Kurt Gohde teaches Studio Art at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and makes art to invite conversations about contemporary social issues, from marginalized sexualities to the experience of homelessness. Recently, he has become newly invigorated by plans to reseed the clouds over Kentucky with meat, in loving memory of the Kentucky meat rain of 1876.
Kremena Todorova teaches American Literature at Transylvania University. Born and raised in Communist Bulgaria, she continues to draw inspiration for her art and teaching from Timur and his commitment to community. She became an official American on December 10, 2010.
Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova’s collaborative works are conceived to examine socio-political issues and questions of identity and place. They have traveled to Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Portland to photograph the people who live near the couches and easy chairs found on these cities’ curbs. The resulting collection of images is part of DISCARDED: USA. With the Lexington Tattoo Project—a public artwork that placed the words of a poem, as permanent tattoos, on the bodies of 253 Lexingtonians—Kurt and Kremena started a global movement, uniting people one tattoo at a time. Love Letter To the World and the Englewood Project are the latest in their series of tattoo projects.
Kurt and Kremena’s recent artwork Unlearn Fear + Hate was inspired by a need to address growing American tensions around racism and nationality, and sought to promote public dialog through interactive engagement. The words “unlearn fear and hate” were adopted from “Love Letta to de Worl’,” a poem by Frank X Walker, Kentucky’s first African American Poet Laureate. The artists used the phrase in local, national, and international contexts through a variety of participatory sculptural installations, photographs, stenciling, and sewing activities. In March 2021, Kurt and Kremena completed their year-long artwork Lexington in the Time of COVID-19, which documented the pandemic lives of their fellow Lexingtonians through photographs and stories.
Kurt and Kremena have presented their work in Lexington, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Boulder, Bourgas (Bulgaria), and Cape Town (South Africa), among others. They recently received the inaugural Georgia Davis Powers Award, established by the Kentucky Council for Social Studies in order to recognize educators who work to create inclusive communities and to empower young people to be civically engaged.
Full Professor of Art
Associate Professor of English
M.F.A., Sculpture, Syracuse University
B.F.A., Sculpture, Alfred University
Ph.D., English, University of Notre Dame
B.A., English, Hope College
RECENT MAJOR AWARDS
2018 Recipients of the first Georgia Davis Powers Award, established by the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies
2017 ArtPrize Pitch Night (Louisville) Grant
2014 The Lexington Tattoo Project recognized by Americans for the Arts as one of 37 public artworks included in the Public Art Network (PAN) Year In Review 2014
MAJOR SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS
- National Endowment for the Arts
- Knight Foundation
- Blue Grass Community Foundation, Lexington, KY
- LexArts, Lexington, KY
- Transylvania University, Lexington, KY