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Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center


Kelli Torpey Mellwood Arts Center

It’s hard to imagine what Louisville workers from the early 1900s might think if they could time-travel to the 21st century and see what’s become of some of the city’s factories and office buildings. They’d find former workspaces transformed by works of art and pen-and-ink drawings where once there were pigpens. Where farmers once sought seed, a budding retail operation sells everything from painted furniture to artistic switch plates.

Mellwood Arts The former Fischer meat-packing plant on Mellwood Avenue is undergoing just such a transformation, becoming the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center, with artists’ studios, gallery spaces, and even hot yoga classes. This crossroads of the creative process is a work in progress: Artists share walkway space with construction workers in hard hats who are completing projects like A Little Peace Café, which celebrated its grand opening in March 2005.

With 350,000 square feet and 42 acres to grow in, the site at 1860 Mellwood can look forward to grand opening celebrations for the next several years. Among projects already in the works are a new home for the Bunbury Theatre; the first-ever headquarters for the Louisville Artisans Guild; and eye-catching entertainment spaces, including one set in the plant’s former cooling facility.

Marketing manager Kelli Torpey explains that Mellwood Center owner John Clark studied operations like the Pendleton Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria, VA. But when completed, Louisville’s will dwarf both, becoming the largest space of its kind in the United States. The good news for local artists is that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean pricier—artists already signed on are paying an average monthly rent of $150 for 150 square feet of space, including utilities.


Program 721

Visual artist Victor Sweatt, jazz/funk band fattlabb, and the conversion of a former meatpacking plant into the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center. (#721)

Program 736

Visual artist Victor Sweatt, jazz/funk band fattlabb, and the conversion of a former meatpacking plant into the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center. (#736)





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