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Historic preservation exhibit salutes Grady Clay’s work

by Judy Hughes, communications and marketing last modified Apr 22, 2013 09:29 AM

“Preservation Conversation: Grady Clay on Louisville,” an exhibit highlighting the Louisville journalist and urban design specialist’s work, will open April 29 and run throughout May at the University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Library.

A 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. reception April 29 opens the free, public exhibit, which will be on display daily in the Chao Auditorium lobby during National Historic Preservation Month. (Library hours.) Speakers will include Marianne Zickuhr, executive director of Preservation Louisville.

Clay, who died March 17 at 96, collaborated with UofL students Savannah Darr, Jennifer Fraley and Chelsea Lockhart on materials for the exhibit, which highlights his writings and how they relate to Louisville’s preservation movement. Clay was The Courier-Journal’s former urban affairs editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine editor and author of several books about city and landscape design.

The exhibit focuses on Clay’s article “Another Landmark Bites the Dust” from the February 1956 issue of Arts in Louisville, which identified 29 buildings and eight sites that the now-defunct Louisville Council for Historic Sites and Buildings considered in peril. Students chose five of those as case studies.

The Clay exhibit includes before-and-after photos, sketches and documents such as newspaper articles and demolition records, as well as quotes from Clay and other prominent city preservationists. Students included information about how to get involved in preservation efforts.

The group project is part of a curatorial methods class, under the direction of fine arts professors Peter Morrin and John Begley. An interview that Darr, Fraley and Morrin had with Clay at his home shortly before his death will be transcribed and added to the library’s oral histories collection, according to Darr.

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