Mission & History
The Steam Exchange is a community arts organization based in the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky where people of all ages and socioeconomic levels will have access to tools and training to produce creative works.
The mission of Steam Exchange is to facilitate passion-driven learning experiences where individuals explore the arts through creative play and production. We also use the arts as a platform for young people to engage with concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in innovative ways (STEAM). We aim to foster a sense of community, pride and ownership in the Smoketown neighborhood and to encourage community-based creative entrepreneurship by connecting people with the skills and facilities to develop quality projects.
The Steam Exchange was founded in August 2014 by Louisville natives Caitlin Kannapell and Rachel Mauser. Our programming and services focus in Smoketown because of its rich history, social capital, need for additional resources, and need for safe after school activities for youth.
The Steam Exchange was granted start-up funding from IDEAS xLab and YouthBuild Louisville's ArtPlace grant; we raised funds for ongoing support through a variety of grants and fee-for-service activities. Since the Steam Exchange’s inception, we have participated in numerous outreach events, facilitated community art projects, and taught over 600 hours of workshops/classes in printmaking, bookbinding, sculpture, mosaic, drawing, papermaking, mural painting, computer programming and app development, as well as two years of summer camp. All our classes, workshops, and events are free to Smoketown residents.