Lexington Visual Collective: A Force for Change in Lexington

Lexington Visual Collective: A Force for Change in Lexington

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This article appears on p 12 of the April 7, 2011 edition   by Kate Sprengnether The Lexington Visual Collective (LexVC) wants you to know that the Lexington art community is vibrant and growing, but that emerging artists need to be embraced in the same way that established artists are. The faces behind LexVC are Ide Bouldin, Administrative Director, and Charlie Campbell, Creative Director. They are both creative thinkers, with a tendency to be visionary, but with the ability to also focus on the details. They have complementary experiences in arts administration, and I predict, and strongly hope, that they will build LexVC into an impressive force in the Lexington art community. Campbell is a Transylvania alum who worked as a graphics and web designer before leaving town to pursue an MFA in New Forms (also known as New Media) at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He recently returned to Lexington and is currently employed as a designer at Bullhorn, while also serving as the Exhibitions Director at Land of Tomorrow (LOT). Bouldin joined the military out of high school (an experience that he says helped him to develop tenacity), and then trained as a studio artist at EKU. He left EKU to work as a self-employed artist, but eventually returned to his studies, this time art history at UK, completing his degree last year. At UK, Bouldin worked closely with Christine Huskisson and she got him interested in public art and the intersection of business and art, which he parlayed into a local writing job. Between Bouldin and Campbell they have been associated, in an administrative capacity, with the Lexington Art League, Change for Art, Tuska Center for Contemporary Art at UK, LexArts, the Legacy Trail, and the Urban County Art Review Board. Now they are turning their attention to local artists and the many ways that they can be served and supported. The stated mission of LexVC is “to provide a home, not just for the individual artist but for every artist in Lexington through an open environment in which to meet, collaborate, work and play. It is to provide consolidated resources and opportunities – focused especially on emerging artists, to help them better integrate into the Lexington arts community and its supporting institutions. We aim to complement the services of our local non-profit organizations, as well as the collegiate training of visual artists who are ready to advance their careers in and outside of Lexington.” Both artists talk a lot about community, especially when asked for their reasons for founding LexVC. They miss the community of artists that naturally forms around academic programs. It is often difficult for young artists to make their way after they leave school and to find a community that nurtures, supports, and challenges them. Older and more established artists have (usually) successfully navigated this, but young emerging artists often do not feel welcomed or accepted by the older generations. LexVC aims to step into this void, by providing affordable studios and helping to form artist communities through open studio drawing sessions, group critiques, and other gatherings. In addition, they will provide professional services to local artists including listings of exhibition opportunities, an artist registry, and professional development assistance. Their website, designed by Campbell, will have lists of opportunities for artists, from local to international. Artists won’t have to spend time searching the internet for exhibits; they will need only to check LexVC’s website (www.lexvc.com). Currently, this list can be found on their Facebook page, but they expect to have their website complete by June or July. In addition, for a small monthly fee and a percentage of sales, LexVC will do some of the administrative work for the artist— searching for appropriate exhibitions and galleries and then compiling and mailing the necessary documents and images. Stephen Dorsett, an accomplished local painter and art teacher at Lexington Catholic High School, was the first artist to sign up for Lex- VC’s services. His stated reason for signing up with LexVC is that “in the little time I have to focus on my own artwork, I actually want to be making it…” This is sentiment echoed by many artists, from emerging to established. Eventually, the website will also have a directory of artists in Fayette County. The directory will be open to any artist, who can upload images, a statement and a biography. The purpose of this directory will be to serve curators, collectors, and business owners with an extensive list of artists who are available for exhibits, commissions, or collections. LexVC has rented a space at 754 North Limestone. They plan to partition the space to create five studios, which already have tenants, but they need to raise money in order to pay for the construction. Eight local artists have created limited edition prints that are available for purchase for $65. The artists receive a 30 percent commission on each print sold with the remaining money going directly to the studio construction fund. The artists who are supporting this project include Nick Alley, Don Ament, Stephen Dorsett, Matt Foley, Marjorie Guyon, Jason Jenicke, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, and Caper West. Check out the website to see images of the prints available. ■

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