Of The Arts
Growing art show
bright future for Oldham Co. artists
Helen E. McKinney
(June, 2002) LA GRANGE, Ky. With plans for a new
Arts and Education Center under way in Crestwood, Ky., and a growing
arts festival in June in La Grange, the Oldham County arts community
is on a fast track.
The new Crestwood building will enable the association to expand by
giving it a permanent home and the opportunity to establish a basic
networking system with professional associations, according to Debbie
Cherie Joplin, a member of the Oldham County Arts Association.
One major undertaking of the association is its second
annual Arts on the Green festival, scheduled for June 1-2 in La Grange.
Both local and non-resident artists will have booths set up on the courthouse
square and around the Oldham County History Center from 9 a.m. to 6
p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Such programs rely heavily on community support for their continuation.
The city has been working beautifully with us, said Joplin
of the juried art show.
After last years success, the association has added a second day
to its art show. People in the community were very encouraging
last year, said Joplin.
There are approximately 40 artists scheduled to display their art. Joplin
said that this year the number of artists was limited so that quality
could be kept high.
The Merchants Extrava-ganza Sale, formerly known as the April
Street Fair, was moved to June 1 to coincide with Arts on the Green.
That event is sponsored by the La Grange Business Association and previously
took place the weekend before the Kentucky Derby. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
shoppers can spend the whole day in town, said Karen Eldridge,
owner of Karens Book Barn and an association member.
This event originally started as a sidewalk sale. This year were
going back to that idea, Eldridge said. No special events are
planned such as last years ballroom dancing activities, because
organizers decided that the arts are the entertainment, she said.
We want people to come and find all kinds of things to shop for,
said Joplin. These events will work in conjunction with one another
to expand the countys reputation as a center where all artists
can gather, said Sandra Graves, Arts Association president.
Another effort by the Arts Association to attract more visitors to La
Grange is its sixth annual 2-D indoor art exhibit. The exhibit will
be housed upstairs in the Oldham County History Center from June 1-13.
On May 31, an opening reception will be held.
This exhibit will by judged by John P. Begley, gallery director at the
Hite Art Institute of the University of Louisville. The Hite Art Institute
is the largest Kentucky university art department, with 21 fulltime
faculty plus established annual endowed positions for visiting scholars.
Its three gallery spaces occupy more than 3,250 square feet in Schneider
Hall on the Belknap Campus.
The Hite Art Institute offers hands-on art instruction in 10 different
studio areas, such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and
art education. In addition, the Institute also provides research and
creativity resources through its well-established cooperative programs.
For 19 years, Begley was the director of the Louisville Visual Art Association.
During that time he became acquainted with David Thurmond, an Oldham
County Board of Education employee who is spearheading the Arts and
Education Center project in Crestwood.
Begley said he was aware that Thurmond had been working with the community
to establish a center similar to the Artopia concept in Louisville that
combines visual arts, dance and drama.
It is a great idea, and Im sure the county will both benefit
and support such an integrated approach to serving the public with arts
programs, Begley said.
Begley also teaches curatorial studies as part of the new Masters of
Arts program at U of L.
He is a practicing artist as well, working in a variety of media, including
printmaking, which was his major in college.
Begley also paints and recently became involved in mixed media, including
A Salem, Ind., native, Begley said he juries three to six shows annually
and has served as a panelist for arts councils in Indiana, Kentucky
Florida and Ohio, as well as the Institute for Museum and Library services
of the federal government.
Fifi LeFan Grattis is an established artist in Oldham County who believes
the proposed Arts Center can stand on its own laurels after creation.
It doesnt need to compare with the Louisville Visual Arts
Grattis views the center as a great idea, especially for children. She
has taught art camps at her home and said art training is a hard thing
to find unless individuals are willing to travel to Louisville.
Having no art training until high school, Grattis said, If given
good quality instruction, children will do more than adults, because
they will not be inhibited by fear.
Grattis said that such a center would be an asset to the personality
of the community.
For information about Arts on the Green, call
Joplin at (502) 243-2642. To inquire about the art exhibit, call Graves
at (502) 225-0752.
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