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Spotlight on the Arts | Let Your Gift Tell a Story

Shop local for the holidays, support Kentucky artists

By Chris Cathers

U.S. Army veteran Damon Farmer of Woodford County contributed this acrylic on canvas piece, “Visualize a Future Peace,” for The Kentucky Veteran Project exhibit taking place at Gallery on the Square in Franklin through mid-January.

The holidays are upon us and that means searching for meaningful gifts for our friends and loved ones. As always, the Kentucky Arts Council encourages you to shop locally and to seek out gifts that have a story behind them.

Chris Cathers is interim executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.

The arts council’s Kentucky Crafted directory is always a great place to start. The directory is represented by more than 450 of Kentucky’s best visual and craft artists, and each of them can help you find a gift that is unique.

This year, the arts council added nine artists to the directory, each with their own distinctive style. We hope you’ll check them out as you consider your holiday gift giving.

The new Kentucky Crafted program artists are:

• Robert Bridges (Rob Bridges Illustration), Georgetown, painting

• Margaret Cooney (Cooney Pottery), Elizabethtown, ceramics

• Michelle Hayden (Michelle Hayden Fine Art), Richmond, sculpture

• Edward Lawrence (Zedz Press), Frankfort, photography

• Sharon Matisoff, Frankfort, painting

• David Neace, Nicholasville, painting

• Lakshmi Sriraman (Lakshmi’s Studio), Lexington, painting

• Teresa Webb (Worker Bee Sewing Co.), Berea, fiber art

• Mary Ann Woolery-Bussey (Blue Lick Hollow), Berea, fiber art

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You can find more information on these artists, and many more in the online Kentucky Crafted directory, artistdirectory.ky.gov.

If you want to shop in locations that are selling the work of several Kentucky Crafted artists, look no further than our list of Kentucky Crafted Retailers. These retailers offer a wide variety of merchandise and actively promote the Kentucky Crafted brand. For a complete list of Kentucky Crafted Retailers, visit the Kentucky Crafted Retailer page on our website, artscouncil.ky.gov/KAC/Creative/retailers.htm.

You can also find Kentucky Crafted artists represented among the offerings at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. Just off Interstate 75 in Berea, this spacious facility features the work of more than 800 Kentucky artisans creating every category of modern and traditional crafts; two-dimensional art and other visual arts; music; books; film; and specialty foods. In addition to featuring work by Kentucky Crafted artists, the artisan center sells work by artists from other prestigious programs like the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

Happy holidays, and please remember to shop locally.

The Kentucky Veteran Project Exhibit

In last month’s column, we told you about a new traveling exhibit the arts council launched called The Kentucky Veteran Project. The exhibit has completed its successful inaugural month at the state Capitol in Frankfort, and is now on the road. You can see it at Gallery on the Square, 110 N. Main St. in Franklin through mid-January.

We were thrilled to receive several submissions to this exhibit that highlight the artwork of military veterans and their families. This exhibit features 43 pieces by 41 artists and one piece that was a collaborative project by members of a Trigg County American Legion post. The selection process was difficult, but we believe the end result is a true representation of outstanding artwork from Kentucky’s military veterans and their families.

In addition to a select number of galleries or other public spaces around Kentucky, The Kentucky Veteran Project exhibit will visit each of the state’s veterans health centers in Hazard, Wilmore, Hanson and Radcliff. This geographic distribution will help ensure that all Kentuckians are able to enjoy this spectacular collection of art.

Our goal with this exhibit is to highlight the creativity of our own veterans while honoring their sacrifices and service to our country. We are also working with the state veterans centers to develop meaningful healing-arts programming.

The artwork in this collection is first-rate, representing a wide range of subject matter and mediums. The subject matter ranges from very personal reflections on war and sacrifice to pride and patriotism.

We wanted to give the artists the opportunity to express themselves without asking them to fit a theme, and the result is spectacular. What we received is an eye-opening reflection of what military service means for veterans and their families. We are excited to receive feedback from folks around the state about this important display of artwork.

Chris Cathers is interim executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.