About Latitude Artist Community

Latitude Artist Community serves all people - with an emphasis on those thought by some to have a disability - by creating meaningful, inclusive community interactions which allow participating artists to contribute culturally and politically to the life of their community.

Friday, August 23, 2013

This blog represents an archive of the work and contributions of those associated with Latitude Artist Community during its first thirteen years. Latitude was founded by Bruce Burris and Crystal Bader who owned it through October of 2012.

We will update on activities related specifically to this period, including a planned exhibit and book documenting the cultural legacy of Latitude Artist Community which will be sponsored by UK HealthCare, and Institute 193. This will occur in Spring 2013.

Currently much of our effort is devoted to a new concept... Height1000. Height1000 is an organization devoted to highlighting and supporting innovative creative efforts/supports within the realm of art and disability culture.

Please feel free to contact Bruce Burris or Crystal Bader at:
Height1000 on facebook
Height1000 blog

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tipping Point: Twelve Years of Latitude Artist Community in Lexington @ University of Kentucky (UK HealthCare)

Tipping Point: Twelve Years of Latitude Artist Community in Lexington
At University of Kentucky (UK HealthCare)
Curated by Phillip Jones
The Latitude Artist Community’s unwavering dedication to this community and the people it serves is best expressed in the words of Bruce Burris, one of the organization’s founders, “The lives for many of us with disabilities are unreasonably difficult, and there are few occasions to function as a fully realized human – with a creative life, a sexual life, a life of possibility,” he says. “The arts help in this capacity, allowing us to – at the very least – share intimate potential without negative consequences and with the possibility that sharing can lead to change.”

The Latitude Artist Community is a radically unique organization with the fundamental belief that the defining mark of a human being, that phenomenon which provides both purpose and pleasure, is our inherent human need to contribute to our community in a meaningful fashion. They believe that all people have this aspiration and thus create vigorous and innovative supports from which those of us who have traditionally been denied this civic opportunity and responsibility are enabled to contribute to the community through their own inspired efforts. As a community versus medical program, Latitude emphasizes two essential platforms: a facilitated studio space and social advocacy projects. Each of these activities creates and supports vigorous and innovative community outcomes.

The Latitude Artist Community is now at a tipping point. For the past twelve years, under the guidance of Bruce Burris and Crystal Bader, Latitude has provided opportunities and supports that encourage people to create, explore and develop their interests and abilities as art makers. Inherent to their mission is the insistence that Latitude Artist Community serves all people. The program does, however, place emphasis on those thought by some to have a disability and aims to create meaningful, inclusive community interactions which allow its participating artists to contribute culturally and politically to the life of their community. In October of 2012, the organization announced the sale of the business to a third party, as both Crystal and Bruce enter new phases of their lives and careers. This exhibition is not intended to memorialize the work previously done but rather to glance back toward some of the artists, programs, and initiatives that have defined Latitude over the past twelve years, acknowledging the program’s accomplishments and looking forward to whatever the future may hold.

Over the past twelve years, the Latitude Artist Community has occupied several buildings but they have all been non-descript and rectangular, surrounded or adjacent to a parking lot. The buildings’ interiors are sparse and furnished only with paint-splattered folding tables and chairs. The immediate community fluctuates but generally hovers around 30 members and a staff of three or four people. It is open from 9-4 PM, Monday through Friday.

 The Latitude Artist Community is known primarily as a studio arts program and its artists have been internationally recognized with exhibitions in New York, Paris, London, Russia, and beyond. Many have also been featured in national print and text media where they are presented as cultural contributors. This exhibition features artworks by eight artists, past and present, from the Latitude Artist Community: Ralph Reynolds, Kenny Taylor, Paul McGurl, Beverly Baker, Norma Barnes, Tony Dunn, Albert Moser, and Mary Fields.

 While this exhibition focuses on the visual work of six artists, it also acknowledges Latitude’s programming beyond the studio which is designed to engage the daily lives of its participants. Latitude’s immediate community is continuously built and maintains an open-door policy, and its members are encouraged to thrive in the distracted society that generally overlooks or mistreats them. Under the leadership of Bruce Burris and Crystal Bader, Latitude has grown into a full-time studio arts program and full-time advocacy group. The unintended consequence of Latitude’s commitment to its members, and our larger community, is that the rest of us are made aware of our own limitations, but more importantly of our own strengths.

Latitude has consistently found creative ways to address injustice and hardship, responding with rallies, sculptural installations, workshops, and even gardens. They have taken their programs into the streets of Lexington presenting works and projects in government buildings, public libraries, and on busy street corners. The members of Latitude’s community are considered to have a disability by society-at-large, but that does not prevent them from being engaged citizens or inspiring artists. Indeed, they are expected to be both.

Tipping Point: Twelve Years of Latitude Artist Community (Bulletin Board)

Tipping Point: Twelve Years of Latitude Artist Community in Lexington
At University of Kentucky (UK HealthCare)
Curated by Phillip Jones

Bulletin Board
This bulletin board highlights some of Latitude’s programs and accomplishments in a format generally reserved for universities, dorm hallways, churches, and community centers. Over the past few years Bruce Burris, co-founder of Latitude, has maintained several bulletin boards at Latitude filled with press clippings, awards, artworks, and other documents that reflect the various accomplishments or general organizational on-goings. Please take a moment to look (but not touch) the various documents on the board and learn more about Latitude’s rich history of programming and accomplishment.

Some things to look for:
One of Latitude’s most significant advocacy accomplishments was the creation of Project Easy Access Lexington, an advocacy organization which focuses its efforts on accessibility education forums, rallies and related events including the annual “Citizen Advocate of the Year Award”. Most significantly (PEAL) initiated the formation of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government’s Mayor’s Commission for Citizens with Disabilities.

PEAL was created by former Latitude artist Belinda Sellers to bring attention to the inconsistencies and general disregard for the lack of access to the public infrastructure of downtown Lexington. In this capacity PEAL has organized public rallies, sponsored awareness events, given awards and recognition, taken nearly 1000 people on our “In Accessibility” Tours and most importantly created The Mayor’s Commission for Citizen’s with Disabilities.

Latitude Artist Community has also organized various programs, exhibitions and events with numerous local partners like Third St. Stuff Coffee, Institute 193, the University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, ELandF Projects and a long list of individual artists, musicians and writers. Latitude has received numerous awards and accolades but most significantly, perhaps, was its receipt of the 2012 Kentucky Arts Council Governor's Awards in the Arts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rae Goodwin Performance Workshop at Latitude

into the woods, in the city: my hometown, yours
a participatory workshop with Rae Goodwin
Mon. Dec. 3rd 10:30am- 12:00pm (free, open to all ages at Latitude Artist Community
I walk to remember
I walk to forget
Walking is a bridge between thoughts and surroundings
I walk to know myself, my place, my friends
into the woods, in the city: my hometown, yours...
is an exploratative journey in performance art,
revealing the musings of the inner mind through transference of place
at Latitude Artist Community 
948 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY
more info: Bruce Burris (859) 806-0195, latitudearts@yahoo.com

Performance Video on YouTube here:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

TRUST(ing) at Latitude October 26th

an extension…  based on Meaghan Carpenter’s performance series Trust with Meaghan Carpenter and Latitude Artist Community
@Latitude Artist Community
948 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY
Friday October 26 1:20pm- 1:40pm, Free
More information: Bruce Burris (859) 806-0195, latitudearts@yahoo.com

Meaghan Carpenter of Maryland is represented in LAL’s nod to performance art “Approach”. Curated by Rae Goodwin director of Art Foundations at the University of Kentucky, Approach opens Oct. 26. This review includes video, photographs, installations, Meaghan Carpenter: http://www.meaghancarpenter.com/
more about Trust(ing): Latitude has long been involved in creating performance and installation works. Often these works allow some insight on practices relative to those of us who live their lives in institutional environments, and thus we encourage further dialog and consideration of issues which are commonly overlooked or most often, simply ignored.

In this adaptation of Meaghan Carpenter’s “Trust” we take a look at the risk taken by those living in an institutional setting as they routinely trust their self care to others.  What does it mean to transport an enclave of people considered disabled to a salon for a “beauty treatment”?  Can we not take care of ourselves in this way at home? What does it mean when a local faith organization provides grooming and dress accessories to adults as they enter a sponsored dance? Are these positive enhancements or do they demean us as individuals? Are we validating poor institutional practices by encouraging these group fixes? In Trust(ing) Latitude artists turn the tables on these practices, giving to, as opposed to receiving a manicure from Ms Carpenter.

an ELandF project
sponsored by Latitude Artist Community

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Latitude's poster for
Grateful for the Bluegrass
A benefit show celebrating community and our many avenues for artistic expression
December 1st @8pm at LOT
with Caves, Bear Medicine, Xelas and Cross
Sacred Geometry Workshop with Garrett Spear 7pm
Art for sale - with proceeds going to Latitude Artist Community and will be used to hire performance artists to collaborate with Latitude artists

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ALL THE NEWS... Latitude's newspaper project

ALL THE NEWS…. Latitude’s look at the role of the newspaper in today’s culture                                  Do you read newspapers?
Most of us do.  Whether it’s the local paper delivered to our door; the alterative paper at the coffee house; the Xeroxed school newspaper; or an online news source, newspapers still provide the substance of what most of us consider news.  

Some years ago the San Francisco Chronicle performed an experiment to prove the value of printed news vs. the typical tv newscast: it ran an image of a front cover upon which only a portion of words in the copy were highlighted.  Those highlighted words, equal to the entirety of all the words spoken during a local nightly newscast, accounted for only 1/3 of all the words on the newspaper’s front page.

Today for many reasons there are fewer newspapers than there once were. Why is this so, and what does it mean? Do you think newspapers are still relevant? Do you think there is still a future for newspapers as we know them? Often newspapers themselves are controversial--some people love a particular paper, while others dislike it…lots! How do you feel about your newspaper?
In ALL THE NEWS, a project that will run from now through December, Latitude Artist Community will examine newspapers--from large metro daily newspapers to weekly alternatives to Xeroxed school   newspapers and Latitude artists will create an enormous mural-sized newspaper and contribute to “Manchester Street Stories,” a book Latitude is creating on its Manchester Street neighborhood.  

The local community will be invited to participate in a number of public lunchtime discussions featuring local journalists, newspaper photographers, and cartoonists, who will address issues, related to the role of newspapers in today’s culture, and facilitate workshops devoted to learning about the fundamentals of their craft.
With this project Latitude Artist Community will address the essential function and purpose of the printed newspaper: communicating and sharing the ideas, opinions and current pre occupations of our community; in other words, ALL THE NEWS.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kentucky Arts Council (Latitude Bio, Governor's Awards in the Arts)

Latitude video
Latitude Artist Community
Latitude Artist Community in Lexington, Ky., creates some of the most innovative, elegant and daring social and creative supports of any program of its kind in the country. Founded in 2001 by Lexington residents Bruce Burris and Crystal Bader-Webster, Latitude serves all people, with an emphasis on artists considered to have disabilities by laying the groundwork for inclusive community interactions which allow participating artists to contribute culturally politically, and significantly to the life of their city.
From its conception to its continued dedication to groundbreaking work, every part of Latitude was and is conceived with a purpose to serve the community. Even the agency’s location – it was designed to operate in downtown Lexington – allows it to be easily accessible and a vital part of day-to-day cultural/social opportunities.
One of Latitude’s most significant advocacy accomplishments was the creation 7 years ago of Project Easy Access Lexington, an advocacy organization which focuses its efforts on accessibility education forums, rallies and related events including the annual “Citizen Advocate of the Year Award”. Most significantly (PEAL) initiated the formation of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government’s Mayor’s Commission for Citizens with Disabilities.
While Latitude supports artists and our community through a variety of ventures, it remains best known for supporting and promoting the work of its participating artists who have exhibited art work in well over 100 exhibitions in the past 12 years- from Lexington and New York to London and Berlin and most recently this past summer, in Russia.
Latitude has collaborated with thousands of individuals and numerous organizations during its 12-year history. Participating Latitude artists are regarded and recognized as contributing citizen’s first and foremost – without emphasis being placed on the artist as a person with a disability. The support Latitude provides to its artists has created a progressive and innovative mission – one which values education and the necessity of intellectual risk-taking. 
As an agency, Latitude strives to create new and unique initiatives to strengthen Lexington’s arts community. Its new program, I.D.eaWorks, provides financial backing to local artists, particularly those who are involved with avant-garde, challenging, or non-traditional media and ideas, in the development and commission of a new piece of work. Uniquely, Latitude places much emphasis on performance art and ritual(s) which challenge both creator and audience alike.
In spring 2012, Latitude introduced and sponsored an important conference, “Undressing Normal, An Un Conference on Sexuality for those of us DisLabled,” which addressed issues related to sexuality and gender within the disabled community. The event was the first of its kind Kentucky, and exemplifies the reason that Latitude exists.
Latitude Artist Community’s unwavering dedication to its community and the people it serves are best expressed by words from Burris, one of the organization’s founders.
“The lives for many of us with disabilities are unreasonably difficult, and there are few occasions to function as a fully realized human – with a creative life, a sexual life, a life of possibility,” he says. “The arts help in this capacity, allowing us to – at the very least – share intimate potential without negative consequences and with the possibility that sharing can lead to change.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Latitude artist Beverly Baker's current exhibit at Galerie Christian Berst in Paris, France

(left) Beverly Baker with drawings at Latitude this March. (right) partial view of Beverly Baker’s current exhibit with same drawings at Galerie Christian Berst in Paris, France. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Bring You Nothing... Latitude's installation for PRHBTN

"I Bring You Nothing” a performance/ritual/reflection on the significance/perception of nothing…
Recently artists at Latitude have been designing work which addresses the concept of nothing....
a collaborative predilection corresponding to this piece
I'll give starving brutes bread
and get you hard as steel mines
you must rest once more around the snapping bells...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Voters Rights Workshop at Latitude September 24th

Latitude's Project Easy Access Lexington (PEAL)
presents a Voters Rights Workshop
Monday September 24, 10am - 12pm (free and open to all)
with Beth Metzger, Disability Rights Specialist, Kentucky P and A
at Latitude Artist Community
948 Manchester St, Lexington
info: Bruce Burris (859) 806-0195, latitudearts@yahoo.com
about the workshop:
Voting is a fundamental part of citizenship. This session explores voting rights through history, how laws impacted individuals with disabilities, and an interactive portion which tests participants’ knowledge in real-life scenarios.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Fusion movement workshops at Latitude with Teresa Tomb of Mecca

Latitude's Fall Fusion Workshops explore the Rhythms and Movements of other worlds
at Latitude with Teresa Tomb of Mecca Live Studio
These free workshops/classes are based upon the types of classes you will find at Mecca Live Studio. Teresa Tomb of Mecca will be facilitating all workshops and will be on hand afterwards to talk to you about the what Mecca offers.
All Classes are free/all ages and are open to the public
Wed   Sept 12, 10:30am- 11:15am - Hawaiian and Polynesian Rhythms and Movements
Mon   Sept 17, 10:30am- 11:15am Middle Eastern Rhythms and Movements
Thurs Sept 20, 10:30am- 11:15am  Turkish Rom Rhythm and Movements
For more information:
Bruce Burris
Latitude Artist Community
948 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY
(859) 806-0195, latitudearts@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Latitude's new banner!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Latitude receives Governor's Award (KAC) Community Arts Award... and more!

Welcome to Latitude's email update.......

Latitude is honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council/ Governor's Awards in the Arts...
— rcopley@herald-leader.com
Lexington's Latitude Artist Community, University of Kentucky HealthCare and Lawrenceburg author Bobbie Ann Mason are among the 2012 recipients of the Governor's Awards in the Arts, the state's highest honor in the arts.

Nine honorees were announced late Wednesday, including Prestonsburg philanthropist and arts advocate William Francis, who won the Governor's Awards' top honor, the Milner Award. Francis has served on numerous boards including the Jenny Wiley Theatre and the Kentucky Arts Council, and he has participated in national arts advocacy.

Mason won the national award, which honors a Kentucky artist who has worked on a national or international level. Her five-decade career has included the novel In Country, which became a 1986 movie starring Bruce Willis, and honors such as the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Kentucky Book Awards in 2004 and 2012, and being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Lexington Herald-Leader photo
Latitude won the community arts award for organizations that make a positive impact through the arts. The 11-year-old organization primarily serves people with disabilities, encouraging them to express themselves through the arts.....

"Community Arts Award – Latitude Artist Community, Lexington: This award honors a Kentucky individual or organization that has made a positive impact on the community through the arts. Latitude Artist Community serves all people with an emp...hasis on people with a disability. Since 2001, Latitude has designed innovative supports which encourage artists with a disability to succeed and contribute to their community. By design, Latitude develops some of the most innovative, elegant and daring social and creative supports of any program of its type in the country."
.....Latitude artist Tony Dunn will exhibit his work at Institute 193 in Lexington. Opening reception is Thursday August 2nd, 6-9pm. The exhibit will also a feature a few watercolors by Latitude artist Mary Fields.
When visiting Third Street Coffee, check out the work of Latitude artist Paul McGurl!
Check out Pauls line of t shirts at Institute 193
some recent Latitude events of note....
Latitude's Citizen Advocate  of the Year Award to... Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop with thanks to LFUCG Councilperson Tom Blues to presenting the award.

At the same time we enjoyed our annual from PUSH America a group of bicyclists who bike coast to coast each summer bringing awareness to disability issues. Click here for a short video of their visit from WTVG.
4400 APOLOGIES.....
is a recognition/performance by Latitude of those who passed away while at Eastern State Hospital

For an article about 4400 APOLOGIES by the Lexington Herald-Leader click here
For a series of great photos of 4400 APOLOGIES from the Herald-Leader click here
In June Latitude collaborated with sound artist Robert Beatty... the outcome was the performance ASTRAL DUETS

For a great video of the collaboration/performance click here 
Latitude is a very busy place- the best way to stay up to date on all our activities is to friend us on facebook!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Latitude's Summer 2012 Newsletter

Latitude Artist Community’s Summer 2012 Newsletter...
We hope that you find the achievements of Latitude artists as exciting as we do. This has been exceptional summer for our program and we want to take a moment to let you know just what we have been up to!   
Tony Dunn, untitled 2011
A new book on artist Tony Dunn: Latitude has published a new book on Tony Dunn, called “unfounded inventions” the book provides a glimpse of Tony at work at Latitude and of course introduces you to his work. Look for an exhibit of Tony’s work at Institute 193 this August. For a look at the book visit this link…
Tony Dunn
Latitude’s Stage 948: Latitude has begun a summer theater program called Stage 948. We hope to be offering summer theater camp experiences for children and young adults with special needs in the years to come. The camp(s) are directed by Teresa Tomb, Director of Mecca, a place for multicultural forms of dance, performance and local art and expression. The first camp session is directed at at-risk youth and we will be collaborating with MASH an agency providing a number of services for youth, and the second is directed towards youth with Autism. Collaborating agencies include Steps Ahead and CAKY Lexington. Final performances are open to the public and we will be posting further information about this on our facebook page.
Teresa Tomb, Director Stage 948
Latitude’s Citizen Advocate of the Year Award: Tuesday July 24th marks both our annual visit by a coast to coast bicycle team (Push America) and the presentation of our “Citizen Advocate of the Year Award to Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop. At 1:00pm, LFUCG Council person Tom Blues will present the award. The event is open to the public.
Advocate of the Year Award/Push America 2011
Two recent Latitude projects...                                                                                                                                                                     Read about Latitude’s 4400 APOLOGIES in The Lexington Herald - Leader here and view photo series in the Herald-Leader here                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Read an interview, part of Latitude's Manchester Street Stories in Ace Weekly here                                                                                                                                                                                                         Next time you are at Third Street Coffee look for the artwork of Latitude artist Paul McGurl!
Paul McGurl and Pat Gerhard
Thanks for supporting Latitude! Latitude’s owners can be reached at (859) 806-0196, latitudearts@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Latitude's new book on artist Tony Dunn

Latitude's community garden "Green the District" workshops

As many of you know Latitude has a brand new space on Manchester Street, Lexington's Distillery District. For the first time we an opportunity to have a garden. Earlier in the year we came across a funding opportunity via IHDI at the University of Kentucky. Around this we created two community gardening workshops to help "Green the District". The workshops were open to the public. Thanks to Ryan Koch of SeedLeaf for organizing both workshops. The first workshop in April was called gardening basics and featured a segment on creating a worm habitat. See our exciting video on that- here!
The second workshop in June was all about what to do with your vegetables once grown. We also created designs which SeedLeaf will use on cards - as fundraising material for thier wonderful oragnization. Many thanks to SeedLeaf and all those (in addition to Latitude artists) who attended and contributed to our workshops.
Pictures from our June worshop
photos from our April workshop

4400 APOLOGIES (event pictures and links)

4400 APOLOGIES.....

link to article in the Lexington Herald-Leader
link to photo set of 4400 APOLOGIES by the Lexington Herald-Leader                                                brief video

Friday, June 15, 2012


What: A public apology and recognition of those who have passed away while at Eastern State Hospital
Friday June 22
11:00am- 12:30pm, ESH Cemetery
1:00- 2:30pm, Courtyard, Lexington Public Library, Main Branch
More information: Latitudearts@yahoo.com
4400 APOLOGIES… Tucked behind the Hope Center on the grounds of the Eastern State Hospital there lies a small cemetery, perhaps the size of largish middle-class back yard. Within lie the remains of 4400 who passed away as residents of the hospital. Many of the remains have been moved at least three times and portions are mixed together; thus it is often referred to as mass grave.

We wanted to do something in memory of those 4400. Artists at Latitude know lots about the difficulties associated with living life as one with disabilities. We wanted to do something near the 4th of July, a time when we pay our respects to all those who have contributed to our nation. 

4400 APOLOGIES is exactly that- 4,400 Apologies.  Over the past few weeks Latitude artists have been working to create 4,400 small cards- each bearing an artist’s thumbprint. The small cards will be strung to resemble something like a rosary.

Latitude has commissioned Erin Fitzgerald to perform a ritual in which to remember and acknowledge. Erin will use the strung cards as counters, each representing a human life - making 4400 apologies for the ways in which bodies were disregarded after death. Erin will perform this ritual/meditation at both the Eastern State Hospital Cemetery and at the Downtown Library courtyard.