In Heaven Everyone Will Shake Your Hand

Doctors advised Julie Baldyga's parents to institutionalize her, saying that she could be a danger to herself and others. Fortunately, her parents didn't take the advice: Julie grew up to be a luminous human and a brilliant, prolific artist.

A book about Baldyga's art is long overdue. This collection of oil pastels, ceramics and photos of “heavenly people”—400 life-size human figures—will not only showcase this incredible artist but also serve as a poignant reminder of what is possible when we refuse to write people off.

$30; 144 pages; 12x12; full color; soft cover

Julie Baldyga's artwork is distinctive and compelling, and a book about her work is long overdue.

Throughout her childhood, Julie's parents took her to doctors in an attempt to learn more about why she was so different from most other children: nonverbal, antisocial, obsessed with wires and hoses and engines. Twice, doctors advised her parents to institutionalize her, saying that she could otherwise be a danger to herself and others. Fortunately, her parents did not take the doctors’ advice: Julie would grow up to be a luminous human and a brilliant, prolific artist.

The Louisville Story Program partnered with Baldyga, her sister Stephanie Baldyga-Stagg and brother-in-law Bob Stagg, Kertis Creative, the staff of StudioWorks by Zoom Group, photographer Sarah Lyon, gallerist Susan Moremen, Eye Level Films and KMAC Museum to develop In Heaven Everyone Will Shake Your Hand, a book and museum exhibition that takes an in-depth look at this distinctive self-taught artist and her work. This collection of oil pastels, ceramics, and photographs of her “heavenly people”—400 remarkable life-size human figures—will not only showcase this incredible artist but will also serve as a poignant reminder of what is possible when we refuse to write people off.

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"A kangaroo named Sandy working on an engine of an ice cream machine." Courtesy of StudioWorks, a program of Zoom Group.
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"The bun series." Top row, left to right: "Madonna bun, cake bun, twirly bun, my housemate Lee." Bottom row, left to right: "nuclear disaster bun," unidentified, "Melinda, and Nicole, Buns are a symbol of my mother's bun." Courtesy of StudioWorks, a program of Zoom Group.
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"A V8 engine." From the collection of the artist.
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From the collection of Francis Mican and Paul Baribeau