Posts Tagged With: arts events

Students shine at Poetry Out Loud Finals

After months of preparation, the Poetry Out Loud state championship took place March 13 in Frankfort at the Capital Plaza Hotel. The winner, Taryn Syck, of Pike County Central High School, will travel April 28-30 to Washington, D.C., for the National Poetry Out Loud Championship to represent Kentucky. While she was a tough competitor through the first two rounds, it was Syck’s third poem, “The Great Blue Heron,” by Carolyn Kizer, that put her on top.

I love the moment when everything comes together: The words, the delivery and the passion. Before I became the arts education director for the Kentucky Arts Council, I was not overly impressed with the Poetry Out Loud program. I did not appreciate the value of reciting poetry written by other people. I have seen some very powerful performances at high school poetry slams. So I believed having students perform their own poetry would be much more effective.

Today, I understand the value of this kind of poetry recitation. All 14 school champions were impressive. I am so glad I was not a judge. Each student in the program had been coached by one of the arts council’s teaching artists. They won their school competitions to advance to the state finals. All competitors recited two poems and then five finalists made it to the final round.

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Mary Hamilton, one of the teaching artists that worked with the champions, attended Thursday’s championship and later shared some of her thoughts about the day with me.

“There were three specific performances today that, if they would be available for Kentucky Poetry Out Loud programs to view, would provide excellent examples of very specific performance successes,” she said.

“Beautiful Wreckage” — recited by Titus Carter — “That recitation was stunning, absolutely stunning. He so captured the emotion of that poem. A video of that performance would provide a wonderful demonstration of how thrilling and amazing a recitation can be when the student allows their emotional connection to the poem to come charging through.  So many young men tend to be exceedingly reluctant to allow feelings to show. I think providing his recitation of ‘Beautiful Wreckage’ as an example of an emotional connection to a poem would especially encourage young men to give themselves the permission he clearly gave himself for that recitation.”

“I Remember, I Remember”  recited by Gabrielle Thompson  “That recitation provides a fantastic example of how pauses are not empty, but full. The spaces between the two ‘I Remembers’ at the beginning of each section were handled superbly. Sitting in the audience we could feel strongly that all memories are not remembered the same way. Her face, voice, and especially her communication during pauses, were wonderful to behold.”

“Famous”  recited by Haley Reed  “This is a lighter poem, and Haley did a marvelous job of clearly conveying the lighthearted nature and even the humor within the poem. There was also a clear change from when she was talking in third person and in first person. I considered it a wonderful example  well worth providing for future Poetry Out Loud students.”

Each of these performances, as well as Taryn Syck’s recitation of the “Great Blue Heron,” will soon be available on the arts council’s website. I invite you to visit our website to view these amazing performances by high school youth. And, next year, I hope other teachers and schools across the state will give their high school students the opportunity to participate in the Poetry Out Loud program.

Jean St. John, arts education director

Categories: Literary Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kentucky Stage at Kentucky Crafted: The Market

Two-day music festival at Lexington Convention Center: one-day pass, $10; two-day pass, $15

There is absolutely nothing like sitting, standing, jumping or dancing in a venue with music being performed live on stage. Your blood is pumping, your toes are tapping, you can’t sit still and maybe you’re even singing along. Sound like fun? Well, then you need to be at the Kentucky Stage during Kentucky Crafted: The Market, March 8-9, at the Lexington Convention Center.

Featuring some of the best Kentucky musicians around, the Kentucky Stage is a destination all to itself, but for that low ticket price you also get the entire Market to explore—SCORE! Heavens, you are running on all cylinders today and I am in awe of your prowess.

In the mood for a little southern folk/rock a la the Allman Brothers, but original and with a Kentucky twang? Then you’re looking for The Mark Whitley Band.

Or maybe you want some precision percussion with an authentic African influence. Check out River City Drum Corps.

Why not settle into some rousing country tunes? Well that’ll be Dale Pyatt with his Chickengrease Band.

How about a combo deal including a hefty portion of bopping popular music and a side of contemporary African-American gospel? John Edmonds is your man.

Let’s relax with a little cool jazz by the Jay Flippin/Gordon Towell Jazz Duo.

Yearning for some of the best Americana around? Look for TDH4.

Or wrap up your weekend with one of the state’s best string bands, Kentucky Wild Horse.

These are just a handful of the 17 individual musicians and bands that you’ll see on the Kentucky Stage. And since you’ll want to keep listening to the music once the weekend’s over, stop by the Marketplace directly across the lobby from the Kentucky Stage, to pick up CDs by these and other performers who’ve been selected for inclusion in the arts council’s Performing Arts Directory. That’s where I’ll be enjoying the best seat in the house. Stop in and say hello.

The Kentucky Stage
Schedule of Performances
(all times Eastern)

Saturday, March 8
9 a.m.              Bob & Susie Hutchison, Celtic
10 a.m.            The Wulfe Bros., Popular/Patriotic
11 a.m.            River City Drum Corps, Drumline
12 p.m.            Sue Massek with Erin Fitzgerald, Folk
1 p.m.              Roger Cooper with Michael Garvin and Scott Miller, Appalachian
2 p.m.              Carla Gover with Jeri Katherine Howell, Appalachian
3 p.m.              John Edmonds with Devon Satterfield, Gospel/Pop
4 p.m.              A Girl Named Earl, Folkabilly
5 p.m.              Art Mize, Americana/Jazz
6 p.m.              The Mark Whitley Band, Americana

Sunday, March 9
10 a.m.            Marcus Wilkerson, Singer/Songwriter
11 a.m.            Dale Pyatt, Americana
12 p.m.            TDH4, Americana/Jazz
1 p.m.              Hong Shao with Yuyao Ding, Chinese Pipa
2 p.m.              Joe Hudson and Steve Rector, Thumbpicking Guitar
3 p.m.              Jay Flippin/Gordon Towell Jazz Duo with Elise Melrood, Jazz
4 p.m.              Kentucky Wild Horse, Stringband

Tamara Coffey. individual artist program director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Put this on your Market to-do list

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Typical Market checklist

When you go to Kentucky Crafted: The Market – because you are going, right? – you will encounter some of the best Kentucky has to offer in visual art, craft, music, and more. Your schedule will be tight. You will be busy going from aisle to aisle, talking to artists whose work you like the most, sampling food, collecting books, doing fun art activities with kids, and hearing master musicians play fiddle, guitar, banjo, Chinese pipa, marching drums, dulcimer, and washboard.

Between doing all those things, take a few minutes to view the special exhibit sampler in Heritage Hall, near the Kentucky Stage. You will be glad you did. For the first time ever, the Kentucky Arts Council is bringing together a sampler of three of our prized exhibits: Uncommon Wealth, identity, and The Makings of a Master.

Each exhibit includes amazing art that offers you new perspectives on arts scenes across Kentucky:

  • Uncommon Wealth features Al Smith Fellowship recipients over the past 30 years, recognized for their creative excellence.
  • identity features work by artists who have disabilities of many different kinds, which may or may not influence their identities as artists.
  • The Makings of a Master: Kentucky Folk Art Apprenticeships presents examples of the wonderful folk art that is created during the critical and momentous times when a master tradition-bearer teaches an apprentice.

Not only will you see all this artwork in one place, you will get to meet some of the artists as they work:

On Saturday, March 8, master basket maker Paul Rich of Mammoth Cave, Ky., and his apprentice Tim Brewster will demonstrate their acclaimed white oak basket style that developed over generations along Highway 31W in south central Ky. To find out more, visit the Mammoth Cave basketmakers’ website.

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Dr. Jim Middleton and Paul Rich at the 2006 white oak basket contest in Hart County

On Sunday, March 9, master quilter Patricia Brennan of Fort Thomas, Ky., will display and work on her beautiful quilts with her apprentice Helen Bailey. Visit their blog to find out more.

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Log cabin square

A stop at the exhibit sampler will be well worth your while, and will help make this one of the best Markets yet. See you there!

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Top secret exhibit sampler floor-plan drawn on a marker board, photographed with a bowtie that’s really a camera

Mark Brown, folk and traditional arts program director

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Kentucky Crafted brings hands-on fun

It’s hard to believe Kentucky Crafted: The Market is right around the corner! While artisans across the state make final preparations for the show, the Kentucky Arts Council has been working with local arts organizations to ensure this year’s event will be fun for an individual or the whole family.

A part of The Market for almost 15 years, the hands-on activities are a chance for people of all ages to find their own creative side as they explore the ways in which art overlaps science, literacy, and even nature.

Working with the Louisville Visual Arts Association, Market-goers will have the opportunity to create their own animals and characters based on the work of beloved children’s author Eric Carle. Don’t recognize the name? Maybe you’ll recognize the titles. Carle’s work includes “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” a book about the fun, yet massive diet of a caterpillar as he transforms into a butterfly. This simple project allows participants to get as involved as they choose, making it the perfect pit-stop during your time at The Market.

For kids — and adults! — interested in building, the Lexington-based Living Arts & Science Center’s (LASC) Architecture of Life presentation will include an exhibit that illustrates how structures that exist in the natural world often become inspiration for architects designing structures in the modern world. Utilizing the LASC’s designs for an upcoming building addition, the exhibit will showcase the creative process that takes place from conception to construction. Opportunities for all ages to build with blocks of various architectural styles, and an area to design and create pop-up structures, will be available.

Kids — and kids at heart — can also build mini abstract sculptures out of reclaimed Styrofoam with the Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP), based in Frankfort. Based on workshops that are conducted at JSP throughout the year, each activity is appropriate for people of all ages and abilities. Participants will meet and work alongside local artists to create their own work of art to take home. They also can participate in creating community bee hive murals, sponsored by Bee Friendly Frankfort.  Examples include painting and collaging floral landscapes on beehives that will be installed at the park, and creating whirligig pinwheels from recycled plastic water bottles.

Finally, courtesy of Explorium of Lexington, guests will have a chance to create mixed-media artwork while exploring the human body’s five senses. By experiencing the senses through a creative process, participants will discover how much we rely on our bodies to send our brain important signals. In addition to creating original artwork, participants will test how well they know their five senses through a series of sensory stations!

If you’ve exhausted your entertainment options thanks to recent snow days, Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2014 is the perfect option to explore your artistic side!

Alex Newby, program assistant 

Categories: Arts Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The identity exhibit

On Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, the Kentucky Arts Council — in partnership with the Council on Developmental Disabilities — opened the identity exhibit at the Weber Gallery in Louisville. Artists, their friends and art appreciators braved the snow to participate in a conversation about disability, art and the role  each plays in shaping a person’s identity, and vice versa.

Thanks in large part to the professionalism and hospitality of the the Council on Developmental Disabilities, the event was a huge success in terms of attendance. Identity also accomplished exactly what we set out to do — a diverse group of people acknowledged and appreciated the careers of artists with disabilities and the value of their artwork. This “value” was recognized literally in some cases, as pieces sold throughout the night.

Artist Carol Shutt wrote of the event, “What stuck out in my mind was that there didn’t seem to be a lot of little groups clustered together talking. Visitors and staff sought out artists and artists sought out other artists. Except for me and my scooter, it was hard to tell who was disabled until you talked to them, and even then you couldn’t be sure! I think there is a great lesson to be taken from that!”

Photographer Dale Arnett artfully captured the inclusive interactions described by Carol.

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The identity exhibit will be open at the Weber Gallery by appointment through Feb. 28. Pieces from the exhibit will also appear at Kentucky Crafted:The Market, March 8-9. From there it will travel to the Houchens Gallery at the Capital Arts Center in Bowling Green, Ky.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Arts Advocacy, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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