Detail from "Untitled" by Skylar Smith
Detail from “Untitled” by Skylar Smith

No matter how small a carbon footprint you try to leave, it’s inevitable you’re going to accumulate things — mismatched socks, hair ties, cats, Derby pins … the list goes on and on (especially if you express hoarding/collecting tendencies like I do).

Artist and educator Lisa Simon used the term “accumulation” to focus her latest exhibit at Jewish Community Center‘s Patio Gallery, and she shared the idea with her artist friends Skylar Smith and Michelle Word, who also are featured in the exhibit.

“We decided to just think about the word ‘accumulation,’ and we each went back to our studios and thought about what that words means to us,” says Simon. “We each have a different way to express that.”

"Mother of Millions" by Lisa Simon
“Mother of Millions” by Lisa Simon

Simon is an art educator at Jefferson Community and Technical College and has a master’s degree in painting and ceramics. She contributes sculptures to the show, naturally titled “Accumulation,” and creates them with interchangeable parts.

“Lately, I have been making art by fabricating bits and pieces with no specific endgame in mind,” she explains. “The pieces just grow organically as I let the materials and my intuition guide my arrangements.”

Skylar Smith, who has exhibited her work throughout Louisville, is an assistant professor and programming director at the Kentucky School of Art at Spalding University. Her pieces in the show are paintings that explore the use of layers to create a lasting presence.

“I am interested in the micro/macro effect of these paintings — intricate marks and varying textures shared with shifts in color, darkness and lightness,” Smith says. “Making this work was a contrast to the often frenetic, scattered rhythm of my days. Through these works, I was able to consciously mark the passage of time.”

Finally, Michelle Word, a faculty member at Michigan State University, found similarities between accumulation and nature.

“As I rummage for materials at thrift stores, I think about the botanist searching for a rare or unknown species,” Word says. “I am struck by how many of the found materials I collect — whether handmade or manufactured — are directly inspired by nature.”

“Accumulation” continues at the Patio Gallery through April 1. JCC is located at 3600 Dutchmans Lane.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle ( 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."