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    In a little more than a year, 110 exterior doors in drab alleys and garages downtown have been covered in colorful art. Called the Alley Gallery, the doors are “painted” in vinyl from photographs of the original works, with 60 artists contributing so far. Artists get $300 per door, and are chosen by the building owners, most of whom sponsor the doors at $645 for a single door and $1,200 for a double. The project, which has paid artists $33,900 so far, is the brainchild of Louisville Downtown Partnership special projects coordinator Ken Herndon, who says he’d love to see the Alley Gallery go beyond the Central Business District and into NuLu and south of Broadway. In downtown alone, the Partnership has identified around 350 qualifying doors. Usually, Herndon will put artists’ submissions in an online catalog and let building owners choose from what’s available, but when he saw Victor Sweatt’s image of a boy standing in water with his head tucked down, he went straight to the Louisville Water Co. and said, “I think you need this piece right here.” Herndon says the project has bled into surfaces beyond doors, such as exterior restaurant vents (there’s one on Second Street outside Bearno’s Pizza). “I’m always looking for little nooks and crannies that aren’t doors for unusual applications — to have fun with it,” Herndon says.

    This originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine on page 89. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photos: Doors in the Alley Gallery // Louisville Downtown Partnership

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    Part of "33 Reasons We Love Our Arts Scene."

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    About Mary Chellis Nelson

    Mary Chellis Nelson is the managing editor of Louisville Magazine.

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