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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