Community Connections Artist-in-Residence

The Community Connections Residency Program is part of our institution’s desire to reach out, amplify, and empower the people by collectively creating a platform for individuals (not limited to visual artists) to share their stories and express perspectives on social and personal topics. Our intention is to co-create a self-sustaining community art program that can be critical, uplifting, progressive, and transformative for the Russell Neighborhood.

Ashlee’s exhibition: Can I Grow? The Metamorphosis of the Black Woman will open at the Speed Art Museum on June 24, 2022. Click here to learn more about it.

The Speed Art Museum is excited to announced that Ashlee Phillips has accepted the position as the Museum’s Community Connections Artist-in-Residence. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, the community-based residency is designed to work in collaboration with the residents of the Russell neighborhood and the West End of Louisville. This year, the residence focuses specifically on Black women and their mental health.

“I am grateful and excited to work with the Speed in creating health and cultural equity in the West End through the arts,” said Phillips. “It’s imperative for the continued development of this community to have access to tools, such as poetry, photography and film that will allow them to discuss their mental health while also discovering their inner artist. Black people create art everyday simply by living, it’s time for that art to be uplifted and celebrated.”

A cultural curator meets social art activist, Phillips was born and raised in Louisville’s Smoke-town. In 2021 she curated “The Divine Feminine: Sacral Chakra in Spring,” a Kentucky Foundation for Women grant project centered around fashion, poetry and storytelling while defining feminism for women of color. Also in 2021, she was a fellowship participant with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, where she created the photo series “Creatives You Meet Along the way: A West End Love Story in the making…” highlighting Black artists curating change within the community via their art disciplines.

Phillips is a recent graduate of the Bellarmine Rubel School of Business: Women of Color Entrepreneur and Leadership Cohort. With the cohort, she started a nonprofit, “My Crew Let’s Go!” with a mission is to create a safe space in the West End of Louisville that allows for youth and adolescents to reach their full potential through art therapy and holistic programming.

“The Community Connections Residency Program is part of the Speed’s desire to reach out, amplify, and empower the people by collectively creating a platform for artists of all kinds to share their stories and express perspectives on social and personal topics,” said Toya Northington, the Speed’s Community Engagement Strategist. “We saw such amazing success with the work of our first Artist in Residence, Shauntrice Martin, and we are so excited to welcome Ashlee and her artistic vision and love of community to the Speed.”

Now in its fifth year, The Speed’s Community Connections program aims at giving platform to marginalized voices through art-making. With innovative arts and cultural experiences, Community Connections brings contemporary art from diverse experiences into the Speed Art Museum through community collaborations.


Shauntrice Martin