Hours: 6am – 11pm daily
Parking: Green lot; Witherspoon Street (south side only; metered); Orange lot
The Flock of Finns is a colorful gathering of 28 fanciful metal bird sculptures based on original artworks by Louisville folk artist Marvin Finn. They are located near the corner of Preston and Witherspoon, northeast of the Great Lawn.
The Finns were created in 2001 as a public art initiative during the administration of Mayor Dave Armstrong. They were placed in various public venues around the city before finally landing in their permanent home at Waterfront Park in July 2002. By spring 2014, the colorful birds had begun to weather, with rust blisters and fading paint appearing in their once-bright plumage, and Metro and the Commission on Public Art (COPA) made the decision to have the sculptures professionally conserved at the McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory in Ohio.
The conservation process included sandblasting the Flock down to their original steel surfaces, repriming them and then repainting them with a more durable paint that is easier to maintain and should last for 20 years. Conservators used digital photos and color matching to painstakingly replicate the original paint surface, ensuring that the original appearance of each bird was precisely preserved. In May 2015, they returned to their home at Waterfront Park replete with brightened plumage.
The Flock honors the work of Marvin Finn, the late artist whose urban folk art is known and respected internationally. His brightly colored and patterned works reside in collections around the world. The large metal flock at Waterfront Park is made up of re-creations of Finn’s smaller hand-carved or saw-cut and painted wooden pieces. As part of the initiative to create the large flock, dozens of owners of Finn originals lent their pieces to Armstrong’s Art Advisory Committee, and enlargements made of half-inch thick steel were fabricated and painted by artist Melissa Wilson with the assistance of David Thrasher over a period of about six months.
Finn died on January 29, 2007, at the age of 89.