Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.14 51 When we frst spoke, over the phone, Owen told me he wanted to see something like Old Louisville's Burger Boy Diner in Portland. "Tey're opening a gelato place. Do you know how many people I've had to explain what gelato is?" he said. "I disagree about Hillbilly Tea," Kunnecke says. "I think you need a blend. You need the greasy spoon for folks who are here. But you also need things that draw other kinds of people. Te healthiest communities are diverse communi- ties. When you have a neighborhood where people of all economic groups live together, you have a dynamic neigh- borhood." I ask her about gentrifcation. "Tat's a problem all over the country," she says. "Everyone misses the point that that is the natural inclination when folks come in and try to rebuild and take over old places. In a place like Portland, where people have very strong views and love their community, it's possible to be diferent." She looks at Brodarick and Owen, smiles. "Don't you all be running people of," she says. B irdy the cat curls up under my chair in the Faulkner Gallery. Tim Faulkner, gallery director Margaret Archambault and I are sitting around a small table in the middle of the vast main gallery, the heart of the 26,000-square-foot building in Portland's old warehouse district. Tirteen studios take up the front and a 1,500-per- son-capacity event space dominates the back. McQuixote Books and Cofee will soon open at the gallery's entrance. Faulkner looks at the cat, says, "She's like everybody else; she comes in here and hangs out for hours." Abstract paint- ings on velvet hang in the main gallery. Tey look celestial, galaxies hanging in the choked air. Tere's no air-condi- tioning yet. A series on Greek myths catches my attention. Prometheus, Lady Godiva, Hercules. Ten I start looking at tags instead of art: $6,000, $4,000, $12,000. "Te general resident in Portland isn't going to come in and spend $1,000 on a painting," Faulkner says. "A person with $1,000 in their pocket and a person with one dollar in their pocket can appreciate the same painting equally," explains Archambault. Te two lean back in their chairs, nose rings glinting. Faulkner runs his hand over the tattoo of birds fying up his neck. Te gallery/concert venue/event space is not a place for fne wine and cheese. It's all a part of Faulkner's mantra: I can do what I want. He can make a gallery without pre- tention, he can smoke in his own building and he can move from Butchertown to Portland. So can Archambault. Tey both live in the neighborhood. "It was daunting. We had to fnd something quickly. Tis is a far better location. And why not?" Faulkner says. "Tis is going to happen no matter what, whether Gill does it or somebody else." "Everybody said we were nuts," Archambault says. "When we opened our frst show, on Feb. 23, we were packed. More work sold than ever before. Collectors come, and they keep coming. Tere's a whole city over here that we've ignored. Since we've been here, people keep coming in to check it out." "And it's not something like, 'Oh, that's unique; let's go.' It's totally diferent. People are coming because they want to come," Faulkner says. Archambault leans forward, rests her elbows on her knees. "Te rumors and the stigma is there. You think you're going to get shot. Well, no one has bothered us. I have had more negative experiences in the Highlands. People look at the dilapidated buildings and use that as a visual cue, but in reality, there's an opportunity here to expand our city," she says. Te gallery is holding a beneft for the Portland Neigh- borhood House, a nonproft that works with Portlanders ages six weeks to 100. ("Tere are kids who won't get to eat otherwise, and they live in the shadow of the Aegon Build- ing," Neighborhood House development director Denise Spears says, mentioning the downtown skyscraper that recently changed its name to 400 West Market.) "Everyone knows that public schools across the country are losing funding for the arts. How much artistic education do you think these kids are getting?" Faulkner says. "We want to engage the community. And, so far, I haven't had anyone from Portland come up to me and say, 'Get the f--k out.' Tere are no real sit-down restaurants in Portland. With the exception of the gas stations on 27th Street, there's no place to get a cup of cofee. Louisville likes to tout itself on keeping local, but this is an opportunity. If we don't do it, some corporate entity is going to sweep in here. Is that what the neighborhood wants? Keep Louisville weird? Don't just buy the goddamn bumper sticker. Portland deserves to stand on its own two feet. Some people aren't supportive, but that's everywhere. 'I don't want you coming into my neighborhood and changing it.' Well, I'm not trying to. And I don't care. I can go where I want." I park my car on the corner of 34th Street and Rudd Avenue. It's midday. My car's thermometer reads 90 de- grees. I sweat through my shirt as I wander past Portland Elementary School toward Cedar Grove Court. Te only people outside are three young boys who ignore me. I pass backyard treehouses, a rainbow fag, charcoal grills. A suit of armor shines on a front porch. No chain-link barbed- wire fences. Te shotguns here have fresh paint. One on Northwestern Parkway looks like a hacienda. Te homes have only one thing in common: Almost all of them have no-trespassing signs. Te rest have warnings reading, "Beware of Dog." Te three boys shoot me a look and disappear over the foodwall berm. I sit down on the curb, stare at the hill. "Tat's a big no-no in Portland," a lifelong resident once told me. "You don't go over the foodwall." I think about what Brodarick and Denham and Owen and many more Portlanders told me. You'd be corrected by your neighbors as quick as your parents. Ten I think about wearing a helmet when I ride my bicycle. No way they're from Portland. I am not a neighbor. I am an outsider. Tis is going to happen no matter what, Faulkner said. Don't hold your breath, Hopewell said. I imagine people riding bicycles down the deserted, baking street. Tey wave to one another. A few stop at the corner and drink bottled water. Tey ride and wave and drink. I can't tell if they wear helmets. "'I don't want you coming into my neighborhood and changing it.' Well, I'm not trying to. And I don't care. I can go where I want," says Tim Faulkner.

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