Message in a bottle, on a boat, in a park

This past weekend, Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP) celebrated its 5th birthday during its 2014 Fall Arts Festival. They couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was hot but breezy, and the goldenrod was at peak bloom. The atmosphere was just like a 5-year-old’s birthday party with bubbles, balloons, face painting and edible delights. Guests were also treated to hands-on art experiences, including metal relief sculpture, glass blowing, tie dye, pot throwing, paint rockets and other fiery, messy fun.


Bubbles. How does soap and water get so messy?

I took my 3-year-old son, a friend and her baby to experience the momentary enjoyment, but also to take part in something lasting. We went to see and participate in Magellan, a collaboration among JSP, Governor’s Arts Award recipient Latitude Artist Community, the Expressive and Wellness Program at Employment Solutions and StudioWorks at Zoom Group.

On JSP’s eastern ridge, Latitude artists handed each new voyager a bottle and asked them to put something in it that was meaningful to them and decorate the interior. When the bottles were complete, they were capped and displayed together.

What happens later is the transcendent part. The bottles will be placed into tubes and sealed with Plexiglas. The tubes will then be placed in a boat-shaped hole dug into the ground, which will be filled with concrete. Once the cured concrete boat is pulled out of the ground, it will remain on display at the park with the bottles visable in the tubes. According to Latitude, “The focus of this project is on relaying what is the core of our essence, what are the most profound aspects of ourselves that we would like to share with the Planet.” In essence, we are all human-shaped vessels, carrying around our own message, and we are all afloat in a greater vessel together.


A concept drawing of Magellan.

When we left, the eastern ridge was lined with bottles full of things — things with personal meaning. All held messages sent to no one in particular — just anyone who will find them, see them or hear them. Not every message in a bottle begs for rescue. Most are just something that needs to be said to someone, and that “someone” can be anyone willing to look in the bottle and listen.


Like Latitiude or JSP on Facebook to follow the concrete boat of bottles as it completes the creation journey.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Arts Organizations | Tags: , , , , ,

The dulcimer gets its due

The Homer Ledford Dulcimer Festival kicks off this weekend, Aug. 29-30. Then, get ready for the Hindman Dulcimer Homecoming, Nov. 6-9. What is all this festivity about, you say?

As stringed instruments go, the Appalachian mountain dulcimer is a recent development. The curvy, wooden instruments designed to rest on the player’s lap emerged in 19th-century Appalachia, borrowing characteristics from older European instruments. The dulcimer’s visual and tonal beauty, ease of tuning, portability and durability made it a popular vehicle for musical expression throughout the region. Kentucky has been a dulcimer hub thanks largely to the late-1800s dulcimer patriarch Uncle Ed Thomas of Knott County, and the 20th century’s innovative and influential Homer Ledford of Winchester. Today, enthusiastic communities of dulcimer players and listeners exist all around the world.

Master luthier Doug Naselroad just completed a Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship, teaching apprentice Mike Slone the techniques and culture behind dulcimer building.

Sit back a few minutes with this video and hear their story about discovering their personal connections to dulcimer history, and how their work together over the last year is having a big impact on Kentucky communities.

Mark Brown, folk and traditional arts program director

Categories: Folk and Traditional Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Program Review scores with the Kentucky Arts Council

As schools start across Kentucky, educators and teachers around the state are planning programs and initiatives designed to help meet the Department of Education’s Arts and Humanities Program Review. 

Implemented last year, the Arts and Humanities Program Review is a method for schools to analyze their arts programs, initiatives and instruction. In June 2013, the first year of self-reporting, just one district out of 174 achieved the distinguished level. In comparison, 41 districts ranked proficient and 132 districts fell into the needs improvement category.

To help schools looking for ways to improve their self-assessment scores, the Kentucky Arts Council offers several arts education programs.

Students at Frankfort High worked with artist Alfredo Escobar to design and paint this mural as part of the Teaching Arts Together program.

Students at Frankfort High worked with artist Alfredo Escobar to design and paint this mural as part of the Teaching Arts Together program.

Specialists with Arts Tactics (SWAT):  The SWAT program is a resource that connects Kentucky schools to arts education professionals that provide three-to six-hour consultancies geared towards developing plans and assessment tools for integrating the arts across the curriculum. These consultancies lay the groundwork for stronger arts initiatives in the district, and can help educators plan how  best to incorporate the arts as they strive to meet program requirements.  The next application window for SWAT consultancies is Oct. 15 – Dec. 1, 2014, for consultancies that will occur Jan.1- June 30, 2015.

Teaching Arts Together:  The Teaching Arts Together program brings professional teaching artists into the classroom to collaborate with educators on the design and implementation of innovative one- to four-week residencies.  The arts residencies give students and teachers the opportunity to participate in the creative process and to learn from an artist who has mastered the skill or art form. Past projects have included designing and painting a mural featuring the school’s traditions, creating a short clay animation film and painting wooden quilt blocks for a collective courtyard decoration. The next deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

TranspArtation Grant: One of the most popular arts education initiatives, the TranspArtation grant offers transportation funding for schools to attend arts events and performances at one of the many approved Kentucky Arts Partnership organizations. The grant is awarded based on the number of students being taken to the event, and the distance in mileage from the school to the performance venue.  Through this funding, schools are able to take more arts-related field trips and work towards incorporating more arts programming into their every day schedules. Applications are accepted at different times throughout the year. The next deadline is Nov. 1.

For more information about these programs or for other arts education opportunities, contact Jean St. John, arts education director, at 502-564-8110, ext. 486, or via email at


Categories: Other | Leave a comment

Upcoming deadlines at the Kentucky Arts Council

Summer is certainly a busy time for many people. So we hope you haven’t overlooked the application opportunities that are open – set to close next week – at the Kentucky Arts Council. You only have one chance this year to apply for our popular marketing programs for visual and craft artists and architectural artists! Don’t let them pass you by. Below is a list of opportunities with upcoming deadlines! For more information, we’ve included links to the specific program pages.

Each year, Kentucky Crafted participants are invited to exhibit work at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.

Each year, Kentucky Crafted participants are invited to exhibit work at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.

Kentucky Crafted Program, Aug.  15

Kentucky Crafted is an adjudicated program that provides assistance to Kentucky visual and craft artists through marketing and promotional opportunities and arts business training. In addition to these opportunities, participants of the Kentucky Crafted program are also invited to present work at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, the state’s largest fine art and craft show. For more information on how to apply to the Kentucky Crafted program, visit

The TranspARTation Grant, Aug. 15

The TranspARTation Grant assists Kentucky schools and teachers with transportation costs associated with attending arts events or performances at one of several pre-approved arts venues. The grants are awarded based on the number of buses needed for the trip and the mileage from the school to the performance venue or arts event. Applications for the TranspARTation grant are accepted at intervals throughout the year. For more information on the TranspARTation grant, visit

Architectural Artists Directory, Aug. 15

The Architectural Artists Directory is an adjudicated roster of artists with an established work history of projects that include architectural elements and artwork, custom-made fixtures and uniquely crafted building installations. The directory serves as a resource for businesses, homebuilders, architects, interior designers, landscape architects and private clients seeking artists to create unique features for home, commercial and public spaces.  For guidelines or to apply visit

For information throughout the year on grant program and arts opportunities, be sure to follow the arts council on Facebook or on Twitter, or sign up on our website to receive our twice monthly newsletter, Arts E-news.

Categories: Other

Transcendent beauty: The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

For public art adventurers keeping up with our summer scavenger hunt, we featured The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington in this week’s clue.  Built in 1895, the church features more than 80 stained-glass windows, stone carvings by the famous American sculptor Clement Barnhorn and 26 gargoyles perched atop the tall spires. Visitors to the landmark can also see special touches including severCathedral-Basilica_HR[1]al murals, a porcelain-tile piece, and a fountain created by liturgical artist William Schickel. The church has been described as appearing like a smaller version of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Guided tours are offered daily at the church and self-guided tours are available at the Greeter’s Desk near the north side entrance.

In addition to the cathedral, if you’re continuing north towards the Ohio River and city of Cincinnati, you’ll want to take a moment to stop and find the World Peace Bell in Newport.  Weighing 66,000 pounds, the 12-by-12-foot bell is the world’s largest swinging bell and was cast in Nantes, France, in 1998 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After a long journey across the sea and up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the bell arrived in Newport on Aug. 1, 1999, after stopping in 14 cities along the way.  While it’s possible to view the bell at any time, it rings every day at noon.  Visitors can pay $1 for a guided tour Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Congratulations to our Facebook friend, Emily Elizabeth Evans, for winning this week’s prize! Emily joins  Kremena Todorova, Fran Redmon, Lauren Smith and Lisa Bourque on the list of scavenger hunt winners that will receive a prize in the next few days! Thanks to everyone that played along and helped make the public arts scavenger hunt a success!


Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

Categories: Other | Leave a comment

Blog at The Adventure Journal Theme.

%d bloggers like this: