Visual Arts

You need to be at the Creative Industry Summit, Nov. 12-13!

Kentucky artists and creative people who make all or part of their living from selling their work are the backbone of the Kentucky creative industry. Yet, many Kentucky artists don’t think of themselves as small business operators or entrepreneurs, which can create disconnect between artists and valuable resource providers when artists seek business development assistance.

Level of Need for Various Resources

Click to see this graph at actual size.

The Kentucky Creative Industry Report, released by the Kentucky Arts Council in December 2014, included important data about the Commonwealth’s creative workforce that has provided new opportunities for the arts council to address some of these issues.

As part of the study, we conducted a survey of Kentucky artists and creative freelancers. That survey gave us an overview of the needs of those who work in the creative industry. It helped us set goals and identify new avenues of assistance to better meet the needs of the state’s creative workforce.

While the survey details specific needs, when looking at the list overall (which you can find on Page 18 of the report or in the graphic to the left) many of those needs fall under one category – business training and development. We’ve addressed this in many ways this year, providing opportunities to artists and creative entrepreneurs to gain valuable skills that will help them grow their arts businesses.

The arts council is offering another great opportunity for artists to receive business training, generate ideas for growth, learn how to market and promote their work, and get in on a discussion about how to become arts leaders in their own communities through team-building. Our one-day workshop for artists and creative entrepreneurs at the Creative Industry Summit Workshops on Nov. 12 will cover all of these topics and give artists a chance to network among their peers. The workshop is $10 and features excellent speakers and workshop presenters. Check out the agenda online and register today. Have questions or need more information? Contact me at

Please share this exciting learning opportunity with your own networks of Kentucky artists. By doing so, you’ll be helping the arts council in its mission to strengthen and grow the state’s creative industry.

Categories: Arts Advocacy, Arts Organizations, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Visual Arts | Leave a comment

Good food deserves better: revenge of the ramekin

This post has nothing to with ramekins. It’s just that this is the fourth in a series of musings about artful dinnerware, and I’m running out of clever sequel titles.

If you’ve read the other three posts, you know the gist. If you’re going to entertain this holiday season – or anytime around the calendar – don’t serve your wonderful food on trash (i.e., disposable plates and aluminum pans). Conversely, if all you have time to prepare is a “pack of Nabs,” at least unwrap them and place them on a tea towel in a lovely basket. Make bad food look edible, and good food look superb by serving on Kentucky Crafted items for the kitchen and dinning room.

I’ve covered the basics like plates, mugs and casserole dishes, and now I’d like to get fancy. The following are not things that everyone needs. What you are about to experience covers two things important to holiday entertaining: wowing the cream cheese out of the people who come to your house and finding gift items for the gourmand who thinks he or she already has everything.


For example, you’re never going to impress your wine aficionado friend with a bottle of wine, unless you’re a sommelier. Stop trying, and buy this fine wine caddy by Doug Haley. Made from maple, cherry or exotic woods, the caddy will hold bottles, glasses and even cheese and crackers or desserts.


I know it’s not practical to buy kitchen gadgets that only do one thing, but sometimes a uni-tasker’s unique nature is a good conversation starter (i.e., guest impresser). Besides, Stone Fence Pottery’s garlic grater works up garlic and artfully presents oil emulsions for dipping – that’s one more task than a regular, old garlic press.

3 chip and dip final_1

Matthew Gaddie is a skilled ceramicist, but — I’m embarrassed to admit — I had no idea what this was when I first saw it at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.  I sort of thought it was a bird bath, maybe? That’s why these things are best left to the artists; this is actually a genius chip and dip or salad bowl, equipped to serve three different dressings or dips. This is the reason he was best of show in 2014, and I’m merely writing an article about his creations. Amazing, impressive, and no one else you know has one. Furthermore, you can get the ugly Wishbone and Ken’s Steakhouse dressing bottles off of your gorgeous table.

So that’s how you dazzle even the most ennui-ridden epicurean. Oh! I almost forgot; here’s an assortment of ramekins from Tater Knob Pottery in case you were feeling cheated by the title.


Sarah Schmitt, arts access director 

Categories: Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Kentucky is home to many nationally important organizations like Actors Theatre and Appalshop. We tend to think of them as “ours,” but it’s important to remember the impact many of these places have beyond the borders of the Commonwealth. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is one of these Kentucky organizations with great reach, and it has served blind Americans since 1858 as the national leader in providing accessible media, training and products.

APH serves artists who are blind or have vision loss through InSights, an annual juried visual art competition and exhibition. Each year the contest receives about 350 national and, sometimes, international entries. Judges from Louisville’s education and art community select pieces for display at the APH annual meeting in October, which took place on Oct. 16-18. “Prize winners are invited to come to Louisville to receive their awards at an evening banquet. Artwork from entries may also be reproduced in the annual InSights calendar and as images on greeting cards.”

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I had the pleasure of viewing the exhibit this year. Now in it’s 30th year, the APH has a solid process and guiding philosophy for InSight. Artists must be legally blind by the federal definition. The judges come from diverse backgrounds —  they are artists, gallery owners, educators, etc. Each piece is judged on its own artistic merit with first, second and third places awarded in several school grades, an ungraded school-age category and an adult category. The show is also further curated by adding pieces that did not receive awards but contribute to the aesthetic of the exhibit.

I had many favorites, but I spent extra time on the following quilt. The piece came from a group of 17 students at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., in the ungraded school-age category. Each square was developed on the theme of “What Growing in Your Garden” and comes with an accompanying Haiku. Flowers, fruits, grains and vegetables are all hanging out in a quilt that remind the viewer of farmer’s market stalls. The result is powerful, colorful collaborative art.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , ,

What week of the year has 10 days?


This week!



American Craft Week spans over two weekends to include all the many craft events celebrating the value of American craft. American Craft Week just happens to include Kentucky’s two largest fall arts festivals, St. James Court Art Show in Louisville last weekend and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Fall Fair this coming weekend. Governor Beshear has joined other governors from around the nation in proclaiming Oct. 3 – 12, 2014, American Craft Week in Kentucky, acknowledging the support the Kentucky Arts Council gives to our Commonwealth’s makers, retailers, collectors and exhibitors of American handmade craft.

Kentucky Crafted Retailers in Kentucky and Ohio are also having special activities in celebration of American Craft Week. Yes, that’s right. We have officially designated Kentucky Crafted Retailers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Check out our directory to see the complete list of Kentucky Crafted Retailers.

Stop by Completely Kentucky, in Frankfort, during American Craft Week and enjoy some samplings of Kentucky Proud gourmet foods, win a gift card during the daily drawings and see the work of Kentucky Crafted artists, artisans and gourmet food producers.

Zig Zag Gallery, a contemporary craft gallery in Dayton features jewelry, pottery, creative clothing, gifts and more! Their American Craft Week events include Soup for CERF: An Empty Bowls Fundraiser, pottery demonstrations and a fabulous Friday featuring local artists’ trunk shows.

In Cincinnati, indigenous, a handcrafted gallery features 100 per cent American fine craft and jewelry by 175 local and regional artists, including many Kentucky Crafted artist. A “clay throw-down,” artist demonstrations, fundraisers and other artful events are all happening for the celebration this week.

ACW_2014_Banner_ copy

American Craft Week, produced by Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT) is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing handmade decorative and functional objects. And every day thousands of craft retailers share their love of these items by displaying, promoting and selling them. As one craft artist put it, “this is the creative economy!”

American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation’s economy, our balance of trade and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let’s tell the world!

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , ,

Making the Most of Murals in Lexington

In the second installment of our summer public arts scavenger hunt, we feature the city of Lexington and one of its newest murals, a colorful depiction of Abraham Lincoln created as part of last year’s PRHBTN street art festival. The mural, located on the back of the historic Kentucky Theater building on Water Street, is 60 feet tall and was painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.

PRHBTN is a celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized, and underappreciated in the mainstream. The festival was started in Lexington by John and Jessica Winters and will celebrate its fourth incarnation this October.

Lexington's Abraham Lincoln mural was completed in November 2013 by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.

Lexington’s Abraham Lincoln mural was completed in November 2013 by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.te its fourth incarnation this October.

In addition to Kobra, three other well-known artists visited Lexington during PRHBTN who left a lasting mark on the city’s walls and buildings.

On the corner of West 6th Street and Bellaire Avenue, art seekers can find a large mural of horses created by street artist Gaia. Known for his use of animals in various forms, Gaia is a Brooklyn native but creates art in public spaces around the world.

Portuguese artist Odeith, another internationally recognized artist who created work during the PRHBTN festival, also left his mark using horses. In a scene that’s familiar to Kentuckians, Odeith depicts racing horses and their colorfully-dressed jockeys. The mural, dedicated to “the amazing people of Lexington,” is located on the back of the Lexington Rescue Mission building that faces Loudon Avenue. The art itself faces the railroad tracks and is visible from North Limestone.

Across town, on Manchester Street, residents can find the third mural painted during the festival on the back of the Barrel House Distillery building. British street artist Phlegm painted a towering pyramid of figures holding up a dinner for two at the top. Nearby, one can also spot the work he did on the old water tower on the property.

In addition to the murals created during PRHBTN last year, numerous other creations have popped over the last several years in Lexington.

On the corner of East Sixth Street and North Limestone, on the old Spalding Bakery building is The Little Giants and the Goddess of Dreams, a mural by German street art duo Herakut. The same team painted “Lilly and the Silly Monkeys” at 156 Market St., as part of their Giant Storybook Project.

Want more?

Lexington is a city filled with murals and these are just a few. Get a list and continue your hunt for great murals and other public artworks by checking out Lexarts’ public art page!

Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

Categories: Arts Education, Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , ,

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