Photo by Tom Fougerousse
Photo by Tom Fougerousse

Entrepreneurs and hipsters aren’t the only ones who recognize the potential of an up-and-coming neighborhood. The University of Louisville announced today it will renovate an old warehouse in Portland to house its master of fine arts program studios.

The U of L Foundation will lease part of a vacant, two-story brick building at 1606 Rowan St. They’ll take over about a third of the large building, which amounts to about 27,000 square feet. The lease will be for 10 years from Rowan Downstream LLC, which includes Gill Holland among its partners.

“We are proud to be a university tied closely to its larger community, and this expansion into western Louisville’s revitalization is another example of how we all benefit from working together,” said U of L president James Ramsey in a press release.

U of L will join other arts-related businesses and organizations in Portland, including the Louisville Visual Art Association and Tim Faulkner Gallery. Renovation is expected to be completed by the spring semester of 2017.

“Adding the University of Louisville program to the neighborhood is key to enhancing the cultural vitality and economic revitalization of Portland,” said Holland. “The MFA students and faculty will enliven the redesigned space and contribute to the area’s positive growth. It shows great leadership on the part of our state’s leading institution of higher education to establish a presence west of Ninth Street.”

U of L’s MFA program in studio arts and design began in 2014 and attracts artists in a variety of mediums. Courses include ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, painting, printmaking, sculpture, design, mixed media, book arts and interior architecture. The extra space for its students will ensure class sizes stay small and offer ample studio space.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."