The journey to becoming a Kentucky Crafted artist

KyCraftedLogo_ColorWe asked Kentucky Crafted artist Bill Berryman to write about his experience preparing for and applying to the Kentucky Crafted program. Bill was adjudicated into the program in 2015 and had work on exhibit at the Kentucky Gallery of Kentucky Crafted: The Market. He is an art teacher at Sayre School in Lexington and lives in Winchester.

The deadline for applying for Kentucky Crafted is Aug. 15.


Bill Berryman

As I reflect back on this time last year, it brings back many emotions as I was busily preparing to apply for the Kentucky Crafted program. I was anxious because of the prestigious magnitude of the program and the thorough application process. A year later I can laugh, shake my head, and share my story with a new perspective of the entire experience.


At a Kentucky Arts Council workshop years ago, Ed Lawrence, the former director of the program, stressed upon us to start this process early and not to wait until the deadline. I’m glad I did! My application for a DUNS number, the unique number assigned to help identify businesses, was complicated by the DUNS website not letting me past the first stage. I had to call the company and they worked the issue out on their end. They were very supportive and kind.

I was also choosing the art to be entered, scheduling a professional photographer and composing and tweaking artist’s statements and the marketing copy.

When the time came to submit the application, the arts council staff was very helpful in confirming that they had received the application. I was impressed with how easy everyone was to work with and relieved that all the info and images had been received.

I had done all I could do and the waiting began.

Several weeks later I was humbled and excited to be notified by mail that I had been accepted into the program. It honestly took several months for the reality to settle in. During the program’s orientation meeting I looked at the talented group of individuals around me and couldn’t believe I was there among them. Since that time I was blessed by an invitation to exhibit in the first Kentucky Gallery, a curated shopping area within the annual Kentucky Crafted: The Market at Lexington Convention Center.  As part of the promotions for the event, I was asked to share my journey as an artist on the WUKY radio program Curtains @ 8 with Nick Lawrence. Both were such unique experiences and being on the radio forced me out of my comfort zone.

By being a part of such a special program as Kentucky Crafted, my confidence has risen, the quality and content of my work has gone to another level and creative opportunities have increased. I’m being invited to exhibit, demonstrate and share my work and story throughout the area. I have met and formed new friendships and relationships and have a new perspective of the creative process.

There are several benefits to being a Kentucky Crafted artist. Among those benefits are use of the Kentucky Crafted logo, eligibility to exhibit at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, inclusion in the online Kentucky Crafted directory and the opportunity to sell work at the Governor’s Derby Celebration.

As intimidated as I was about applying for Kentucky Crafted, the fruits of my labor have been a blessing. I have formed relationships with several staff members of the arts council, and have found them to be authentic, down to earth and fun individuals. I recently had one staff member email me to see how things were going because we hadn’t communicated for a while. Folks, that means a lot!

I’m proud to be a part of the Kentucky Crafted Program and encourage any artisan interested to seek further info from the council or an adjudicated member. It may change your life.

Bill Berryman
Kentucky Crafted artist

For more information about the program, contact David Blevins, arts council arts marketing director, at or 502-564-3757 ext. 473.


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