Just as one community connection flows into the next, UofL is partnering with local museums, historic sites and the downtown library to offer its scholarly expertise to the citywide “Afloat: An Ohio River Way of Life.”
Peter Morrin and John Begley, retired UofL fine arts faculty members and community arts executives, organized the yearlong celebration of the Ohio’s impact on nature, art, history, literature, economy, culture and more, especially in Louisville and southern Indiana. They started with one exhibit because they were fascinated by underappreciated Kentucky artist, writer and environmentalist Harlan Hubbard’s watercolors but then expanded their efforts to “explore the river that fascinated him all his life,” Begley said.
“As we talked with other community groups and individuals, we found all were bound to the river in one or another way, many in multiple ways,” he added.
Several museums, galleries and academic institutions are participating, and UofL faculty and staff members have volunteered to draw from their wide-ranging specialties to lecture at various venues.
“The faculty expertise at UofL has been a real boon to Afloat and really appreciated by all the institutional hosts,” said Begley, also former director of UofL’s Hite Art Institute galleries.
“It provides an opportunity to showcase our excellent faculty and the relevance of their research to the community,” said John Gibson, director of UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society. “’Afloat’ is the brainchild of Peter Morrin and John Begley, and CCHS is delighted to partner with them on this exciting initiative.”
“So far we have placed our professors at the Frazier History Museum, Historic Locust Grove, Farmington Historic Plantation, LFPL-Main Library, Falls of the Ohio State Park, with plans to arrange more faculty talks in the months to come,” Gibson said.
Here’s the current lineup of participating College of Arts and Sciences speakers, topics and venues:
- June 13 – “Work Along the River Jordan: African American River Labor in the Ohio River Valley and the Development of Black America,” David Anderson, English associate professor, 6:30 p.m., Farmington Historic Home, 3033 Bardstown Road.
- June 29 and July 16 – “The Fish in the Ohio,” Linda Fuselier, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and biology associate professor. The June talk will begin at 3 p.m. at the Falls of the Ohio State Park, 201 W. Riverside Drive in Clarksville, Indiana, and the July one will start at noon at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, 201 E. Spring St. in New Albany, Indiana.
- Aug. 25 – “Emerson, Thoreau and the River in American Art,” John Gibson, philosophy professor and CCHS director, and Alan Golding, English professor, 2 p.m., Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St.
- Oct. 24 – “River Stories: Mother Love on Slavery’s Border,” Susan Ryan, English professor, 6:30 p.m. at the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main Library, 301 York St.
- Nov. 6 – “Traversing Indian Diplomacy on the Ohio River,” Frank Kelderman, English assistant professor, 1:15 p.m., Locust Grove, 561 Blankenbaker Lane.
Also, during the spring semester, UofL archivist and historian Tom Owen and English faculty member Sarah Strickley participated in an April 2 panel on “The Great Flood of 1937” at the Frazier History Museum.