Mayor Greg Fischer, Fund for the Arts, the Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 Steering Committee and Louisville Visual Art are excited to kick off the inaugural Imagine Mural Festival. The festival brings talented artists from Louisville and beyond together to create public artworks that uncover the untold stories of one of Louisville’s historic neighborhoods.
What is the Imagine 2020 Mural Festival?
The Imagine Mural Festival showcases local, national, and international artistic talent and Louisville’s vibrant neighborhoods. The Imagine Mural Festival brings murals of all scales to a select Louisville neighborhood each year, engaging residents, business owners, and tourists from across Louisville and beyond.
Rooted in the five priorities of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, the Imagine Mural Festival aims to 1) expand access to, and educate through, the arts; 2) cultivate artistic talent; 3) celebrate equity, diversity, and inclusion; and 4) promote Louisville as a great place to live, work and visit.
The central theme of the Imagine Mural Festival is Lean Into Louisville, a city-wide initiative launched by Louisville Metro Government in 2019. Lean Into Louisville is an unprecedented series of presentations, conversations, activities and art exhibits that explores and confronts the history and legacy of all forms of inequality and discrimination. Louisville, a Southern border city with a proud history of brave citizens fighting for civil rights, marriage equality and the welcoming of immigrants, but also of discrimination, can be a national model for civic transformation through guided innovative education and conversation.
While Lean Into Louisville was sparked by the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia and the recognition of the lack of understanding of the nation’s history of discrimination and its ongoing impact, it is grounded in hope, inspired by compassion, and sets a goal to create a movement that cultivates a more equitable city where everyone can thrive. Lean Into Louisville continues Louisville Metro Government’s nationally recognized work building Louisville’s reputation as a welcoming city and how Louisville can create more opportunities for all citizens.
In its inaugural year, the Imagine 2020 Mural Festival will stretch across Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood. Home to more than 1,600 people, Smoketown is a neighborhood of perseverance. It is one of the first black-founded communities that still exists in Louisville today. Smoketown is home to a proud, majority African-American population with thriving church communities, active and capable non-profits, and successful businesses. Despite the systemic patterns of disinvestment and segregation produced by redlining practices, Smoketown residents have fought to make neighborhood housing, community facilities, and educational opportunities available to all.
To learn more about Smoketown, read the Smoketown Neighborhood Plan.