Posts Tagged With: Lexington

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: , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , ,

Kentucky On Stage 2013 with Dale Pyatt

The Kentucky Arts Council will present Kentucky On Stage, a mini booking conference for presenters and afternoon of live performance free and open to the public, from 1 – 5 p.m. Aug. 22, in the William Stamps Farish Theater at the Lexington Public Library

Kentucky On Stage features a slate of artists from the arts council’s Performing Arts Directory, including new acts recently added to the online roster of adjudicated artists. Twelve acts will perform for 15 minutes each during the showcase.

One of those performers, singer-songwriter Dale Pyatt, was just adjudicated into the Performing Arts Directory and will perform at Kentucky On Stage for the first time. An award winning songwriter, Pyatt has penned songs that cross many music genres including Americana, bluegrass, new and classic country, roots, and even island-style music. Pyatt recently answered a few questions for us about the directory and what people can expect from his performance at Kentucky On Stage.

KAC: Why did you want to be part of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Performing Arts Directory?

PYATT: I wanted to be a part of the directory because I’m trying to take my music to a professional level. Being in the directory will allow me to work more professional shows. I would like to be a full-time artist, and I need all the help and support I can get.

KAC: For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe it?

PYATT: My music is original, fun to listen to, and has been nicknamed “BuffettGrass” by some of my friends.

KAC: What can the presenters and audience look forward to during your performance at Kentucky On Stage?

Presenters can look forward to the “Dale Pyatt experience,” and to hearing some of the stories behind my songs. I will also be discussing my singer/songwriter workshop for beginners.

Learn more about Pyatt on his website at http://dalepyatt.com/.

Other showcase performers are:

  • Bob & Susie Hutchison, music, traditional Appalachian and Celtic
  • Hong Shao, music, traditional Chinese
  • Joe Hudson, music, thumbpicking guitar
  • Lexington Children’s Theatre, theater
  • TDH4, music, jazz-blues-originals
  • Squallis Puppeteers, theater
  • Octavia Sexton, storytelling
  • A Girl Named Earl, music, singer-songwriter
  • Diana Dinicola, dance, flamenco
  • Art Mize, music, string band-jazz-bluegrass
  • The Mark Whitley Band, music, Americana

As you can see, we’ve got a great lineup for this year’s showcase, and we hope you’ll consider joining us for the main event next Thursday afternoon. To see a schedule of the day’s events or for more information, visit http://artscouncil.ky.gov/KentuckyArt/KOS13.htm.

Emily B. Moses, communications director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , ,

What I’ve learned from Kentucky writers

Our state has phenomenal writers. Is it the beautiful landscape which inspires our stories? Or is it really something in the water? Some will tell you it’s the supportive literary community found here in Kentucky. Whatever the reason, Kentucky has a number of writers topping the bestseller lists and winning national awards.

I’ve been fortunate to learn from several of them through readings, workshops, and conferences at the Carnegie Center where I work. I’ve gained an education on how to be a better writer, and thought I’d share some of my favorite writing advice with you.

At the Books-in-Progress Conference last year, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Barbara Kingsolver said that the first draft of a novel is always “crap.”  Revision is “making it less crappy.”  Do you know how much better I felt hearing this woman who can write such eloquent and well-crafted words share her honest opinion of her own drafts? There’s hope for us all if we revise, revise, revise!

New York Times Bestselling thriller writer Will Lavender teaches intense workshops on how to start your novel. For many writers, finding where the story really begins and how to begin it is one of the most difficult parts of writing. He recommends studying how successful writers begin their stories. None of them did an information dump or included pages of back story. Often, the first sentences alone provide the hook that makes the reader want to discover what happens next in the story. (Just pull out a novel by former Kentucky Poet Laureate Sena Jeter Naslund; her first sentences always strike me as perfect).

I’ve seen more than a couple of published authors use national award-winning author George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem to inspire workshop attendees to write and write well. The trick is to add specific details that both tell the reader what kind of person your character is and what the character’s life is like. It’s a list poem that tells a story, and teaches us that details add spice to our writing.

Affrilachian poet Crystal Wilkinson knows about characterization. She says if you don’t know what your character would eat for breakfast, then you don’t yet know your character, even if you think your novel is finished. For ideas on building characters, she suggests we take note of the people we see while we’re sitting in rush hour traffic, standing in a crowded room, or passing someone on the sidewalk.  The little details that stick about the people we meet “are the details that were meant to be stuck,” she says. And those details are what breathe life into a character.

At any stage of our writing and writing careers, there is always something to be learned about the craft. Sign up for the Kentucky Literary Newsletter to learn about literary opportunities across the state. As many published writers have said, make time to hone your craft, and no matter what, keep writing!

Jennifer Hester Mattox, Carnegie Center development director & coordinator of the Kentucky Great Writers Series

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

Can a poem still change anything?

On January 22, 2013, the day Alexandra Petri asked this question in an article titled “Is poetry dead?,” seven people in Lexington, Ky., were tattooed with words of their choice from a poem Bianca Spriggs had written as a love letter to, about, and for Lexington.

On the pages of the Washington Post, Petri responded to her own question without skipping a beat: “I think the medium might not be loud enough any longer.” In Lexington, Andreea McClintock and Sonya Sisk showed up at Charmed Life Tattoo at 3 p.m. after carefully rearranging their work schedules in the ER. Because they are friends, they wanted to get their poetic tattoos together.

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Can a poem change anything?

Titled “The _______ of the Universe: A Love Story,” Bianca’s poem challenges the belief that poetry is outdated, irrelevant, and useless, that you might as well put it out of its misery by donating the whole genre to a book drive to be shipped some place where no one speaks its language.

Bianca started her poem by inviting everyone to write with her on her Facebook page. Asking people to fill in the blank of “Lexington is the ______ of the Universe” was like offering free tickets to the opening day of Keeneland, take the grandstand seats and remember the sunscreen!  (“the opening day of Keeneland” became part of the poem when Bianca asked folks to tell her their most beloved places in Lexington.)

At 496 words, including the title, Bianca’s poem is already spread across 247 bodies, soon to be 249. Each day, Bianca’s words stretch, go for a brisk morning run in the dark, carry a newborn, bake chocolate-bacon cookies, drink buttered-rum flavored coffee, and do all the things that make up our daily lives. On January 22 at 2 p.m., Kate Hadfield got tattooed with “and were so busy,” a phrase that reminds her of her ever-busy life as a poet and dancer. When Kate dances, Bianca’s words refuse to sit still; they absolutely refuse to die.

Reading Bianca’s poem is, more often than not, a public act: one that takes place in public and makes it necessary to look at skin, ink, and hair, not yellowing pages. “Hello, fried delicacies!” we shout to Hampton Fisher whose tattoo might just be the funniest. At 8 p.m. on January 22, Mikey Wells got “from” — a word he chose to remind him of where he comes from. Like many others who received Bianca’s words as tattoos, Mikey does not hesitate to take his right shoe off, revealing his part of the whole. His tattoo makes you wonder, “from where?” Mikey is from Lexington.

Can a poem still change anything?

Bianca’s poem—spread like a city-wide mural over 249 bodies—changes our ideas about poetry, tattoos, art and love. “The ________ of the Universe” changes our ideas about a city large enough to adopt so many willing to sink deep roots in Bluegrass soil.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova

****Note: This blog entry is 496 words long, the same length as Bianca’s poem. Reading “The ________ of the Universe” after this blog entry should make it clear that poetry can get a lot more mileage per word than prose.

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

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