Film production crews and designers looking for well-crafted, period-correct articles for film sets often turn to the wealth of talented artisans in Kentucky. Many have had their original works as well as period reproduction works used in film and television.
Kentucky artist Phil Phillips of Dixie Leather Works in Paducah has created reproduction props for more than 40 major films. His period-accurate reproduction leather works have been included in such films as “The Alamo,” “God’s & Generals,” “Gangs of New York,” “Gettysburg,” “Amistad, “The Civil War” and the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
He has produced theatrical props for Turner Cinema Inc., Stephen Spielberg’s Dreamworks, Lakeside Production and Blue Sky Films among others.
Third-generation broom maker Richard N. Henson of Symsonia creates brooms like his father and grandfather before him and has had them used in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Martha Stewart Living” as well as for the Leeds, England, ballet “Angels in the Architecture.”
When production crews for Robert Redford’s recently released “The Conspirator,” set in 1865, were looking for historically accurate items they turned to Heidi Sanner of Candle Bee Farm for tapers made using traditional methods and organic beeswax produced by her own bees.
When the 1989 Bruce Willis movie “In Country” was filmed nearby, Creatures of Habit in Paducah began what has become a continuous association with film industry costumers and prop designers. It has 17,000 costumes for rental or purchase and has supplied costumes and props for “Titanic,” “Pleasantville,” “A League of Their Own” and numerous PBS documentaries.
There are many other artists across the state whose work has appeared in films not mentioned in this article.
Products from Candle Bee Farm, Dixie Leather Works and hand-crafted brooms by a number of Kentucky artisans are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, which has hosted more than 1.4 million visitors since 2003.
Bill Sets FY11 Funding for NEA
Kentucky Arts Council is still awaiting word on 2011 grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts after Congress and the president reached an agreement in mid-April to provide $155 million for NEA.
The continuing resolution for 2011 that passed the House in February would have reduced arts endowment funding to $124.4 million. The new continuing resolution instructed federal agencies, including the NEA, to provide Congress within 30 days of enactment of the bill with a detailed spending plan for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.
In 2010, the Kentucky Arts Council received a state partnership grant of nearly $865,000, which makes up almost one-fourth of KAC’s annual budget. It supports grant programs, artist residencies in schools, touring exhibitions, performances and arts events. It is also key to providing operating support to Kentucky Arts Partnership organizations, which in turn bring the performing, visual, literary and media arts to rural, urban and suburban communities across the commonwealth.
KAC Awards Artist Residency Grants
The Kentucky Arts Council has awarded $21,600 in Teacher Initiated Program grants for short-term artist residencies in the fall. These grants give professional artists an opportunity to demonstrate their art forms and provide students and teachers repeated hands-on experiences in the making of art. Artists also collaborate with teachers to design and implement innovative programs that provide the tools to continue incorporating art across the curriculum after the residency is completed.
Grant amounts are based on the length of residencies, which can be one to four weeks; awards are $540, $1,080, $1,620 and $2,160, respectively. Altogether, 40 weeks of residencies have been funded through this semi-annual round of the Teacher Initiated Program.