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Glass Master

Artist Klem returns to take part in Oldham Art at CityPlace show

She displays, sells her work
at locations throughout the area

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2017) – La Grange, Ky., is not a big town. The business district is only a few blocks long and is cut in half by a working railroad track. Packed between restaurants and the other usual assortment of businesses that could be found in any small town are a variety of art and curiosity shops.
Gallery 104 stands out like a small jewel when a first-time visitor turns off KY Hwy. 53, the main road into town on to Main Street. Gallery 104 is home of the Arts association of Oldham County. Within the gallery walls are the artists and community leaders who are the driving force behind the Oldham Arts on City Place fall arts show.
The sixth annual Oldham Arts on CityPlace Fall Art Show will take place Nov. 11-12 at CityPlace, 112 N. First Ave. in La Grange. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
One of the artists who work the gallery is Ann Klem, the grand prize winner from last year’s show. She has maintained a booth at the event since the first year.

Photo by John Sheckler

Artist Ann Klem (left) poses with art show director Marion Gibson at Gallery 104 in La Grange, Ky. The case in back of them is filled with artwork by Klem, who won Best of Show at last year’s juried event.

CityPlace is a beautiful venue,” said Klem. “It is very upscale and is a great background for a show.”
Klem said she is excited about the growth of the show.
“The quality of art is growing each year,” Klem said. “As the show grows a reputation, more artists want to come. We couldn’t grow as big as the St. James Court Art Fair. That is huge. But we could grow to be as well known as some of the other really good small shows in the country.”
Klem recalls the excitement about winning the big prize last year.
“It was an interesting experience,” she said. “The judges made at least two passes and asked about the piece and my process for creating it. They talked to everyone who was first place in a category so artists would have an understanding that they have a shot at the grand prize, but it is still one in nine.”
Details about her creative process may have secured her victory.
“My winning piece was not just a chunk of glass, but it had a story behind the way it was created,” she added. “It starts with theft. I stole a big honking icicle from a hillside on the road way, then I used the icicle as a guide to make the shape on the inside of the artwork.”
The finished project took weeks of casting glass.
“It was in the Kiln for almost 10 days,” said Klem.
Klem is no stranger to art exhibitions featuring her work. Her larger pieces are currently on display at Flame Run Gallery in Louisville, Ky., through Nov. 11.
“My big sculptures are there,” said Klem. “It is a one-woman show.”
She is also scheduled to have a show at the Kore Gallery at the Mellwood Art Center in Louisville starting Dec. 4-31.
Klem said she likes the Art on CityPlace show because the organizers treat the artists very well.
“They are constantly doing great things for the artists,” she said. “They serve a breakfast, and there are volunteers there to help the artists unload. They have a good reputation for taking care of the artists.”
“We will do anything on the planet to take care of our artists,” said event organizer Marion Gibson.
One of the things Gibson does for the artists is help publicize their work.
“I am very active on our Facebook page,” she said.
“Every day I post the artists who are participating. The No. 1 motivation for the artists is to sell their work. The No. 2 motivation is to vie for the Best of Show ribbon,
The $350 awarded for the top prize is not the only way artists can profit from showing their work.
“There are also nine categories with ribbons for first, second and third place,” said Gibson. “First Place in each category has a $150 prize.”
Gibson and others started the show six years ago when one of the patrons wanted to create an indoor art show. The arts association and the YMCA were together in the first three years.
“It was in the YMCA indoor soccer arena,” said Gibson. “It was a huge place but had a warehouse feel.
Three years ago, the Arts Association took it over at CityPlace.”
CityPlace is within sight of the Gallery 104 building. It is a short walk around the corner.
“The new location is thanks to George Rawlings,” said Gibson. “He is one o the biggest employers in the county. He refurbished three buildings. One is now the Chamber of Commerce, and the other two are used for events. It is just lovely.”
Moving the art show to CityPlace was an immediate success.
“We filled it up the first year,” Gibson continued. “There is only room for 65 booths, so we are now selling outside booths. We have seven so far. The city built a new parking lot, so that means it will be easy for visitors to get to the show easily.”
Gibson said she is proud of the wide variety of art available at the show.
“We have many types of art: glass, sculpture, 3-D art in wood and metal, painting and photography,” said Gibson. “We have artists from at least five states: Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Arkansas and Tennessee.
This year we have a new artist from Alaska making sand stone jewelry. The buying public is always excited to see art from artists they have not yet met.”
Artists known in the area are also popular.
“We also have lots of patrons who come back looking for new work from artists they have seen before,” said Gibson. “We have a wide range of types of art and prices. There are handmade art, soaps and lotions selling for under $10 but also art work costing into the thousands.”
There is no music at the fall art show, but there are food trucks. Food trucks were necessary because the inside is filled with art.
“It is a good opportunity for holiday shopping,” Klem added.
“The first year, I bought something from every single artist,” said Gibson. “It was so much fun.”

• For more information, call (502) 222-3822 or visit the Arts Association’s Facebook page.

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