Art for the ArtFund, Wilting Tulips

16″x20″ oil on canvas

Art for the ArtFund, Sunflowers from Adam

8″x10″ framed oil on board
Email for purchase inquiries

I was at the Courtauld Gallery today to see “Cezanne’s Card Players” exhibition and visit one of my favorite pieces in the gallery’s permanent collection. I thought it was fitting to make the donation from the sale of this painting to the ArtFund, a registered UK charity and donor to the Courtauld. They,

“campaign,  fundraise and give money to museums and galleries to buy and show art, and promote its enjoyment through  our events and membership scheme.”

I hope to get involved with the ArtFund this year. What a perfect combination of my love for the visual arts and nonprofits!

“Louisville Counts!” benefiting Art Sparks

24″x30″ oil on canvas

While dropping  off  this portrait to my client (Gill Holland of  the Green Building)  I discovered a connection between the portrait and another project Gill has involved me in.   It turns out the children’s book I have been  asked to contribute another piece of artwork to is dedicated to the subject of this portrait, his daughter Cora.

Louisville Counts cover

The book, “Louisville Counts! A Children’s Counting & Art Book,” is a project that assembled 22 artists to create unique, child-friendly pieces of art to accompany 22 pieces of Louisville trivia. Each piece corresponds with a specific number, from 0-21, encouraging the reader to count their way through the book using everything from Muth’s Candies to baseball bats to Olmsted parks and even disco balls.

All 22 pieces  will be  on display September 4th – 25th at the Green Building Gallery and  sold in a silent auction  that runs for the duration  of the show. All proceeds from all sales of the book, as well as the gallery’s share of the sales of the corresponding artworks, go directly to Art Sparks Interactive Gallery, the children’s gallery at The Speed Art Museum.

Participating artists include: Chris Radtke, Nico Jorcino, Jacob Heustis, Cynthia Reynolds, Natasha Sud, Monica Mahoney, Gibbs Rounsavall, Bryce Hudson, Amanda Bishop, J.B. Wilson, McKinley Moore, Julius Friedman, Lloyd Kelly, Russel Hulsey, Billy Hertz, Letitia Quesenberry, Thea Lura, Sarah Lyon, Valerie Fuchs, Skylar Smith, and Stephen Irwin.

I’ll be at the opening reception on Friday, September 4th, which is a First Friday Trolley Hop (for you wine moochers out there).   I hope to see you there.

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Hannah Lamppin

11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board.
Email me at ashley.cecil at for purchasing inquiries.
A donation from sold painting will be made to the Women’s Second Chance Scholarship Fund.

Gallery caption:

Girl Scouting provides a place where today’s girls can become tomorrow’s leaders. Most girls join a local troop for fun and friendship, but they also find out about building character and self-esteem and serving their communities. In Girl Scouts, girls find a safe place to discover, connect, and take action.

Hannah has experienced the fun and games most of us associate with Girls Scouts, but the organization has also helped shape this shy young woman into budding, confident public speaker.   Her experiences with Girl Scouts have provided her with safe and supportive opportunities to tackle her Central Auditory Processing Disorder.   With encouragement and coaching from her troop leaders, Hannah’s language challenges have taken a backseat when she has given speeches across the country and even in Japan.

Hannah’s quote in the painting:

My world was certainly made a better place which has enabled me, by extension, to make the world a better place for others.   It was a very empowering feeling to think I what I said, or what I did, really mattered to these younger girls.

Quote for 4.7.09

From my inbox, in an ArtsKentucky enewsletter:

How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong.

The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers. – Isaac Asimov, The Roving Mind

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Arla O’Neil

11″ x 14″’ oil on masonite board.
Email me at ashley.cecil at for purchasing inquiries.
A donation from sold painting will be made to the Women’s Second Chance Scholarship Fund.

Gallery caption:

Because art nourishes the human spirit, the Louisville Visual Art Association enriches community life by educating people about the value and meaning of today’s visual arts and by championing artists and the creative process.

When Arla moved from Las Vegas with her mother in the 4th grade, she expected her school experience to be the same as it was in Neveda.   The transition was short of ideal, and Arla faced a rough adjustment to her new home.

Arla’s mother got her involved in the LVAA’s Children’s Free Art Classes to reconnect her with a familiar creative outlet, visual art.   Expressing her ideas on inviting sheets of empty white paper helped Arla gain control of her emotions, open up to others, and express herself creatively.

Arla’s quote in the painting:

We had just made a major move. It helped me learn to interact with others as well as to express myself. I would just forget what was going on in the crazy world or what made me angry, and create.

Art+Activism on BlogTalkRadio

This Thursday the 22nd, at 2pm EST, I’m being interviewed on BlogTalkRadio by the CEO of Path101, Charlie O’Donnell.   We’ll be talking about how I meshed my career as an artist with my work in the nonprofit sector, and how social media has aided the whole process.   I’d love love for you listen, and even better, call in with questions.

Looking forward to hearing some of your voices.

Painting their way through cancer


Thanks to a grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, I had the honor of facilitating a community art project in September with a small group of women who are members of Gilda’s Club Louisville. The primary objective was to help the women create a large painting of their own design that illustrated their experience with cancer.



One of the first steps in the process was to visit several local galleries on a First Friday Trolley Hop. I especially wanted them to see the work of Joyce Garner (who is also a cancer survivor) at Garner Furnish Studio. Although her studio was packed with guests, Joyce was gracious enough to talk to us about her work and gave the women ideas for their own painting.


Once the group had a finished sketch drawn to scale, I used tracing paper to put a grid over the sketch that corresponded to a larger grid penciled in on the canvas.



The grid helped us translate the drawing to its full size, and then we started painting. At this point, we were just a few sessions shy of a completed painting. But the project doesn’t end there.


In a member recruitment and community outreach effort to raise awareness about services offered at Gilda’s Club, the finished painting traveled to several Louisville community centers. Each exhibit opened with a public unveiling of the artwork that set the stage for the Gilda’s Club participants to share their experience with the project, services offered by the organization, and their personal cancer stories. At the end of the traveling exhibit, the painting was permanently installed at Gilda’s at 633 Baxter Avenue to continually enrich the club’s environment for every member.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to help these wonderful Gilda’s Club members used their passion, emotion, and personal experiences to inform this powerful painting that will inspire future conversations about facing cancer. This project is just one example of a myriad of services offered by Gilda’s Club Louisville to individuals coping with cancer and to the people in their support network. I highly recommend it to anyone in either situation.

Call for Louisville artists

Yes, it’s merely November 08, but I’m already gearing up for next year’s Champions 4 Her.   The annual festival will take place on June 20th, 09 and my team of artists will be expanding by a few.

Champions 4 Her is an umbrella fundraiser for multiple local nonprofits that serve women and girls. The 08 walk/run festival raised over $162,000 and we pulled off a phenomenal series of vibrant street paintings that engaged community participants from each of the nonprofits benefiting from money raised.   The artwork was a tremendous attraction to the event, which wouldn’t have been possible without the professional artists who worked with each of the groups to design and create the street paintings.

I’m looking for a few more visual artists who are interested in participating as a street painting facilitator.   It entails meeting with the group you will be assigned to at their facilities for a series of sessions to collaboratively create a final design of what will go onto the pavement at Water Front Park the day of the event.   Each group will consist of some combination of clients of the organization, volunteers, and/or staff (few of whom will have any artistic experience).   This is not an opportunity for artists to showcase their own work.   The objective is to guide your group through the art-making process and give them creative license.

There are plenty more details, such as the stipend and so on.   If you are interested, or know someone how may be, please send me an email at ashley.cecil (at)

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Whitten Montgomery

11″ x 14″’ oil on masonite board.
A donation from sold painting will be made to the Women’s Second Chance Scholarship Fund.

Gallery caption:

Kids Acting Against Cancer (KAAC) raises money to help the fight against cancer primarily through ticket sales to youth musical performances.

Whitten, and her sister Jaclyn, founded KAAC out of their dream to help kids and their families suffering from cancer. Inspired by their mother, Sandy (an 11 year cancer survivor), their mission is to literally act to help find the cure. The girls, along with countless other children of all ages, have put on musical productions to raise money for the charity. In addition to entertaining, they have distributed backpacks and gift packs to sick children locally as well as made generous donations to several cancer charities.

Whitten’s quote in the painting:

I wanted to find a way to use acting to help my mom. It started as something to keep our minds of it. For the first performance 30 people came and paid $3 to see us perform ‘Annie’ in my basement. To date we’ve raised $250,000 (she’s 18 years old).

A phenomenally successful opening

I decided that since I was going to be on my feet all night at last Friday’s ‘Women of Mass Construction‘ opening, that I wouldn’t go to the gallery until 5pm on the dot. I was about 5 minutes late and expected to be one of the first people there. It turns out I had already missed some gallery guests and was greeted by a full house. It felt like a surprise party. Between 5 and 9pm, I think there was one 10 minute span where fewer than 3 people were in my section of the gallery.

Many of the portrait subjects were there with friends, family and staff members from their respective nonprofit organization. I wish I had had more time to introduce them, but the steady flow of traffic made it pretty difficult. Nonetheless, I feel like the women really appreciated that so many people came to see the artwork about them and their stories. Thanks to those of you who came to support us!

Events like this always draw some of my favorite people, like my high school photography teacher, Mr. (Dave) Runge (who apparently biked to the gallery). I love being surprised by who I see at my art related events. It’s like Christmas with human gifts.

If you missed us on Friday, the show will be up through August at Gallery NuLu. A percentage of portrait sales will be donated to the Women’s Second Chance College Scholarship Fund. Donations to the scholarship fund will also be collected during the exhibit. Bring a friend and check it out.

‘Women of Mass Construction’

The content of this website has consisted of very work-in-progress orientated postings for the past several months. There is a very straight-forward explanation for this: I’ve been exclusively working on a series of portraits titled, “Women of Mass Construction.”

Starting in January of this year, I began interviewing 15 women and girls who are current or former clients of a Kentucky nonprofit that has helped them make a positive transformation in their lives. After collecting their stories and photos, I started on creating the 12 portraits (3 paintings include 2 people). The organizations tied to these phenomenal women include:

I left every interview believing anything was possible. My own personal woes immediately became proverbial drops in the bucket; not worth another thought. How can car maintenance and family drama compare to trying to find employment when you hardly speak English, and have spent the last 2 years of your life in a refugee camp, displaced from you home country? Or getting back on your feet after leaving a relationship, spanning the length of your adult life, with a man who nearly killed you multiple times during regular bouts of domestic violence? Talk about putting things into perspective.

What I’m really excited about is introducing the portrait subjects to each other at the exhibit opening at Gallery NuLu on Friday, August 1st, 5-9pm. Since the portraits won’t fill the gallery space, I invited local photographer Sarah Lyon to exhibit with me. In combination with Sarah’s supporters, this opening is going to be amazing!

In the spirit of honoring women in this community who are turning corners, donations from gallery guests, and a portion of my gallery sales, will be given to the Women’s Second Chance College Scholarship Fund.

I hope to see you at the opening to celebrate these 15 women’s success stories. It’s been an honor meeting each of them, and I hope you can do the same on August 1st. If you’re not in this area (or otherwise cannot make it to the gallery) and you would like to contribute to the donation made at the end of the exhibit, shoot me an email at ashley.cecil(at)

The media loves Open Doors

Last week’s press conference of the Open Doors mural unveiling at the Center for Women and Families was a phenomenal success. The Courier-Journal published a wonderful article in addition to several other newspapers, magazines and blogs.   There were more cameras at the event than Louisville has TV stations (?). The CWF’s PR director later emailed me a “Television Media Monitoring Summary for 7-1-08: 10 stories reaching 388,747 with a value of $3,519.00” (wow!   I need to know how to get that kind of information myself).   Clearly, we did something right!   It was truly an honor to give the women who participated in the art project the attention they deserve.

Upcoming public unveiling of community mural

I am incredibly excited to invite you to a public event to celebrate the completion of my first community based art project since joining the Louisville Visual Art Association as the program coordinator of “Open Doors.”

July 1, 2008 at 10:30 AM
The Center for Women and Families (CWF)
Joan E. Thomas, M.D. Campus
927 South Second Street
Louisville, Kentucky

(across from the downtown Kroger)

After over 2 months of weekly sessions with clients of the CWF, we have a beautiful mural to unveil. The artwork will be dedicated to the Center by the women involved in the project. Several local media outlets will cover the event and help us inform the community about Open Doors and CWF.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to support the project participants by showing your interest. The painting will serve as a visual message of encouragement for future CWF clients for years to come. Please join us on the 1st to celebrate their accomplishment!

First ‘Champions 4 Her’ sets a high standard

I could hardly believe my eyes as I turned 360 degrees on Saturday to witness the behemoth project I had spent so many months coordinating unfold onto the pavement in vivid color.   This street painting festival was part of the first annual Champions 4 Her walk/run festival benefiting 10 Kentucky charities serving women and girls.

The goal was to raise $100,000.   1,680 runners, 75+ community street art participants, 9 local artists, and 1 international renowned street painter later we raised more than $150,000.   Not too shabby for a first go, eh?   To see more event photos, go to my flickr account.

Not even a week has past and I’m already hearing a buzz about being tasked with breaking a street painting Guinness World Record next year (hopefully donations raised are proportional).