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Artwithoutwalls - A New Arts Organization Launches

LOUISVILLE, KY.- artwithoutwalls—a new non-profit, non-collecting art organization that will work with artists to create installations and programs in a range of media and locations—launches today with a collaborative project by Turkish artist Serkan Ozkaya and The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky. For this debut project, Today Could Be a Day of Historical Importance, Ozkaya hand-drew the text and images of the front page of April 10, 2009 edition of The Courier-Journal, after it was created by the newspaper’s editors. The drawing is printed as Page 1 of every copy of the April 10 paper, in effect transforming The Courier-Journal into an accessible, affordable, and unexpected work of art.

artwithoutwalls offers a fresh, on-the-street approach to contemporary art through innovative projects in non-traditional settings. The brainchild of arts patrons Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, the initial programming presented by artwithoutwalls will take place in the Louisville area and expand to include projects around the country. Based in Louisville, artwithoutwalls will exist in a range of sites, both virtual and tangible. Collaboration is a central element of artwithoutwalls. Through cooperative work with a broad range of cultural and civic institutions like The Courier-Journal, artwithoutwalls will use an ever-changing pool of intellectual and material resources to engage people with the art of our time. artwithoutwalls is currently developing a collaborative project with the Park Avenue Armory in New York, as well as projects with the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the Idea Festival in Louisville, and the Creative Capital Foundation in New York.

“Part artistic supercollider, part public forum, part creative playground, artwithoutwalls is dedicated to the idea that art can have a vital role in everyone’s life,” said artwithoutwalls Director Alice Gray Stites. “Working with Serkan Ozkaya and The Courier-Journal exemplifies our mission to integrate contemporary art into the fabric of the everyday. The locations of our projects may range from exhibition spaces to websites to public parks, construction sites, athletic fields, riverfronts, and rail yards, but wherever our projects take place, artwithoutwalls will change how people interact with art and provide surprising perspectives on the world around us.”

“We established artwithoutwalls to take art out of the confines of the conventional museum and bring it directly to the community,” said artwithoutwalls co-founder Steve Wilson. “artwithoutwalls will present dynamic projects by allowing artists to be free from traditional restrictions and inviting the public to be part of the creative process.” Co-founder Laura Lee Brown added, “artwithoutwalls’ eclectic, interdisciplinary approach reflects Louisville’s energy and diversity. We’re particularly excited to collaborate with Serkan Ozkaya and The Courier-Journal for our inaugural project, as the Courier is truly a cornerstone of our city.”

Serkan Ozkaya and The Courier-Journal
With a longstanding interest in notions of authenticity, Serkan Ozkaya frequently works in collaborative modes to question originality and authorship. With Today Could be a Day of Historical Importance, Ozkaya complicates concepts of “original” vs. “reproduction”—issues of particular relevance in a world which increasingly relies upon mass-production.

Through his collaboration with The Courier-Journal, Ozkaya brings these questions to the general public of Louisville and anyone around the world who visits The Courier-Journal website. The widespread distribution and visibility of Today Could be a Day of Historical Importance highlight the unique role that newspapers play in engaging their communities. Tens of thousands of people will see the paper in convenience stores, airports, or on a colleague’s desk during the day. People who purchase the paper for the standard price of seventy-five cents, or have a home delivery subscription, will own a piece of Ozkaya’s work.

Ozkaya’s installations, sculptures, performances, and other projects have been featured in the 2005 Istanbul Biennial, in the 2007 Performa Biennial in New York, and in numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. He is represented by the Slag Gallery in New York and lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Courier-Journal was created in 1868 from the merger of several newspapers, but its origins go back to 1826. It was one of the first papers in the southeast to push for improved public education, support for African Americans and the poor of Appalachia. The Courier-Journal has won ten Pulitzer Prizes, including a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1967 for its fight against the ravages of Kentucky strip mining, a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1980 for a series of articles, “Living the Cambodian Nightmare,” and a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoons in 2005. The Courier-Journal has a daily circulation of 200,000 and it operates the most visited website in Kentucky, The newspaper reaches 85 percent of the adults in its seven-county market every week and enjoys the sixth highest penetration among American newspapers.

Arnold Garson, president and publisher of the newspaper, said that The Courier Journal is pleased to be part of the artwithoutwalls launch. “This project is consistent with The Courier-Journal’s long-standing commitment to the arts. We are proud to bring a work of art, and, no doubt, a topic of discussion, to the 490,000 residents of our distribution area who read the newspaper on a typical day. We believe that the community will be richer for having had this experience,” Garson said.

In addition to working with artwithoutwalls and Serkan Ozkaya on the project, The Courier-Journal donated funding to offset the direct costs of the project.

STEVE WILSON and LAURA LEE BROWN are Louisville-based philanthropists, contemporary art collectors, and the co-founders of artwithoutwalls. In 2006, they opened 21c Museum Hotel, an historic rehabilitation and urban revitalization project in downtown Louisville. 21c features a 90-room hotel and a restaurant, Proof on Main. It also houses 21c Museum, the first museum in North America dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art of the 21st century. 21c Museum presents group and solo exhibitions of emerging and recognized artists, as well as permanent installations commissioned by the Museum. The 9,000-square-foot facility is open free of charge twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown are the recipients of the John Russell Groves Citizens Laureate Award, which is presented by the AIA Kentucky to honor those who “through leadership, service and dedication to a better living environment, have supported and encouraged the values of quality architecture.” They also received the Kentucky Society of Architects 2005 award for outstanding service to the profession of architecture in Kentucky. They are staunch protectors of Kentucky's rural landscape and have provided many years of leadership and financial support for programs and projects promoting the cultural and intellectual life of Louisville.

ALICE GRAY STITES is the director of artwithoutwalls. Before joining artwithoutwalls, she was an independent consultant and curator, and from 1995 to 2006 served as adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum. She organized numerous special exhibitions at the Speed, including: The Theatre of Self-Invention: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art; The Body in Question: Tracing, Displacing, and Remaking the Figure in Contemporary Art; and Contemplating the Contemporary Still Life: Mary Ann Currier, A Retrospective. She has also organized exhibitions at the University of Kentucky Art Museum and at 21c Museum Hotel. For 21c Museum, she organized: Hybridity: The Evolution of Species and Spaces in 21st-Centuy Art; Looking Now; and Through the Rabbit Hole: Sleights of Scale and Flights of Fantasy.

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