LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Visual Art is gearing up for another year of Open Studio. It’s an event that encourages people to support and buy from local artists.

What You Need To Know

  • Louisville Visual Art is hosting the 9th annual ‘Open Studio’ event 

  • The event will open 90 artists’ studios in the Kentuckiana region to the public

  • Tomisha Lovely-Allen will display her art during the Open Studio event 

The annual opportunity allows artists from Kentucky to Indiana to open their studio to the public. LVA said nearly 90 artists have the chance to display their artwork in the ‘Open Studio’—public settings they may not usually be able to do.

The 9th annual event supports everyone from non-traditional artists who didn’t go to art school to artists across all mediums. 

Tomisha Lovely-Allen, owner of Lovely-Allen Art never imagined she’d be able to show off her art like the way she does during Open Studio.

Tomisha Lovely-Allen, owner of Lovely-Allen Art, shows her work to potential customers during Louisville Visual Art's Open Studio event at the Mellwood Art Center. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“These are some paintings that are from different subjects. This is from a couple I had seen in Puerto Rico. These two children, I believe, were also from Puerto Rico,” Lovely-Allen said as she pointed out some of her works.

The West End native painted the creations at 4 a.m. back in 2015. She likes to take a picture of her subject before she paints it.

“You’d be so tired, it might be a month before you come back to it. So this one here, I think I did this over a couple years because I had to sit it to the side for so long,” said Lovely-Allen.

For so long, she couldn’t put the paint to the paper to follow the passion that started in 2002 after finishing college. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University on a full scholarship with a Bachelor in Accounting and Associate in Business Administration in 1998 and earned a Certified Public Accountant license in 2002.

The former accountant was raising her three children with her husband while trying to listen to that passion. She eventually rented her first art studio in 2016 and then taught art in 2018 at the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center until they closed their doors in 2019.

Lovely-Allen did all of this, never having attended a day of art school.

This month on Oct. 22, Lovely-Allen, along with 90 artists in the Kentuckiana region, are opening up their studio space for people to browse, shop and support artists like her.

Tomisha Lovely-Allen, owner of Lovely-Allen Art, displays her artwork at her Mellwood Art Center studio in Louisville. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

Her favorite part? Being asked the meaning behind her work. Especially the work she created in 2020 during the height of the pandemic and the protests for racial justice. 

“What I did was, I wanted to display the past and present in the same painting because to me the protests and the civil rights... the concept is the same to me,” said Lovely-Allen.

Watching the 2020 protest unfold in her own city, she couldn’t help but to fear for her own Black children.

“You want to raise them to be good citizens and be good humans, but then… when they get out into the world, there’s a sense of control that you lose from being able to protect [Black children] from the world,” said Lovely-Allen. 

Lovely-Allen used what she saw with her own eyes to continue to fuel her passion during the height of the pandemic. It resulted in her being commissioned to do six art pieces in 2020.

Considered a “non-traditional” artist, Louisville Visual Arts executive director Kristian Anderson says Lovely-Allen is exactly the type of artist they want to support.

“They need programs like this because they haven’t had art school and so I think the weight of the impact I think is probably even greater for those non-traditional artists than it is for people that have had the chance to be paid artists their entire lives,” Anderson said.

“It’s beautiful when people admire your art and want to support it by looking at it but it also helps people be able to provide for themselves when you buy their art,” said Lovely-Allen.

Lovely-Allen says although she can’t rely on her commissions right now to make a living, she’s hopeful. Ultimately, just happy she can dedicate more time to art now that two of her children are in college. 

You can see Tomisha Lovely-Allen inside of the Mellwood Art Center in Louisville this Saturday. Other artists will be scattered across Kentuckiana across all mediums. Studios will be open from noon until 6 p.m. For details on studio art locations, you can click here