Dan Church is an architect, urban designer, illustrator, and watercolorist. His influence on Louisville’s urban landscape is evident in certain projects that he worked on including Louisville Riverwalk, Louisville Waterfront Park, and Thurman Hutchins Park. He was principal planner for the master plan of The Parklands of Floyds Fork. Although semi-retired, he continues to work as a consultant with his firm Church Associates. His watercolor classes at Highland Community Center are on hold right now due to the pandemic.
What were your plans for yourself?
I was very much interested in art, but I had a good education in math and science. My cousin told me that I should get a degree in a profession that I could get a job in so I went to architectural school. That seemed like a good mix.
What makes you angry?
People who are intolerant. Greed.
How does one resolve conflict?
I would prefer to help others come to a mutual agreement rather than make the case to win an argument.
What was your worst job?
There were times when I worked on projects that were not leading me toward my own professional goal. Although it proved to be of value to be doing things out of my principal focus.
My mom was a painter and I have a few of her paintings. There is a family ring that my grandfather had given my grandmother. It was passed on to my father, then to me, and now I have passed it on to my son.
How do you relax?
I never found painting to be relaxing although for many it is a distraction from everyday things. I approach it as a challenge and a way to test my ability. To relax, I enjoy golf and time with family.
A decision that changed your direction?
I decided after earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati that I would move to another city and state (University of Washington in Seattle) and get a master’s degree in urban planning. It was a deliberate choice to be more broadly educated. It was a good decision.
What’s a skill every man should have?
The ability to communicate and speak in a coherent and articulate way in both his professional and personal relationships.
How does one become successful in their professional life?
Someone once told me that to be successful you should have a skill or aptitude that distinguishes you from others and can be identified with you. Become an expert. Keep working on the things you are good at.
What have you accepted about yourself?
I recognize the aptitudes that I have been granted. I think it’s important that you do what you can do and what you want to do.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
We’ve had three family members pass away since the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, and the funeral gatherings were limited to 10 people. Also, my son and his wife and children who live in New York City left before the city shut down and are renting a place near us for the time being.
BY LUCY M. PRITCHETT
ILLUSTRATION BY DAN KISNER
P.S. Find out about UofL Professor and Archaeologist John Hale’s most exciting discoveries.