Talking Art And Dinner With Shannon Westerman

Shannon Westerman

Shannon Westerman

Art is everywhere.

Whether it’s music, sculpture, painting or expressive, we all know it.

I love art, and I love to learn about both the art and the people who create it.

So, this week I caught up with Shannon Westerman, Director of the Louisville Visual Art Association to learn why the arts are such an important facet of our community.

Lori Kommor: LVAA has been a catalyst for educating and enriching the arts in our community. What are some of your biggest challenges?

Shannon Westerman: LVAA is the oldest public arts institution in the state of Kentucky. And like many of the fine arts and cultural agencies in Louisville, we face formidable economic and fund raising challenges. And though LVAA has been a cultural partner in the Fund for the Arts since its inception sixty years ago, and we appreciate the Fund’s limited financial support each year, less than four percent of the millions of dollars the Fund distributes each year is allocated to visual arts organizations KMAC and LVAA. LVAA believes ART is for everyone, and everyone should support art whenever possible.

L.K.: LVAA’s DINNER(re)WORKS Gala will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Can you explain what the Gala is all about to someone who has never been?

S.W.: In an age where technology and electronic messaging dominate our personal interactions, DINNER(re)WORKS is a pleasant reminder the dining table remains the “heart and soul” of the American home and the ideal location to gather with friends and family to discuss ideas, share experiences, plan our dreams and nourish our bodies with delicious, healthy cuisine.

DINNER(re)WORKS is rooted in LVAA’s rich tradition of  handmade dinnerware exhibitions dating back to 1987.

After a two-year hiatus, this dynamic program series is back with a new format, and LVAA is proud to partner with The Hite Art Institute Cressman Center for Visual Arts as the host venue. Many thanks to curator Fong Choo of Bellarmine University, whom selected 15 of North America’s finest ceramics artists for this exhibition. We appreciate the artists’ participation and are grateful for their passionate commitment to handmade ceramic dinnerware.

This year’s DINNER(re)WORKS includes a photography exhibition by one of Louisville’s favorite sons, Julius Friedman as well as a series of lively educational and social events.

You will not want to miss master florist and event designer, Matthew Robbins of New York City, and author of the recently published “Inspired Weddings,” for his presentation on “Edible Centerpieces” at the Louisville Water Tower on June 14 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

Mingle with the artists, see and buy incredible ceramic dinnerware from artists throughout North America and photography by local favorite, Julius Friedman at LVAA’s DINNER(re)WORKS Preview Cocktail Soiree, Thursday, May 31 6 p.m.–8 p.m. at the Cressman Center, 100 E. Main St., Louisville, Ky., 40202. It’s $80 for LVAA members and $95 for non-members.

L.K.: Where do most of LVAA’s operating funds come from?

S.W.: LVAA generates operating and capital funds from myriad sources, including the Kentucky Arts Council, Fund for the Arts, private and public foundations, individual and corporate donations, government grants and through earned income channels such as fee-based events and programming.

LVAA is the beneficiary of a small endowment, created by Mr. Morris Belknap in 1949. This past fiscal year, LVAA increased the level of financial support received through grant by 49% – which is an excellent sign that foundations and other funding organizations understand and appreciate the relevant services LVAA provides to our community.

L.K.: How does someone get involved with LVAA?

S.W.: Two ideal ways to become involved in LVAA are to become a member of the organization, which is only $40 a year and/or visit our Web site to learn about volunteer, educational and social art opportunities.

We are social media zealots and do a great job of communicating with our audience, and people can easily sign up on our Web site or FaceBook.

With an annual membership, one receives a bevy of free and discounted art-related experiences, and everyone is well aware of the art-centric events at the Water Tower.

This spring we are offering three fantastic, fun and educational events and exhibition programming – something for everyone!

Bacon Ball

Friday, April 27, 2012

6 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Louisville Water Tower

$25 for members and $35 for non-members.

With such an unexpected turnout last year, we’re applying lessons learned to what has quickly become a Louisville favorite, the Bacon Ball 2012.

There will be more restaurants in the Bacon King Competition; a 3500 sq. ft. tent for all the bacon tasting your heart desires; music and dancing on the back patio, fun art activities for all as well as the piggy bank and pig heaven silent auction.

Buy Local First Fair

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Louisville Visual Art Association, 3005 River Road.

More than 60 vendors with local food, craft beer, visual art, crafts, gifts, books, music and more – free admission!


May 31- July 7, 2012

The Louisville Visual Art Association (LVAA), in partnership with The Hite Art Institute Cressman Center for Visual Arts on East Main Street in exciting downtown Louisville, is proud to sponsor DINNER(re)WORKS 2012 – a five-week exhibition of handmade ceramic dinnerware created by 16 acclaimed artists from throughout North America.

See full schedule:

More In Store

Fun and exciting events are in full swing this spring and summer, and it’s good thing because in October, after 32 years, LVAA will be moving from its current home at the Louisville Water Tower.

We have had an incredible run at the Louisville Water Tower and nearly one third of this organization’s service to our city has emerged from the incredible home on River Road that Charlotte Price and others realized the vision for in the late 1970s.

Moreover, LVAA Board and staff welcome the location change and are excited for the opportunity to be part of the art nexus in downtown Louisville. We will be moving to 609 W. Main Street for an interim one-year period before settling on a permanent location in late 2013.