1619 Flux: Art + Activism is a creative space where art intersects with empowering dialogue toward the aim of inspiring hopeful community change. Seeing a city hindered by segregation, Kara Nichols founded 1619 Flux in early 2016. Located in a gallery-style facility in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood, 1619 Flux leverages the power of artistic expression to unite diverse residents and artists across the city to engage in issues impacting our most disadvantaged communities. Focusing on the assets and opportunities in these communities, 1619 Flux provides a platform elevating the promise in our differences and encouraging healthy collaboration toward sustained neighborhood revitalization.
The vision to create 1619 Flux was fostered by Nichols’ previous residence in Chicago and her travels, particularly to Louisville’s sister city, New Orleans. Both cities suffer from racism and other structural divisions as Louisville does. Committed to supporting the spirit of inclusion and accessibility in her hometown, Nichols formed 1619 Flux. Housed in a former warehouse in Louisville’s west end, Nichols sought to revitalize the space to serve the public. This transformation spurred the programming that 1619 Flux offers.
1619 FLUX programming
1619 Flux hosts three inclusive art exhibitions each year, displaying work from artists at all levels and across disciplines. We view art as a community-building tool and as a platform for bringing diverse people together. We provide opportunities for the public to interact with the artists and to learn more about how and why art is created.
Fran Heuttig Public Art Series
The Fran Heuttig Public Art Series was created in 2015 in partnership with Fund for the Arts and Louisville Metro Government. Each year, an artist is chosen by the committee to create public art in one of Louisville’s west end neighborhoods. In the spirit of the late Fran Huettig (a long-time Fund for the Arts employee and aunt of 1619 Flux founder Kara Nichols), the chosen artist works collaboratively with residents to develop the public art piece.
Colin’s Voice: Artist Support Circle
Because artists at all levels need community and a wide range of support, our Artist Support Circle encourages artists to connect for growth and to combat isolation. In addition to providing space and other resources, micro-grants are awarded for artists to distribute through participatory budgeting. This program was developed in honor of the late Colin Segal, nephew of 1619 Flux founder Kara Nichols.
“Connecting Conversations” and “Provocative Perspectives”
The “Connecting Conversations” series began in early 2016 to inspire honest dialogue around issues vital to an inclusive community and healthy neighborhoods. Community leaders and citizens from across the city gather to share ideas and develop solutions to challenging issues facing Louisville’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Our series has yielded a model to replicate across the city, with its success recognized through a partnership with Community Foundation of Louisville to extend community conversations in a new series “Provocative Perspectives.”
Public Space Revitalization
Using the model shaped by the revitalization of 1619 West Main street into 1619 Flux: Art + Activism, we will continue transforming additional spaces in Louisville’s west end neighborhoods. Driven by the issue of concentrated vacant lots and abandoned structures in surrounding areas, 1619 Flux will continue to create useful public spaces that bring the community together. This effort will be bolstered through partnerships with Louisville Forward, neighborhood organizations, and local property investors allowing for maximum impact.