FEMMEnomenal traveling exhibit first stop is downtown Louisville

By Jenny Zeller

Artist in Residence program celebrates Kentucky women and native plants statewide

Bernheim is bringing FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals, an exhibition by Gabriella Boros celebrating the extraordinary achievements of 10 Kentucky women through the invocation of 10 native Kentucky plants, to downtown Louisville. With the support of a 2020 Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation For Women, FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals can be seen not only around the Lake Nevin Loop at Bernheim but also through a traveling companion exhibition installed at various locations throughout the state in 2021. 

As part of the organization’s Actions Beyond our Borders strategy, Bernheim recognizes that its mission of connecting people with nature extends outside the geographic boundaries of its vast forest and deliberately seeks out opportunities to bring the stories and lessons of nature to people throughout our region and far beyond.

Arts in Nature Curator Jenny Zeller stated, “We wanted to share the results of this powerful body of work with the region in the hopes of inspiring deep connections to nature while educating the viewer on extraordinary women who have shaped Kentucky’s history.”

The first stop on the exhibition tour can be seen in the windows of the Harmony Complex Building at 425 W Muhammad Ali Street in downtown Louisville. This location has great historical significance as it housed The Louisville Business Women’s Club from 1899 to 1911 and was founded at a time when women started entering the workplace, moving from rural areas to cities to find work and support themselves. The organization addressed the needs of independent working women and was a place where they could learn marketable skills, socialize with their peers and expand their worldview while giving back to the community.

“While we are working to restore this historic building where Kentucky women engaged in the daring act of business education, this exhibit perfectly conjures that spirit,” said Christina Lee Brown, owner of the Harmony Complex. “This dose of cultural history in the heart of our city will give both women and men their recommended daily value of cultural health as we carefully get back into the swing of downtown life.”

Bernheim Executive Director Mark K. Wourms said FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals celebrates the collective value women have had on our history. “Much like the native plants in Kentucky, despite all the challenges, women stand strong, tall and beautiful,” Wourms said. “The traveling component of this exhibition will enable Bernheim to extend its reach and mission throughout Kentucky, while providing new and shared experiences of art in nature to those in our surrounding community and beyond our borders.”

Learn more about this project at Bernheim.org/femmenomenal.

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