By Walter Munday
Community Outreach Manager
Art has the potential for improving our cities parks and recreational amenities. Art enhances our appreciation for the rich history and cultural identify of our treasured greenspaces. That’s why I was so excited to catch-up with a local high school student who chose one of our local parks to express her creative talents.
Lilah Pudlo, a junior at duPont Manual High School, reached out to BJ Levis, Louisville Parks and Recreation Administrator at the Berrytown Adaptive/Inclusive Recreation Center several months ago about the possibility of painting a mural in Berrytown Park. Excited by the idea, Levis asked to provide a sketch of what she intended to paint, and she’d forward to the appropriate people to get the process moving.
After receiving the go ahead from the Louisville Parks Commission and the City’s Commission on Public Art, Lilah began working on the mural during the summer. When asked why she chose Berrytown Park, she indicated that the neighborhood’s rich history lured her in as well as the fact that the park, like so many, could use a little sprucing up. Lilah indicated that the people using the park, and those passing by were so nice, and appreciative.
“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to create this mural for the community of Berrytown,” said Lilah.
“I wanted to capture the essence of the community as well as depict some of the wonderful outreach programs that take place at the community center.”
Berrytown Park is a 24-acre park just east of Anchorage in the historic Berrytown neighborhood, named for its founder Alfred Berry.
The land on which Berrytown Park resides was originally owned by Ralph and Flora Olds, and was purchased by Jefferson County Fiscal Court on June 25, 1970, for the new Berrytown Park which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in a few years.
“Lilah’s art captures the essence of the neighborhood and the importance of the park in the Berrytown community,” said Levis.
“The mural highlights family, community, picnics, and fun in the park. It also captures the new identity of the adjourning community center as an inclusive recreation space for everyone including those with disabilities and their family and friends.”
I had a chance to catch-up with Pudlo and her mother, Lisa, a few weeks ago at Berrytown Park. What I quickly learned is that she’s a very service-oriented young woman. She’s volunteered more than 100 hours at a local nursing home, spent time volunteering with her family in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, and continues to volunteer at the Louisville Visual Arts Association (LVAA). Pudlo was a participant in the 2017 Studio2000 Program, which was a partnership between Louisville Parks and Recreation and the LVAA.
Studio 2000 allowed high school students, interested in pursuing visual arts career, an opportunity to work with professional artists in clay, fiber, mixed media, and mural art. While not quite sure which specific art medium she intends to specialize (painting, sewing, mixed media, etc…), Lilah is positive of her plans to major in art when she goes to college in a few years.
Parks are a crucial part of any community. They have a significant impact on the development of our children and the happiness of everyone in the neighborhood. We appreciate the generosity of Lilah and her parents. Not only did she paint the mural, but she and her parents donated the paint (with some help from Dages Hikes Point Paint & Wallpaper).
Thanks to Lilah!