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Julie Baldyga's artwork is distinctive and compelling, and a book about her work is long overdue.
Throughout her childhood, Julie's parents took her to doctors in an attempt to learn more about why she was so different from most other children: nonverbal, antisocial, obsessed with wires and hoses and engines. Twice, doctors advised her parents to institutionalize her, saying that she could otherwise be a danger to herself and others. Fortunately, her parents did not take the doctors’ advice: Julie would grow up to be a luminous human and a brilliant, prolific artist.
The Louisville Story Program partnered with Baldyga, her sister Stephanie Baldyga-Stagg and brother-in-law Bob Stagg, Kertis Creative, the staff of StudioWorks by Zoom Group, photographer Sarah Lyon, gallerist Susan Moremen, Eye Level Films and KMAC Museum to develop In Heaven Everyone Will Shake Your Hand, a book and museum exhibition that takes an in-depth look at this distinctive self-taught artist and her work. This collection of oil pastels, ceramics, and photographs of her “heavenly people”—400 remarkable life-size human figures—will not only showcase this incredible artist but will also serve as a poignant reminder of what is possible when we refuse to write people off.
About the Author
The Louisville Story Program strengthens the bonds of community by amplifying unheard voices and untold stories. Through rigorous writing and oral history workshops, and with professional editorial support, participating LSP authors from historically underrepresented communities document the richness of lived experience in Louisville communities from the inside out, and in their own words. Their work is published in professionally designed books, exhibits, and radio programs that promote dialogue across the community and increase awareness of overlooked aspects of Louisville's culture and history. Our authors are paid for their work, and we leverage their achievements into as many additional professional, educational, cultural, and social opportunities for them as possible.