Preserving Art Environments

Thursday, August 10, 2023
5–6 p.m. central
Zoom Video Conference

Preserving Art Environments

How can we preserve an art environment after its maker is no longer around to maintain it? What does the process of preservation look like? How can communities support local art environments?

Together with Annalise Flynn, curator of Ted Degener: At Home with Artists and manager of SPACES Archives, Yaphet Smith from the L.V. Hull Legacy Center and Bob Levesque from Salvation Mountain discuss how they became involved with their respective sites and the care that goes into preservation. Smith and Levesque will share the latest developments at each art environment and how L.V. Hull’s and Leonard Knight’s philosophies, wishes and practices inform how conservation is handled today.

L.V. Hull stands in her yard environment in Kosciusko, Mississippi
Ted Degener (American, b. 1948). L.V. Hull stands in her yard environment in Kosciusko, Mississippi, 1996. Archival pigment print. Photo courtesy Ted Degener
Leonard Knight perches at the top of the “God is Love” centerpiece of Salvation Mountain outside of Niland, California
Ted Degener (American, b. 1948). Leonard Knight perches at the top of the “God is Love” centerpiece of Salvation Mountain outside of Niland, California, 1996. Archival pigment print. Photo courtesy Ted Degener

Closed captions will be available at the virtual program. Please contact Lindsey Wurz at with questions related to accessibility accommodations.

This program is free to join! To show your support to Intuit, please consider the pay-what-you-can option when you complete your reservation. Your contributions help ensure the sustainability of our public programs and support guest lecturers and teaching artists.

Two hours before the program, Intuit will email the Zoom link to registrants. Please check your junk folder for event reminders. Unfortunately, these emails are sent there sometimes.

This program is funded in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Prince Charitable Trust, Terra Foundation for American Art, and individual donations from Intuit members and supporters.

Meet Annalise Flynn

Photo of a white woman, identified as Annalise Flynn, wearing a white shirt, standing in front of Salvation Mountain
Photo courtesy Annalise Flynn

Annalise Flynn is an independent curator and arts administrator based in Sheboygan, Wis. Her current clients include the Kohler Foundation, for which she manages SPACES Archives (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments)—the world’s largest repository of archival documentation related to artist-built environments; the Arts Foundation of Kosciusko; and the Keysmith Foundation. Flynn’s work highlights vernacular creative activity, using material, memory, community and place as research pillars.

Meet Yaphet Smith

Photo of a man, identified as Yaphet Smith, wearing a blue suit with a yellow flower and greenery in the background
Photo courtesy Yaphet Smith

Yaphet Smith is a screenwriter, lawyer and documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. He was born in Starkville, Miss., and spent summers at his grandmother’s home in Kosciusko, Miss., where, at the age of four or five, he first encountered the Unusual Artist Ms. L.V. Hull, who lived four houses away. Hull’s unapologetic dedication to pursuing her full creative powers left an indelible impression on him. As an adult, Smith recorded home video footage of Hull in the early 2000s. He shaped that footage into “Love Is a Sensation,” an affectionate one-hour home movie portrait of L.V. Hull and her quest to present a cherished work of art to blues legend B.B. King. The film is expected to release in late 2024. Smith also is part of a dedicated alliance of Hull’s family, friends, arts professionals and community members working to preserve, share and activate her legacy. This work includes a first-of-its-kind exhibition dedicated to Hull at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the creation of the L.V. Hull Legacy Center on her street in Kosciusko. Both the exhibit and the Center are slated to open in November 2024.

Meet Bob Levesque

Photo of a man, identified as Bob Levesque, smiling, wearing eye glasses, with Salvation Mountain in the background
Photo courtesy Bob Levesque

Bob Levesque is president of Salvation Mountain, Inc. and owns a small printing and sign shop with his wife, Sandi. He married into the Knight family in 2000, and in 2006 he made his first trip to Salvation Mountain to bring his mother-in-law to see her brother for what was the last time. During that 14-day visit, Levesque became acquainted with Sandi’s “Uncle Leonard” and his incredible work: Salvation Mountain. Levesque’s fascination and admiration were then stifled by returning to their lives until one day, in 2012, when he received a call about Knight leaving the mountain to live in a nursing home. According to Levesque, that was the day that changed the direction of his life. He became the family representative to help ensure Knight was cared for at the home and his tremendous work protected. He visited every year and started working as a director. Levesque worked diligently to oversee Knight’s care until he passed away in 2014, and he assisted the organization’s development and preservation. He was appointed vice president in 2015 and president in 2020 following the retirement of Dan Westfall.