WHY Lou Two Electric NuLu: it's not a line from a Dr. Seuss book, but the lyrical, fun, and unforgettable new name for Lebowski Fest co-founder, Original Maker Club member, and hometown boy Will Russell's latest project, a second location to the wildy popular Bardstown Road gift and curiosity shop, WHY Louisville. The new location, at 806 E. Market between Decca and Please & Thank You, opens this Friday, March 1. And you won't be able to miss it. The building (formerly Hudson Home) has been painted the shade of Kentucky goldenrod and the movie marquee announcing the "Grand Awesoming" is already up, just beckoning natives and visitors alike to visit this treasure trove of Kentucky-themed fun.
After being lured to the hottest block in Louisville by Mr. NuLu himself, Gil Holland, Russell decided to take his WHY game up a notch. Instead of a carrying pure gift shop items, WHY Louisville Two will also be part art gallery. The launch of the Electric NuLu Art Gallery to coincide with the First Friday Trolley Hop noticeably excites Russell. He loves art that is "affordable, young, and irreverent." So he's kept the price point on WHY's vast t-shirt collection low, allowing Louisvillians to invest in a piece of locally-designed wearable art for $20. But now, beginning at this Friday's gallery opening, he will be able to support and recognize young and emerging artists in a more traditional (and profitable) way.
Electric NuLu's first featured artist is Chimel Ford, a talented young painter Russell first met at StudioWorks through Zoom Group, a group dedicated to helping young adults with developmental disabilities. Ford's colorful pop art paintings of candy and snack packaging are a natural fit with the funhouse decor that has become synonymous with the WHY Louisville brand. At the NuLu location, expect even more carnival kitsch. Besides the movie marquee out front, other eclectic items at WHY Lou Two include a funhouse mirror, a coin operated horse, a spin-it-to-win-it carnival wheel (with free prizes), and old Fountain Ferry fixtures.
Clearly, if you want to buy a Louisville-themed gift or a fun retro trinket, WHY Louisville Two is the only place to shop. This second location will appeal to tourists and lure convention traffic to NuLu, as if the great restaurants and bars on this block weren't already a big enough draw. WHY Lou Two is the go-to gift shop in the area, and with the addition of the Electric NuLu Art Gallery, Louisvillians will have another space in which to view, appreciate, and support local artists.
The "Grand Awesoming" (Russell has a way with words; why "open" when you can "awesome"?) of WHY Lou Two Electric Nulu is Friday, March 1. Check out the Facebook page for loads of details and pictures. "Snacks" by Chimel Ford will christen the new art gallery at 5:00 pm. And I'm pretty sure there will be snacks. Bring your camera. Bring your children. Bring your wallet. It's going to be fun!
Photos: courtesy of WHY Louisville Facebook page/Zoomgroup.org