writings Ikons from A Wrye Life - Les Preliminaires


A Wrye Life - The Autobiographical Book

A Wrye Life - front cover

In 1993 Zimmerman began work on an autobiography. The book, which he titled, “A Wrye Life,” grew to over 3,000 pages before its completion and was supposedly written and edited by close friend, Jean Phillipe Le-Seigleur. Zimmerman attests that Le-Seigleur, whose background was in engineering, became interested in the Apple Art during its development and set out to produce a book that would serve as a biography, philosophy, gallery and comprehensive archive chronicling Zimmerman's life. Though mostly accurate in its account of Zimmerman's artistic career, the book does take certain liberties with the truth, acting as a creative reconstruction of this artist's very wry life.

Encyclopedia of Louisville - The Arts In Louisville Article

The following article was written for The University Press of Kentucky 2001 publication by John Kleber

The Society for the Arts In Louisville was founded and chartered in September of 1955 as a non-profit organization for the promotion and stimulation of interest and participation in the various arts in Louisville by a select group of first-chair solo players under the direction of one Leo Zimmerman, the young painter who had recently returned to Louisville from five years in Paris. He had heard that Louisville was experiencing an "arts renaissance," although burgeoning modestly, the renaissance seemed to him somewhat less than it might be encouraged to become.

Arts in Louisville magazines

A master plan for a stimulation of interest in Louisville’s arts evolved. It was based on the publication of an informative and educational arts magazine with the subsequent organization of its subscribers into and association of active arts proselytizers, with the cooperation of numerous local arts organizations and arts-
affiliated merchants offering special considerations to the membership at large. A varied group of some three thousand arts enthusiasts were enlisted within the first two years.

An art gallery was opened in an historic carriage house near downtown Louisville. An art school for adults was established. A Linotype machine, foundry type, and a printing press were acquired.

An illustrated arts publication, the thirty-two page monthly magazine of the arts, Arts in Louisville Magazine began publication in October 1955 and was printed and distributed nationally through April of 1958.
Published were 237 major arts essays. Many local, regional, and national artists and writers contributed the many perceptive articles which appeared alongside editorials, arts calendars, previews, reviews, letters, etc. Being an all-volunteer mission, the magazine, later retitled The Louisvillian was self-supporting through its advertising income and the modest membership dues.

Zimmerman (r) at the Linotype keyboard

The summer of 1958 saw the monthly magazine's replacement by the Gazette of the Arts in Louisville, a fortnightly six-page tabloid-size newspaper which blazoned the arts news throughout 1959. Up to the minute arts-publicizing graphic flyers were mailed to all members on a weekly basis after 1959.

December of 1957 brought the opportunity to lease the historic Louisville Athletic Club building at Zane Street and Garvin Place. Built in 1888 as Louisville’s most fashionable club, it was a perfect setting for the society's purposes. There was space for a 132 seat intimate theatre in which the Arts in Louisville Players would produce a smattering of exciting theatre, two spacious art galleries were lavished with continuing panoplies of the art creations of regional painters and sculptors.

The vast second floor, originally the gymnasium, was to become “The Great Hall.” It was remodeled and equipped for seating and serving as many as 250 members at dinner. Evenings saw a variety of enterprises. There were local chamber-music nights, and numerous local groups played exciting weekend jazz. On occasion, big name jazz weekends were staged with celebrities the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Ramsey Lewis, Cannonball Adderley, etc.

There were local poet’s poetry-reading nights, absurd in the round theatre absurd, and occasional local ballet demonstration. Then, there was the wine-cellar bar, down under, which featured folksingers, small music ensembles, and bunnies.

The society neither sought nor accepted hand-outs from government, business, or individuals, on principle. It paid its own way successfully through April 1963 when it was voluntarily closed down, citing staff cultural exhaustion.

The giant poplar-wood frame building burned to the ground in May 1969.

- Leo Zimmerman


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