Steve Heine | Courtesy

In early January, local artist Steve Heine decided to submit a proposal for some of his art to be placed in the new AC Hotel in NuLu, which recently opened quietly among the Derby madness.

The submission process was conducted by Louisville Visual Art (LVA) and architect Steve Kersey.

His art was selected for permanent installation in the Marriott-owned hotel, so Heine got to work creating four of his “Cloud Panels,” which incorporate laser-cut steel and an integral LED panel.

With the series, Heine says he’s interested in the wash of colored light across a steel surface.

“I try to create work that’s thoughtful, resolved and balanced,” Heine tells Insider. “I think the panels are relatively quiet, in a sense — a response to the noise of the world. I’m also drawn to irony within this work: the use of flat, rigid steel panels to create a series of pieces inspired by clouds.”

For more than 20 years, the Clifton Heights resident has operated his Cranium Glass Studio, and his work has been featured in Decca, Jewish Hospital Medical Center South, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, Sacred Heart’s Ursuline Arts Center, and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, among others.

Heine’s “Cloud Panels” inside the AC Hotel | Courtesy

He also stays busy creating many residential installations.

“Although I design these pieces with certain colors in mind — often blues or violet — my clients can select virtually any color by way of a hand-held remote control and change the color of my work in their home at any time they choose,” explains Heine.

At the moment, he’s working on just such a residential project, but he hopes his artwork in the AC Hotel will inspire, mellow and inspirit those who pass through the lobby.

We caught up with Heine to ask him some very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

To take a graduate-level course in large-scale physics and cosmology.

Mad about MAD

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

Although I loved MAD magazine, I was otherwise culturally illiterate in junior high. I can’t remember having a single poster on my bedroom wall.

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

Natalie and John Harris, my good friends. Natalie — smart, kind, relentless — runs the Coalition for the Homeless. John’s a superb musician and a thoroughly decent human being.

Together, they throw the annual Give-A-Jam, serving up soup and local music to raise money for the Coalition’s important work.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

I’m a simple man: prosciutto, Kalamata olives, blackened portobello mushrooms, sautéed onion, fresh basil and goat cheese. I prefer my pizza the next day and cold.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

One week during the summer I turned 14 — but only if I knew then what I know now.

Steve (left) with his twin brother, Tim, posing with a Vienna Choir Boy. | Courtesy

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

No one famous, although I’m often told I closely resemble my twin brother, Tim.

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

The jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding — with her bass, of course. I’d request her gorgeous version of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed.”

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog ( daily. 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."


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