist Brook Smith. As part of this program INhouse will be a base for Mr. Cameron for the two months of his residency.
– from December 29th Press Release, Great Meadows Foundation.
GREAT MEADOWS FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW DEADLINES FOR ARTIST PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
Due to the success of the inaugural round of Artist Professional Development Grants this past summer, the Great Meadows Foundation will now run this grant program three times a year. For the result of the first round, visit the UnderMain Post from August of this year. These grants are open for artists living in Kentucky and the counties of Floyd and Clarke in Indiana.
Additional information about the Shands’ collection can be found in the text Great Meadows: The Making of Here and Elizabeth Ann Smith’s You Are Here – a review for UnderMain when the text was released.
The next deadline for applications is November 20, 2016. Grants can be employed in the period January 6th through June 30th, 2017.
For further information go to www.greatmeadowsfoundation.org
Information about grant cycles in 2017
Cycle 1. 2017
Grant Cycle January 6 through June 30, 2017
Application deadline: Midnight on Sunday November 20, 2016
Notification date: December 30, 2016
Report deadline: July 21, 2017
Cycle 2. 2017
Grant Cycle May 1 through October 31, 2017
Application deadline: Midnight on Sunday March 19, 2017
Notification date: April 24, 2017
Report deadline: November 21, 2017
Cycle 3. 2017
Grant Cycle September 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018
Application deadline: Midnight on Sunday July 23, 2017
Notification date: August 25, 2017
Report deadline: March 21, 2018
Great Meadows Foundation is pleased to announce the award of 19 grants to artists in the Kentucky region through the inaugural cycle of the Artists Professional Development Grants program. Supporting artists from across the state, the grants will enable recipients to travel to visit conferences, major exhibitions, art fairs and biennials, and to connect with professionals in the field whose expertise can help them develop their practice.
Speaking about the inaugural program, Al Shands, founder of Great Meadows Foundation, says: “we are thrilled that Kentucky artists are so ambitious in terms of what they want to see, who they want to meet, and how they see these grants benefitting them.” Julien Robson, Director of Great Meadows Foundation adds: “We received 36 very good applications for this inaugural program and are proud that, with these 19 grants, we will be able help a total of 20 artists fulfill travel projects that will expand their horizons, help them build new connections, and support their growth as artists.”
Grantees were selected with the advice of an external reviewer, a professional in the field from outside the region. The amount of support given in the 19 grants totals $40,768.-, with individual awards ranging between $1,000.- and $4,980.-. Grantee artists will be enabled to travel to American cities like Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Pittsburgh, as well as to Cuba, Denmark, France, Mexico, Italy, Korea, UAE, and the United Kingdom in pursuit of their proposals.
Grantee artists in this inaugural cycle are: Kayla Bischoff, Louisville; Mary Carothers, Louisville; Dave Caudill, Louisville; Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, Shelbyville; Brian Harper, New Albany; Kenneth Hayden, Louisville; Jacob Heustis, Louisville; Amira Karaoud, Louisville; Jonathan McFadden, Lexington; Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido, Morehead; Neli Ouzounova, Bowling Green; Letitia Quesenberry, Louisville; Stacey Reason and Andrew Cozzens (collaboration), Louisville; Kristin Richards, Louisville; Nathan G. Smith, Louisville; Skylar Smith, Louisville; James Robert Southard, Lexington; Richard Sullivan, Louisville; and Sarah West, Mount Sterling.
Artist Professional Development Grants is an ongoing program of the Great Meadows Foundation and will have deadlines three times each year. The next cycle will beannounced at the beginning of September, 2016 on the foundation’s website and
Great Meadows Foundation is a grant giving foundation, launched in 2016 by contemporary art collector and philanthropist Al Shands. Named for the home that Al and his late wife Mary created, the vision of Great Meadows Foundation is to strengthen and support the visual arts in Kentucky by empowering our community’s artists and other visual arts professionals to research, connect, and participate more actively in the broader contemporary art world. Artist Professional Development Grants are focused on supporting and forwarding the careers of Kentucky artists. This grant program promotes the growth and development of visual art in Kentucky by helping improve the skills, resources, knowledge, and connections of artists. The grant program aims to further artists’ careers by encouraging them to engage with the broader art world and raising the bar for art being produced in the region. Developing artists’ awareness of and participation in the national and international art world, Artist Professional Development Grants aim to strengthen the level of discourse and practice among artists in the state.
For more information, visit: http://greatmeadowsfoundation.org
Yes, it is here and yes, it is in support of Kentucky artists.
Photo Credit: Verena Gerlach
Photo Credit: Verena Gerlach
Photo Credit: Verena Gerlach
Photo Credit: Verena Gerlach
Great Meadows Foundation is a grant giving foundation, launched in 2016 by contemporary art collector and philanthropist Al Shands. Named for the home that Al and his late wife Mary created, the vision of Great Meadows Foundation is to strengthen and support the visual arts in Kentucky by empowering our community’s artists and other visual arts professionals to research, connect, and participate more actively in the broader contemporary art world.
The initial program, Artists Professional Development Grants, will provide visual artists in Kentucky with grants for travel outside the state, both nationally and internationally. This program encourages artists to engage critically with the international art world and thereby to enrich the art environment we live in. Awardees for the first summer cycle will be announced in August. While that deadline has passed, we hope you will stay tuned for an announcement of our next.
As the foundation develops, it will expand its scope with other types of grants and we look forward to keeping you abreast of these programs as they come on line. Future programs will be publicized through the GreatMeadowsFoundation website’s newsfeed, on Facebook and through Twitter.
We encourage you to forward information about Great Meadows Foundation, its website, and programs to colleagues and other visual arts professionals around Kentucky and help us raise awareness of this new support structure within the state.