Clare Hirn, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, received her Master’s in Painting and Drawing from the New York
Academy of Art - Graduate School of Figurative Art. With an emphasis on strong foundational skills of drawing and painting,
Hirn has largely worked realistically over the span of her 30+ year career. Always inspired by the natural world, with a focus
on landscape and the human figure.


Hirn has participated in and received numerous awards in many regional shows. Her paintings and murals are in many private and public collections, homes and businesses and have appeared in numerous publications. Her work has always ranged in scale, from 60’ long interior murals, to small, more intimately viewed pieces. Her large scale works in public spaces, such as Norton Cancer Institute, UofL Health Care Outpatient Center and the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital, work to bring the beauty of our natural world inside, acknowledging the healing effects nature provides. Many of her studio paintings work to bring awareness and appreciation for the natural world in this Anthropocene era.

Through travel and life experiences in other cities, Hirn further developed her lifelong appreciation of the environment and community. After returning to Louisville in the 90’s, Hirn has been active in various roles: co-founder of Art for Health, PTSA President for her children’s public school, training to be a kNOw Waste ambassador for Louisville and more broadly, also learning to communicate more effectively about climate change.

Besides assisting/teaching/developing many community art projects over her 30-year career, Hirn is now partnering with Louisville Visual Art to finance and bring to life the fellowship program, Curate Purchase Inspire. CPI is an original concept by Hirn, who collaborated with LVA to realize it in practice. It is an innovative approach to enhancing the Louisville art ecosystem by coordinating efforts of local curators with the missions of local non-profit organizations. Local artists’ work is purchased and displayed in these non-profits and is establishing a community owned art collection. Hirn’s relationship with LVA has come full-circle, from being selected as a child to participate in their free after-school fine art classes, to receiving the LVA 2022 Benefactor of the Year Award. Hirn recognizes that any healthy society has a profound appreciation for the arts in general and her initiative will have a lasting impact in support of the local visual arts.

Formative Career Highlights


Studio Event, 2023

Finished installation of the Curate Purchase Inspire 2022 fellowships and announcement of 2023 recipients.

Multiple Louisville shows, including co-curating “Sustainability Compass”, for which I created an installation piece: “Trees to Pleas”, using mail I received over the past 2 years from environmental organizations.

 - 11/20/2023


Waterstep Benefit, Invitational Show, Shapin Nicolas Art Project space.

“Passing By the Zinnias (Arthur in Mind)”

This 12” x 9” painting was inspired by the abstract nature-themed artists I admire and explores more abstract elements than previous works of mine.

 - 09/24/2022


Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro, reception lobby.

 - 10/04/2018

2017  “Judy’s Chair”

The first painting of what has become the Weathered Series, an ongoing painting style/project. These paintings represent a collaboration with the outdoor elements. By leaving a canvas on-site, outside, for 3 months to even a year, there is time and space for the unanticipated to happen. 

I visit and work on the canvas multiple times where it is placed and then bring it inside to the studio to finish the conversation.  It is a different take on plein-air painting, which has always been a part of my oeuvre.

 - 08/29/2017


Artist-in-residence, Rancho Linda Vista, Oracle, AZ

Each morning started with working on this painting, a view outside the guest house picture window. This residence provided a critical time to reinvest as an artist, after raising two children and caring for two aging parents.  

“Guest View”11” x 31 ½”, graphite, watercolor, acrylic on paper.

 - 04/01/2017


UofL Health Care Outpatient Center, awarded lobby mural commission through competition.

Much of my mural work has been painted in the studio and wall-paper pasted on-site (allowing for future relocation as necessary).

 - 08/24/2014
UK Ch. studio re

2012 - 2018

Multiple mural projects, including UK Chandler Hospital/ Kentucky Children’s Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

In the studio: installation pieces for “Where the Sycamore Resides”.

 - 10/28/2012

2009, 2010

Kentucky Foundation for Women Art Meets Activism grant recipient.

 - 04/20/2010

2009 - 2014

Co-developer, Art for Health.

Art for Health programs involved creating community artwork based on themes of healthy food and sustainable agriculture. Artmaking brought awareness through experiential learning.

 - 10/20/2008


Waterfront Park Place commissioned public lobby murals.

These murals are inspired by the Ohio River. The charcoal underdrawing plays a critical role in the surface of the final piece. It is a technique I have continued to explore and develop ever since this first endeavor.

 - 06/20/2004


Abiocor Heart illustration was published on the front page of The New York Times.

I originally intended at least a side career as a medical illustrator, but eventually fully devoted to painting.

 - 07/04/2001

1996 - 2015

Multiple commissioned interior decorative murals, often scenic in nature.

“American Arboretum” 7’ x 30’ acrylic on canvas.

 - 04/20/1996


Seeking out natural environments on a 6-month cross-country camping/plein-air painting expedition.

 - 06/01/1992

1990 - 1991

Modeworks, mural painting, and design, New York, NY, where I first learned the fundamental mechanics of working large-scale.

 - 06/20/1990


The Graduate School of Figurative Art at The New York Academy of Art, New York, NY.  Masters of Fine Art, Painting and Drawing.

 “Portrait of Gaia”, 4’ x 4’, egg tempera.

My thesis painting was inspired by James Lovelock’s Gaia Principle, which describes the earth as a single, living organism with the atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans influencing one another.

 - 05/20/1990

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Clare Hirn’s Studio

1024A W. Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(Between 10th and 11th Streets.)


Studio visits are by appointment only.

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