Posts Tagged With: arts

A fresh StART to 2015

With 2015 on our doorstep, now is the time to take your greatest wishes and make them into tangible goals. We’ve created a list of resolutions to help you get started on a banner year. Use our list to make your own, catered to your dreams and aspirations.

*Make more time for your art
Prioritize, people! Don’t let your projects get crowded and shuffled out. Use a specific timetable or format so you won’t forget.
It might be a good idea to have a calendar in a place you visit a lot. You could make every Tuesday at noon your sketch time (or whatever usually gets shuffled out of your weekly tasks). That way, you know that when you wake up on Tuesdays…yay! It’s sketch day!
Even if it’s only a couple of hours a week…write it down on the calendar, and in permanent ink! Whatever the task is, make it the same day and time so nearly everything you do will eventually become a habit.
You may need to enroll in a class so others will hold you accountable. This could also help you get back to the basics and help you remember why you fell in love with the craft in the first place. Search our online directories to find other artists like you and contact them.

*Apply for more fellowships & grants
There are lots of opportunities out there, and no reason why you can’t apply to at least one fellowship or grant this year. To find opportunities from us, visit our website. At the top, right corner, you’ll see the “Grants” tab. Take a look around. If you have a question on one of the opportunities, find the program director responsible. Call and/or email them. It’s our job to help you.

*Network more…face to face
This may sound scary…but get out there! In every single session of the Creative Industry Summit, each speaker reiterated over and over how important it is to get conversations going about art in our communities.
Make it a point to attend events, like Kentucky Crafted: The Market, as a vendor or a shopper. Either way, I’m sure those there, or at any event, wouldn’t care to give you tips of the trade. Try not to see them as competition, but comrades. Check our online calendar for upcoming events you might like to attend. You can also go to our home page and hover your cursor over the first tab, “Kentucky Art”, then “Experience the Arts” for some.
I would also make a point to visit art retailers around the state. Click this link for a list of our Kentucky Crafted Retailers. Talk to them! Network! Share war stories!
Also, don’t think you have to attend events catered specifically to your craft. You could attend something different. For example, if you’re a painter, attend Poetry Out Loud. You never know, it could help you find inspiration for your next project.

That brings me to my next suggestion…

*Get out of your comfort zone
Make it a point to do at least one project a week that’s different than what you would usually do. This may mean a different genre, or use a different canvas size, etc.

When you do…

*Post your work online
This includes your personal websites, blogs and social media pages. Post the good, the bad and the ugly and ask for others’ opinions to get a conversation started. Post the entire process and ask for “help” on what to do next. You never know, your fans may even want to buy something because they’re proud they helped you in the process. They may want to invest in your creativity.

Share your resolutions with us in the comments of our blog, or on our social media pages!

Megan Williamson Fields, communications assistant

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Give a Gift Ky staff picks

We’re lucky enough to live in a state steeped in tradition, where high-quality art and craftsmanship is right at our fingertips. The holidays are the perfect time to commemorate those traditions and incorporate them into our celebrations. Throughout the month of December, we, at the Kentucky Arts Council, have been compiling lists of gifts, décor and events to help everyone create and continue traditions centered around artisans throughout the state to help you do just that.

On our website are many gift giving guides that include categories such as the gift of performance, holiday décor, and local music (just to name a few). You can check out the entire list on the Give a Gift Kentucky website.

On our social media pages you’ll find suggestions hand-picked by the arts council staff, which includes some of our favorite pieces by Kentucky artisans. Everything from paintings and jewelry to books and music are included.

Below is a slideshow with each piece, including the staff member who chose it:

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If you would like to see a personal write-up by each staff member on why they chose each piece, visit our Facebook or Pinterest pages.

We encourage you to share gifts you gave or received this season by posting them on our social media pages and using hashtag #giveagiftky.

If you still weren’t able to find the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for person in your family, check our directories page.

Megan Williamson Fields, communication assistant

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

O (Kentucky Crafted) Christmas tree!

Each Christmas tree is special. There’s so much love shared around it. They help light up the season and put an extra twinkle in our eyes.

When I think of Christmas trees, I’m reminded by the one my family would put up year after year, adorned with what seemed like hundreds of ornaments. See, my mom is a teacher in southern Kentucky, and receives dozens of ornaments before each Christmas break. No branch is without a treasure from a past student. It seems like she kept every single one of them and they all carry a special message, picture or memory. We would always put up the tree while Elvis, Nat King Cole or Amy Grant serenaded us in the background. We would tell crazy stories, re-ignited by each ornament, of my mother’s tenure, like the time a kid came to school with a living, breathing bat in his backpack. Yeah. That happened.

One of my favorite things about Christmas trees is they hold different meaning for every family. Hopefully, each ornament is as unique and memorable as some of the stories shared around it.

I also remember having the privilege of putting my own ornament on the tree each year. The ornament was of Gus, the goofy mouse from Disney’s Cinderella. It was such an honor for me, especially being somewhat shy and suffering severely from what can only be described as middle child syndrome.

Gus

Everyone say hi to Gus.

We have a wonderfully witty blog series here at the Kentucky Arts Council by the talented Sarah Schmitt called Good Food Deserves Better. She talks about serving food on better-than-average dinnerware like Kentucky Crafted items for the kitchen and dining room. Your Christmas tree deserves better than generic pieces many of us buy on impulse, usually because they’re marked down. Your tree is a centerpiece for Christmastime and the season’s traditions.

To help you out, below are just some handcrafted ornaments from here in Kentucky. I urge you to start your own traditions with them. For instance, you could buy one each year and give it to a specific person, like the matriarch of the family, or a new member you’d like to welcome. You could even do an annual ornament exchange, like a Secret Santa where everyone buys an ornament. Make these new traditions your own.

Gourdament from SnP CraftsReImagined ornamentJudyGeagley owl ornament

There’s more where those came from…literally. We have a directory for holiday decor on our Give a Gift Kentucky holiday décor site, which includes more ornaments to start (or continue) your collection. I challenge ya’ll to find some one-of-a-kind ornaments made in Kentucky this Christmas and to carry on that tradition year after year, filling up each and every branch on your tree.

I would love to see what you find! If you don’t mind, post a picture of you and your handcrafted ornaments new and old on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and tag us in the picture. Don’t forget to use #giveagiftky. Your pictures would absolutely make our hearts sparkle here at the Arts Council.

Megan Williamson Fields, communications assistant

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Remembering our great ones

The problem with a being an arts administrator is that you spend so much time administering the arts that you have little occasion to enjoy them. Wonderful opportunities offered by our Kentucky Arts Partners and program artists pass over our desk, and we lament not having the time to attend or participate in all of them.

We are pleased to report that this year, the planets aligned in such a way that we will be able to join the celebration during the Living Arts and Science Center Day of the Dead Festival at the Old Episcopal Burying Ground in Lexington.

We are creating an altar honoring late Kentucky artists with Kentucky-centric ofrendas. Our intention is to be faithful to the spirit of the traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration, while offering a cross-cultural interpretation that is also true to the Commonwealth. We look forward to learning and sharing on Nov.1 and, of course, having some fun.

 John Tuska style papel picado

Papel picado we made in the style of John Tuska, one of Kentucky’s great artists.

We will feature photos of artists who have passed like Rosemary Clooney, Bill Monroe, Rude Osolnik, Skeeter Davis, James Baker Hall and many others. Ofrendas will include all those foods and items a Kentucky artist might miss if far from home.

Heine Brothers’ Mexico Maya Vinic

There are layers upon layers of meaning in this offering of Heine Brothers’ Mexico Maya Vinic.

It’s inspiring to watch a Day of the Dead celebration become a part of the annual fall landscape in Lexington. This holiday from another country and culture certainly has resonance in a new home. This is likely because the participants — whether first –generation Kentuckians or tenth-generation Kentuckians — place a strong value on remembering those who came before. Nowhere is this value more evident than in our art. You can hear it in our musician’s songs and read in our author’s words. Kentucky’s strong sense of place has as much to with people who walked it and were inspired by it throughout their life, as it does with the land itself.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Folk and Traditional Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What it means to be an artist

When I meet people and they find out I’m a writer, I usually get one of two responses. They look at me as if I do something magical or they tell me about the novel they will write someday in their spare time. Neither response accurately portrays the realities of a life in the creative arts. My poems, stories and plays aren’t gifts from the muse or something that I toss off in my spare time. My work is the result of concentrated effort, intense study and hours of revision.

My stepmother, Betty Layman Receveur, a writer of historical fiction about Kentucky, used to say writing was like digging a ditch. You’d write yourself into a hole and you’d have to keep digging until you found a way out. Given the dedication it takes to create art, not to mention trying to sell it, the key to success is to enjoy the digging.

As I child I saw my father, John Birkett, sitting at the kitchen table pounding out stories while the sun was shining outside. It looked neither easy nor mysterious. He published two mystery novels set around Kentucky racing, “The Queen’s Mare” and “The Last Private Eye,” which will be reissued this fall as e-books.

I interview authors for a website for writers and several of the authors have credited their success to the fact that they refuse to quit writing. They stay committed to the daily practice and improvements of their art.

Of course, we all have dreams of fame and fortune or recognition from our peers, but more often the reality is that our readings and performances are populated not by adoring fans, but by our friends and neighbors. So why write, draw, sculpt, sew, and play music?

We do it because we can’t help ourselves. We do it because, when we are working alone and things are coming together in just the right way, there is no better feeling.

I had the chance to interview three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Alice McDermott on writing and success. To write, McDermott said, is to recreate the world in your own vision.

“It is lovely to have lots of readers and hear that people have been touched by your work. It is great to sell lots of books, but that is fleeting and not enough of a reward for all the sacrifices you will have to make. At the end of the day, I put my best effort forward. The satisfaction of that is the only reliable satisfaction.”

Alice is right.

EBMorris HeadshotEBMorris Surrender Cvr

Ellen Birkett Morris is a writer who lives in Louisville. She is the author of “Surrender,” a poetry chapbook. Her fiction has appeared in journals including The Antioch Review, South Carolina Review and Notre Dame Review.

 

Categories: Literary Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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