UofL expands west with new Portland art studio

UofL helps Portland continue revitalization

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville is expanding west, with a new learning space in the Portland neighborhood.

On Tuesday, university administrators and local leaders celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s about time we bring back investment to West Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

At 16th and Rowan, the new home of the Hite Art Institute will welcome community members, too. The space was years in the making.

“I hope that everyone comes and walks through the space because what you see here is ideal for a university that’s making a difference by bringing education to the community, and we hope this will be an inspiration for all the young people who live around here,” UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi said.

Thomas Jennings will lead the lab that curates and preserves archeological collections from the area.

“I am excited; this is awesome,” Jennings said. “If you had seen our old lab, you would know what an upgrade this place is. Not just for preserving our collections in a secure, safe, climate-controlled environment, but, also the research space, the teaching space, bringing our undergrads in, bringing our school groups in, spaces for exhibits, we can do it all here as a department.”

There’s also an art gallery, private work spaces and studio rooms offered to graduate art students like Tammy Burke.

“It’s easy to think about infusing money into an area, and magically the money makes things happen but it really takes people and connecting with people individually,” Burke said.

The space will host school-aged students for lectures and events.

“What I’d like to see is in 10 years’ time is that we move the needle, that more people from this part of town have college degrees,” said Kimberly Leonard, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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