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    21 Questions

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    Smith, 42, is an associate professor at the Kentucky College of Art + Design. Through Jan. 19, Smith is one of 18 Kentucky women (and one of five Louisvillians) participating in the exhibition “Feminist Expressions” at Kaviar Forge & Gallery (147 Stevenson Ave.).

    When/where are you most creative?

    “While traveling.”


    First thing on your bucket list?

    “Travel to Japan.”


    Describe the space you’re in right now.

    “My kitchen, which doubles as my office. It’s a bright space with colorful tiles and lots of my two daughters’ artwork.”


    Earliest childhood memory?

    “Playing in the woods and creek behind my childhood home near Locust Grove. I think this inspired my love of nature.”


    If you could be mayor of Louisville for a day, what would you do?

    “Host a citywide potluck feast, spread out on an enormous table spanning the Great Lawn. Art performances, live music and conversation would follow the meal.”


    Your most noticeable quirk?

    “I don’t like sitting in chairs, or for a long time. I need to get up and get my blood flowing. It’s much better for the body to squat or sit cross-legged.”


    Favorite album?

    Getz/Gilberto, by American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto, featuring pianist Antônio Carlos Jobim.”


    Who’s doing big things in Louisville under the radar?

    “I have two: Idlewild Butterfly Farm and Insectarium in Shelby Park operates as a butterfly farm, insect-rearing lab, educational center and retail store. After my third visit, I left with two pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches, eight native praying mantis nymphs and a milkweed plant that allowed me to raise and release Monarch butterflies this past summer. Also, Young Authors Greenhouse in Portland, which inspires children’s imagination through creative writing.”


    Favorite thing hanging on the walls at home?

    “An abstract painting by an old friend.”


    What’s on your nightstand?

    “Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Gurmukh’s The 8 Human Talents, bell hooks’ Teaching Community, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, a biography on 19th-century women’s-rights activist Lucretia Mott and a bunch of New Yorkers.”


    What three people (living or dead) would be on the guest list to your ideal dinner party?

    “Lucretia Mott, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and feminist Gloria Steinem.”


    What are you wearing right now?

    “Yoga pants and a fleece jacket.”


    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?

    “The pommes frites at Caffe Classico. Best fries in town.”


    Favorite movie scene?

    “Pretty much every scene from the 1988 film Alice, written and directed by Jan Švankmajer. It’s a live-action and stop-motion-animation film loosely based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Visually stunning and technically mind-blowing!”


    Best book you’ve read over the past year?

    The Power, by Naomi Alderman. Its central premise is that women develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers, thus becoming the dominant gender.”


    Last online purchase?

    “Aprons and chef hats for my daughter’s cooking birthday party.”


    What triggers your “aha!” moment?

    “Sometimes taking showers gives me good ideas. Maybe because there aren’t any distractions.”


    Fill in the blank: “­_________ Louisville” should be the next banner on the side of a building.



    Something unexpected you love in Louisville?

    “I grew up here and couldn’t wait to get out. When I moved back as an adult, I grew to love Louisville, and this has been an unexpected surprise.”


    What do you collect?

    “Art books about artists/art movements/art exhibitions/art collectives. They are usually heavy and a pain to move around, but they can never be replaced by digital versions. Recent purchase: Hilma af Klint, Paintings for the Future.”


    What makes somebody a Louisvillian?

    “I would say that they pronounce the city Lou-a-vull, but even I don’t do that!”



    What word do you overuse?
    Interesting. It’s so ambiguous.”

    Least favorite word?

    What song has been in your head lately?
    “‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine,’ by Roy Ayers.”

    Your drink?

    Can’t-miss TV show?
    Transparent and I Love Dick.”

    Where do you go to be alone?
    “A walk in Cherokee Park.”

    What should every person try once? 

    Secret talent?
    “I can do a headstand.”

    This originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine as the 21 Questions. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Illustration by Shae Goodlett

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