Client: Louisville Metro Government Lots of Possibility Competition
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $8,000
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
Bray Electric Company
Elmer Lucille Allen
Parkland Scholar House
The West Louisville Women’s Coalition’s mission is to create and sustain artistic, peaceful spaces in West Louisville, KY. Our first project converted a vacant lot measuring approximately 32' x 120' into a Peace Labyrinth using 450 bricks/pavers painted with inspirational messages from community members. A labyrinth is a walking path used for reflection and meditation. An artistic cedar fence and garden planters on the property's eastern border provide privacy and offer space for rotating outdoor art exhibitions. Monthly programming at the site addresses community concerns related to issues surrounding vacant property reuse and community development.
Every day West Louisville residents face issues common in America’s Urban areas – poverty, violence, blight. The Peace Labyrinth is a peaceful space where residents are empowered by the words of their neighbors to tackle these tough issues. The space is also an outward sign of what a community can achieve when it combines all of its resources, energies, and talents.
Providing an artistic space for community members to express their thoughts surrounding the issues facing the community was a major goal of this project. The commissioned artists led the community in the process of painting bricks with inspirational messages. A team comprised of artists, art therapists, and business leaders donated their resources to provide the space, supplies, and instruction for community members to paint garden pavers with words or symbols of encouragement.
West Louisville Women’s Coalition was a recipient of a grant through Louisville Metro Government’s Lots of Possibility challenge, which provided seed funds to transform a city owned vacant lot into a productive reuse. WLWC’s membership reflects the diversity of Louisville and its members have a desire to use art as a vehicle for addressing West Louisville blight and perceptions. The process began with several community meetings held in partnership with established community agencies to hear the community’s design ideas for the space. Two artists used these ideas to develop three labyrinth designs appropriate for the narrow lot space. These designs were taken to community summer festivals where participants voted on their favorite design after painting an inspirational paver to be used to create the winning design.
Volunteers provided approximately 800 hours of labor over 4 weekends to construct the Peace Labyrinth. Local businesses provided machinery and labor to excavate the site. The project’s major sponsors were Whayne Supply Company, Bray Electric, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Bellarmine University, Parkland Scholar House, Louisville Collegiate School, and West End School.
A YouTube video describing the project with pictures of the process can be seen at http://youtu.be/NZD2KCaOgVM