If you’re in the area of Louisville, Kentucky anytime during the next two and a half months, you owe it to yourself to stop by the Visual Art Center in that city.
From August 24th through November 10th, the Center will be exhibiting “Designing an ICON: Creativity and the American Automobile.” The exhibition features what is perhaps the finest collection of designer drawings of Detroit dream cars ever displayed. It includes the work of Bill Porter, Wayne Kady, George Camp and many others. Porter, formerly the chief of GM’s Advanced Design Studio, was instrumental in putting together the exhibition.
The exhibition includes hundreds of drawings from designers for GM, Ford, and Chrysler executed during the 1960’s through the 1970’s.
The idea for the exhibition originated with the Center’s director, who enlisted Porter’s assistance. Initially, Porter doubted that there would be much material to display. Drawings of potential future cars were kept under tight security by all of the automakers. Many drawings were destroyed when they were no longer needed: after all, even a rejected design could give away the direction of the company’s thinking.
But designers are artists and many of them kept some of their best work. That work is now coming to be appreciated as art, as well as being part of America’s industrial history.
The displayed drawings include work from both interior and exterior design studios and from initial rough concept drawings to detailed drawings of complete designs. A few of the drawings actually were part of the process that led to production vehicles. Many were so imaginative that even by today’s standards the cars depicted seem extreme. The display also includes some models created by the design studios.

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