Count on it

Sep 01, 2009

Kids’ number book is Louisville all the way

By Diane Heilenman

There is one river, two Twin Spires ,  three leaves in a fleur-de-lis and… well, you get the idea.  It’s our River City.

It is “Louisville Counts! A Children’s Counting and Art Book.”
Open the bright yellow cover and count all the ways Louisville wins with the zinger of a little home-grown and homemade kids’ books about numbers.

Kids (and theirs readers) get a two-for one- experience.  The pages are filled with 22 easily digested bits of Louisville trivia and history lessons illustrated by 22 Louisville artists.  There are Louisville Slugger bats rocketing into space, fancy foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs from Muth’s Candy and a small flock of silly Cardinal mascots from the University of Louisville showing off their sideline body language.

Everyone involved is from Louisville, from editor Stephanie Brothers, designer Ty Kreft, cover illustrator Amanda Bishop and photographer Rachel Seed to the author and publisher.

The idea-guy and author is North Carolina expatriate Gill Holland, who moved to Louisville about four years ago after marrying a native, Augusta Brown.  Holland said reading to their toddler daughter from so many different children’s books – including counting books and alphabet books – popped the notion into his head.  Holland, who is primarily a film and record producer with interests in art galleries and green building, and is partners with his wife in Holland Brown Books LLC.

“Louisville Counts!” is dedicated “to Cora.”

The book is much more than a vanity press bit.

It will be officially launched Friday from 5 – 9 p.m. with a free reception for an exhibition of the original artwork at The Green Building Gallery.  That event and the book’s publication are fundraisers for the Laramie L. Leatherman Art Learning Center and its award-winning Art Sparks Interactive Gallery for children at Speed Art Museum.

All proceeds from “Louisville Counts!” sales, as well as the gallery’s half-share in the sale of the original art, go to Art Sparks.   The books is $20 and available at The Green Building, 732 E. Market St.  The art, on display through Sept. 25, is on sale through silent a auction that ends with a 5 – 9 closing reception Sept. 25.

The Louisville artists of “Louisville Counts!” – in the order of their contributions from 0-21 – are 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, Ashley Cecil, Sarah Lyon, Valerie Fuchs, Skylar Smith and Stephen Irwin.

Keep counting the winning ways

The sequel to “Louisville Counts!” may be out in time for Christmas, Holland said.  It is “L Is for Louisville,” a children’s alphabet and art book.  Holland said a different batch of artists is doing the ABC book.   “Louisville has a lot of great artists,” he said.

For more information, call (502) 561-1162.  Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

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