In December 2019, I traveled to New York and met with Kōan Jeff Baysa, the incoming Critic-in-Residence (CIR) with the Great Meadows Foundation (GMF) and the elected presider over UnderMain’s fourth running of the Critical Mass Series (CMIV). As we sat in a window seat at Nyonya in NoLita, I shared details on how the Critical Mass Series began and grew and what its impact had been thus far for the arts in Kentucky.
I explained my original concerns about the lack of critical writing and the ongoing battle against stereotypical notions of Kentucky as a backwater, and that Critical Mass had become my passion. Over the last three years, I reached out to various leaders in our community and worked with interns, artists, and writers to include their voices. UnderMain funded the program in its entirety. Then, in 2019, The Great Meadows Foundation recognized our efforts and the similar goals for developing Kentucky’s collective voice in the world of contemporary art and granted funding to UnderMain to support CMIV, CMV, and CMVI.
Kōan had visited Kentucky before and from the range of topics that flowed through appetizer to entree to tea, I knew CMIV would succeed on a grander scale than in years past. UnderMain founded this event in 2016 with one thing in mind: that we might bring together many voices and discuss the role of contemporary art in general and criticism in particular. I could see that our goals were to be far exceeded as Koan’s approach was clearly global.
Two topics, in particular, remained at the forefront of my mind: First, Kōan’s comments after speaking with Fred Wilson about the museological approach underpinning his installation at the Maryland Historical Society titled Mining the Museum – namely to challenge all narratives presented to us – and second, Kōan’s intrigue with The Rubin Museum, which I later toured for the first time. This was a remarkable collection of contemporary works in conversation with the collection of Himalayan art. These talking points were harbingers of what would develop in the coming months with Kōan leading the 2020 Critical Mass Series – open discourse was at the center of both.
The Wilson and Rubin discussions would also lead an exhibition proposal that UnderMain agreed to mount in partnership with 21c Museum Hotel and the GMF, Icon Interventions, which Kōan curated and discusses further in the interview conducted with him here.
Kōan later joked that our lunch had ranged from ‘cabbages to kings’ and that was just the beginning. Under usual circumstances, he was to spend approximately eighty hours in Kentucky artists’ studios and help raise the level of critical discourse among artists in the region.
In March 2020, the circumstance was far from usual, and while the pandemic robbed us all of what we might have done together, what we could have learned first hand from Kōan Jeff Baysa, and what outcomes we may have been able to build upon for 2021, it also meant the residency spanned four months and influenced many more conversations than we had anticipated.
Kōan requested that I include the caveat that his findings revealed in this interview are in no way comprehensive of the Kentucky art scene, that all errors and omissions are his alone, and that his comments are based on limited observations with mostly personal impressions guiding him.
CH: How many artists did you visit across the state of Kentucky?
KJ: Over the two months (Feb-March 2019) that I was invited to serve as the third Critic-in-Residence (CIR) for the Great Meadows Foundation (GMF), and for the two additional months (April-May) prompted by the advent of the COVID-19
SARS CoV-2 contagion, I interfaced with just short of ninety individuals in Kentucky’s creative communities. For the first six weeks these interactions were actual studio visits, then via virtual interviews, successively from the INhouse in New Albany, to a private apartment in NuLu, and then the Speed Mansion in Old Louisville.
CH: How did you determine which artists to include?
KJ: Some groundwork had been laid when I made my first visit to Louisville in 2005. I did a studio visit with Steve Irwin, was introduced to Julien Robson at the Speed Museum, met Ed Hamilton in his studio, visited Zephyr Gallery, and toured 21C in its original location. Fast forward to 2020. In the interim, Steve passed, Swanson Gallery closed, and 21C grew to nine locations, among other changes. As a curator and critic, in the fifteen-year period of living in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and New York City,
I heard nothing about the Kentucky contemporary art scene. I wasn’t able to keep track of what was happening in Kentucky contemporary art.
In advance of my arrival in Kentucky on the first of February 2020, the Great Meadows Foundation
kindly informed me that let me know they had hired an intern, Anna Olivia Blake, to work as my assistant. She was a pleasure to work with; she is since she was a local resident and enrolled in the curatorial studies program run by Chris Reitz at the Hite Institute of the University of Louisville. In preparation, I remarked that “my tastes are quite catholic . . . (gesturing quotes) with a ‘small c’.” I told her of my specific interests in everything outside the mainstream art world: the intersection of art and science, underrepresented communities, especially the differently enabled, the incarcerated, LGBTQA, Asian and native American artists, performance art, outsider art, art with novel uses of materials and surprising concept. In retrospect I also wish that I had been [voiced an interest in?] able to experience more new media, chemosensory, and sound works. With foresight, early on in my role as Critic-in-Residence, Al Shands and Julien Robson had the foresight to host hosted a sit-down a dinner with a dozen leaders from Kentucky arts organizations along with and two large groups of artists. As my customary an icebreaker, I asked individual artists to introduce themselves to the rest of the group. This is the first time that this simple strategy had been implemented, and it The icebreaker generated conversations between adjacent “strangers,” all of whom were all members of the same creative community but were heretofore largely previously unaware oblivious of their neighbors’ roles and contributions. I largely met my goal of meeting every artist present, encouraging each to contact me for a studio visit as Anna helped collate the lists of artists. Naturally curious, another favorite strategy is to ask artists to recommend other artists.
It was my first time meeting the group of four women artists funded by GMF to experience the 58th Venice Biennale 2019: Sandra Charles, Toya Northington, Ramona Lindsey, and Lucy Azubuike. As I settled into my role as CIR, I attended openings, panel discussions, poetry slams, and other gatherings. One of the
very first openings in Louisville that I attended was African-American Women: Celebrating Diversity in Art at Kore Gallery, celebrating February commemorating Black History Month. I was introduced to the respected artist Elmer Lucille Allen.
At KMAC’s poetry slam Anna introduced me to visual artist Lance Newman who organized the impressive showcase of talent that evening. An invitation by Ramona Lindsey, Program Officer at Hadley Creatives, to conduct crits [jargon — either define or choose another known word] offered another
grand opportunity to meet artists. Visiting regional art collectors and viewing their collections was another a good way of getting to know works and artists in concentrated forums. Larry Shapin and Ladonna Nicola focus primarily on collecting and displaying the works of Kentucky artists displayed in their capacious spacious home, and are now planning another structure on the property for art. Gil Holland, who is credited with branding and developing the NuLu and Portland neighborhoods, gave me a virtual walkthrough of his home collection. John Edwards and Erik Eaker generously shared their select private collection with me. I was privileged to have more than several walkthroughs of the extensive art at Al Shands’ s Foxhill Farms home and grounds. Invitations to private homes for properly socially distanced meals provided additional opportunities to see works by local artists: dinner at gallerist Susan Moremen’s with artist Gaela Ewin, and lunch with the retired pioneer photography educator CJ Pressman and the former zoo curator Marcelle Gianelloni, who have amassed an astounding collection of regional folk art and contemporary photography. Chris Radtke15, one of the founders of Zephyr Gallery, gave a gracious tour of her home, her artwork, and extensive art collection. In addition [to what?] are corporate collections, for example, as in the offices of the Community Foundation of Louisville hung with artworks collected by Henry Heuser Jr.
CH: What regions of the state did you reach?
KJ: While my directive was to see artists living within the one hundred twenty counties of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and two adjacent counties across the Ohio River in Indiana, I went north to attend a panel discussion at the Kennedy Heights Art Center featuring Kentucky artists John Brooks and Kiah Celeste in Cincinnati; south to Western University Kentucky in Bowling Green to see artists and instructors Yvonne Petkus and Kristina Arnold, en route to Nashville where Tiffany Calvert and Josh Azzarella were opening their joint exhibition at Tinney Contemporary, and east past Lexington en route to visit Melissa and Adam Yungbluth and photographer Robyn Moore at Morehead State University as well as the nearby imperiled Kentucky Folk Art Museum. Through the kindness of Alice Gray Stites, Chief Curator and Museum Director, and Nico Jorcino, Director of Museum Design & Planning, of the 21C Museum Hotels, arrangements were made for me to stay at and tour the current shows and collections at locations in Lexington, Nashville, and Cincinnati.
I was fortunate to get in touch with creatives and organizers working near and in Appalachia. With prior affiliations to Appalshop, Lacy Hale and Robert Gipe gave insights into the hardships of surviving as artists and art advocates in the area. Writers for Affrilachia, Crystal Wilkinson and Frank X Walker gave strong insights into the origins of Black art, craft and literature in Appalachia. Closer in, I was
also able to visit then the current shows: Black Before I Was Born curated by Ashley Cathey at the Roots 101 African-American Roots101: African American Museum founded by Lamont Collins; the beautifully installed solo show by Megan Bickel at the Georgetown College Gallery; the handiwork of Danny Seim and the art installed at the Portland Museum; and a chance to meet Daniel Pfalzgraf who curated the work of Eke Alexis in Permanent and Natural at the Carnegie Center in New Albany. Given the opportunity, I would have further explored lesser-known art venues, researched more black artists and queer artists in Appalachia and visited the artist Julie Baldyga. I had plans for explorations to Paducah further to the west, Whitesburg to the east, and Covington in the north, but the pandemic truncated those travel plans.
CH: What genres were represented by the artists you visited?
KJ: All 2D and 3D genres were well represented, and I was especially interested in works that crossed disciplines and combined platforms, so I specifically reached out to Teddy Abrams, widely acclaimed Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra; Robert Curran, the iconoclastic Artistic Director of the Louisville Ballet, and Matt Wallace, the Director/Facilitator of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. In other genres, I approached Edward Taylor in fashion, Amberly Simpson in dance, and Jane Jones, a playwright. Fortunate to be given a tour of the artworks installed in the expansive UK HealthCare Center in Lexington, I am grateful to Jason Akhtarekhavari, the Manager of the UK Arts in HealthCare program. I also wish to acknowledge the art programs at outdoor sculpture parks that expand the scope of contemporary art experiences for the public, especially for school age youths and for hosting international artist-in-residence programs. I was invited by Jenny Zeller, the Visual Arts Coordinator at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest to tour artworks installed on the
extensive grounds. Besides the wildly popular Forest Giants, especially notable is Earth Measure (2013) the large sculptural installation by Matt Weir. Similarly, Josephine Sculpture Park Director Melanie Van Houten gave me a tour of the installations in the landscape. Near the entrance is a remarkable installation by Lucy Azubuike whose arc of tall poles presents a preview of tree-based pareidolia found in the park and constitutes the basis for exciting discoveries by children within the park. Innovative Louisville exhibition spaces include the exhibition space Houseguest, the front room of the home of artist Megan Bickel and chef Jacob Wilson. Art-related dinners are hosted in that same space. Sheherazade [does Leidner intentionally spell this differently? Scheherazade] is the converted downstairs garage space of the studio home of Julie Leidner. On a busily trafficked street, the shows are observed through windows in the rollup garage door.
CH: What are some themes or topics that the artists you visited seem to hold in common?
This is an excellent question, answered elsewhere in this interview. Identity politics of race, gender, and class are being universally addressed. Artists can be effective catalysts for change, so the crucial issues of segregation, homelessness, opioid addiction, institutionalized incarceration, toxic masculinity, serial exploitation of Appalachia, and other hot-button topics, could be further addressed ?. Critical discourses are hampered in part by a culture of regimented politeness and lingering segregation. The consequences of fracturing the state into 120 counties is complicated further by the underrepresentation of Asian-American, LGBTQ, and indigenous artists that may be the combined result of immigration patterns, discrimination, and a wish to remain under the radar. Skylar Smith’s40 exhibition Ballot Box, at Louisville Metro Hall was particularly illuminating. Brianna Harlan’s41 installation that chronicled her grandmother being denied voting because she, on command by a voting site official, allegedly sang the Star Spangled Banner off-key, was especially arresting and poignant. I appreciate the energy and dedication that self-taught artist Jaylin Stewart invests in her painted portrait s series that she also executes in chalk on city streets. I was not able to experience the powerful poetry and performances of Hannah Drake but we spoke about her forceful enacted oratories on the subject of social justice. I was struck by the art of Thaniel Ion Lee, whose art which transcends physical restrictions and takes flight in highly detailed drawings, photo self-portraits, fine digital images, and instructional word-images.
CH: Does ‘Kentucky art’ have a distinguishing character of its own?
Another excellent question, answered in part elsewhere. Some may look to the KMAC Triennial as an example, but I am not aware of any characteristics that would distinguish works as “Kentucky art.” When I posed the question regarding the existence of a “School of Kentucky Art” and what Kentucky art is known for, the conversation often turned to the crafts in Kentucky, especially art from Appalachia. The acronym KMAC The institution’s name – Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft – reflects that institution’s its historical emphasis on craft, and evokes longstanding discussions regarding art and craft. When conducting a straw poll on “famous Kentucky artists” the names mentioned most often included Ed Hamilton, Keltie Ferris, Lititia Quesenberry, and Steve Irwin. Hamilton is a world-renown sculptor based in Louisville. Ferris, who lives and works in Brooklyn, is known as an artist from Kentucky locally noted for having “made it” by being represented by an established gallery in Manhattan. Quesenberry has also shown in New York, lives and works in Louisville, noted for her work with light installations, and her work with the Louisville Ballet. Irwin was an acclaimed, charismatic, and beloved Louisville artist famous for his hedonistic lifestyle. Undergoing cardiac bypass surgery in his 20s, he bore a precarious cardiac status and died at age 51 of a massive heart attack. Certainly not to the exclusion of other organizations, I acknowledge the significant contributions of the Great Meadows Foundation, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the insightful leadership of artist director John Brooks at Quappi Projects, and the adept stewardship of Susan Moremen in directing her eponymous gallery. I am grateful to Warhol Grant awardee Paul Michael Brown in Lexington for introducing me to Institute 193 and its mission of championing quality relevant works over commercial viability.
CH: Are there a few artists whose work really stood out?
KJ: Of course, but I’m chary of generating a list because I’ll invariably forget to mention someone that I wish I had, and always in hindsight.
That said, since I’m also very much interested in surprising processes and the novel manipulation of material; I’m totally entranced by the approach that Vian Sora employs to initiate her stunning abstract paintings with evolving figurative references. The scale of her polyptychs approximate immersive experiences. The fabric-based series by Crystal Gregory revolve around her concept of “material interrogation” that involves the astonishing use of cloth in conjunction with glass, pewter, and concrete. The head of the glass program at the Hite Art Institute of the University of Louisville, Che Rhodes demonstrates his creative mettle of working outside of the mainstream glass studio practice with controlled explosion glass-withinglass pieces.
By layering digital and physical masking, digital printing and painting, a particular series by Tiffany Calvert reads as Dutch still lifes with technologic flourishes. Having studied traditional Asian ceramic glazing and firing techniques, Ian Pemberton challenges himself by altering the processes from engineering perspectives to produce “relics for the future.” In addition, I like the scaled-up scratched mirror pieces by Jacob Heustis, the repurposing of metal and wood, experimental cast metal work by Andrew Marsh, driven by a personal history of physical trauma and chronic pain and the brilliant epoch-collapsing social commentary collages of Stan Squirewell. Having studied at the University of Kentucky, Jamaica-born Ebony Patterson creates eye-dazzling socially conscious large-scale works that are placed in many collections, including in several of the 21C Museum Hotels. From Cambodia, Vinhay Keo creates self-referential photographs, performances, and installations that embody an important rising immigrant voice. Having completed his studies at the Kentucky College of Art and Design, the talented artist now lives and works in Los Angeles.
Among the several artists that working with fabric, the standout is the quilted work of Penny Sisto for her exquisitely detailed large-scale portraits of select iconic individuals. I’m fascinated with the scope of concepts tackled by Mary Carothers, especially her ambitious encasing an entire car frozen in ice. I was enchanted by my studio visit with Cynthia Norton and her performances as alter ego “Ninnie Noises Nonesuch” of rural Kentucky accompanied by her self-made musical instruments. I have yet to see the finished sculpture that Maker’s Mark commissioned Matt Weir to create. Over two separate visits totaling nearly hours, I reviewed his tremendous range of works and was particularly impressed with the specialised tools that the artist invented and built for the precision work required to execute Earth Measure and his current commission.
CH: We understand that you were able to connect artists with larger art world experiences, can you elaborate on those?
KJ: I habitually make individualized recommendations to artists with each encounter. These include suggestions of reference articles, other works of art, and art residencies with whom I am affiliated: Omi International Arts Center, Residency Unlimited, iBiennale, Joshua Treenial (California), Fresh Winds Biennale (Iceland), Kaus Australis (Netherlands), Young Congo Biennale (DR Congo), and other connections. My written recommendations made for the artists of Hadley Creatives were copied and collected by its program officer. As CIR, I was first generously housed at INhouse, in the Silver Hills section of New Albany. I envisioned it as a meeting place for artists. Unfortunately, grand plans for a multisensory dining event fell through at the last minute. On one evening, Julien organized an introductory meeting with members of the critical discourse group Ruckus. The event that I was happiest with was an elaborate meet-and-greet event that centered around the four female artists from Kentucky who were funded by the Great Meadows Foundation to experience the most recent Venice Biennale. I coordinated a potluck BYOB event of ten artists, each of whom was asked to bring a guest. Each person was then expected to share his/her/their work with the group. The happening encouraged lively dinner conversations, enthusiastic discussions of the presentations, and the making of new friends and potential collaborations.
The other large opportunity that was scuttled by the pandemic was Icon Interventions at the 21C Museum Hotel in Lexington. The concept was to have works by Kentucky artists in conversation with works in the then current exhibition Pop Stars!. Supported chiefly by 21C, Great Meadows Foundation, and UnderMain, the associated conference, Critical Mass IV – led by Christine Huskisson – was drawing audiences from New York, Cincinnati, Nashville, and elsewhere. It was a golden opportunity to showcase art by Kentucky artists, introducing them to larger audiences of curators, museum directors, critics, bloggers, and others from outside of the state. I offered to support the application of a Kentucky artist with arthrogryposis to a funded position at Omi International Arts Center in upstate New York. An artist with the same condition was invited to the residency program several years ago and I shared that artist’s work with the potential applicant. Another instance was referring Lititia Quesenberry to the career of friend Eric Orr, a California Light and Space artist whose works were previously unknown to her. A further example is putting Mary Carothers, a prior visitor to the Faroe Islands, in conversation with artists Brandur Patursson and his father, well established artists there. I met the island artist when I served as the Curatorial Advisor for the Fresh Winds Biennale VI in Iceland.
CH: How did the regions’ public/communities compare in terms of engagement and support of artists?
KJ: As a bona fide erstwhile farmer producing the gourmet goat cheese, chevre, I’ve often made the analogy of a healthy art ecosystem with a wellbalanced milking stool. In a gross oversimplification, the contemporary art world is made up of a several components that are analogized to the legs that support the stability of the stool: producers (artists), consumers (individual collectors, institutions), and facilitators (gallerists, critics, curators, museum directors, nonprofit facility directors, etc) that work between the two. Art activities in Kentucky are centered mainly around the more populous cities of Lexington and Louisville, and towns with colleges and universities with art departments. Kentucky has an imbalance in the components of the art world ecosystem: a pool of talented producers/artists in all disciplines, modest exhibition-promotional-sales sectors, and a limited consumer/collector base. The more “legs” equitable in position and in length, the more stable the entire structure. The ongoing challenge is how to grow the individual and corporate collector bases to support the artist communities, perhaps from younger generations with wealth, innovative concepts, and new definitions of collecting. There is a disproportionate number of exhibition venues for the numbers of artists. Admirably, Quappi Projects, Roots 101 and the Portland Museum are proactively building diverse audiences and constituencies. Real estate developers, architects, and designers should be engaged in this discussion. The dependence of the Kentucky art market as primarily in-house sales-driven should be reassessed. Critical discourse in Kentucky is ably served by organisations like Ruckus and UnderMain, and should be scaled up. The upcoming careers of curators-in-training at the Hite Institute should be encouraged and supported early on in their careers. Most importantly, active conversations between these various components of the Kentucky art ecosystem should be encouraged and sustained rather than being siloed for that just maintains the status quo.
CH: What steps could/should be taken to strengthen the Kentucky visual arts communities?
KJ: Strive to correct the imbalances as described. This was also answered in part previously. Take initiative. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” -Louis Pasteur. Don’t be shy asking for help. “Not trying guarantees failure 100% of the time.” Take advantage of the resources offered by existing local resources like Great Meadows Foundation, Kentucky Foundation for Women, UnderMain, Louisville Visual Arts, and like organisations. Start with the individual artist. Professional development, available through programs and through personal initiative, is crucial. Artists should be articulate and conversant about their work from a personal perspective and within the larger context of the art world. Read, research, and experiment. Be curious. Satisfy that curiosity. Share resources and knowledge. Form, join, and participate in artist discussion and critique groups, in addition to those in academic settings, of mentors, peers, and juniors is important for personal and professional growth. Become an art collector. It’s not elitist to collect art. Herbert and Dorothy Vogel were civil servants who amassed one of the most important post 1960’s art collections in the U.S. One can start modestly by buying or trading works with other artists. Get to know art dealers and art advisors. Propose an installment plan and/or ask for discount with purchase, as many art dealers are willing to work with collectors. Be mutually supportive. Seek out and attend as many openings, receptions, award ceremonies, campus activities as practical. Introduce yourself to a “new stranger,” an artist you don’t know or whose work you’re unfamiliar with. Discover what you have in common or just make a new friend. Be voracious in looking at art.
If you feel that you’ve seen everything in your town, travel to see exhibitions whenever possible, whether actually or virtually. Proactively invite more people to your studio. If you’ve gone through the “usual suspects” regionally, find out which visiting art persons are around and approach them. Curate an exhibition. Whether solo or group exhibition, the process of mounting an exhibition will be educational. Critique an exhibition. Express yourself. If not for publication with Ruckus or UnderMain, put it on your blog and share it with colleagues. The characteristics of the entity known as “Southern hospitality” include humility, courtesy, good behavior, modesty, and “knowing one’s place,” that results from the fusion of black and white attitudes.(Why the addition of that last statement?) Genteel Southern upbringing discourages disparaging one’s neighbor, especially in smaller communities where everyone knows each other’s business, and particularly in the subpopulations of the art world. This is keenly impactful in the subject of critical discourse in Kentucky, where reviews may be perceived as more descriptive than critical. However, commendable efforts by organisations like
Critical Mass UnderMain and Ruckus are reversing the trend. Surprised to discover that Louisville was among the top ten most segregated cities in the U.S. bracketed by nearby Nashville and Cincinnati, I learned of Louisville’s “Ninth Street Divide.” Acknowledging its Sisyphusean challenge, I encourage and support all measures that support bidirectional porosity and the eventual dissolution of this physical and mental barrier.
CH: Do you feel that the artists in Kentucky have access to enough outlets (galleries, publications, critical review, collectors) to develop their work to its fullest potential?
KJ: No. But access is not just limited to these outlets, for they are moderated by psychological, socio-economic, temporal factors as well. Notably, direct person-to-person communication is effective, but vastly underutilized and integral to professional development. Also see prior responses. And Yes. The internet is a vast ocean of information with remarkable potentials for developing access to these outlets. Also see prior responses. Summation.
CH: What can Kentucky do to begin a collective conversation (together with the artists from all areas of the state) with the larger world of contemporary artists?
KJ: Collective conversations have already been initiated with organizations like Great Meadows Foundation. By funding artist experiences outside of Kentucky, it has importantly extended and increased the exposure of Kentucky artists to the larger world of contemporary art. Again, I cite the funding of Sandra Charles, Toya Northington, Ramona Lindsey, and Lucy Azubuike to the recent Venice Biennale. In addition, GMF’s invitation to Dan Cameron, Natalia Zuluaga, and myself to interface with Kentucky artists
places them within exposes those artists to our respective networks, resources and conversations. certainly for references, sharing resources, and for ongoing discussions.
By attracting well-heeled and well-traveled individuals to the various 21C Museum Hotels and restaurants, this hospitality group plays a significant role in increasing exposure to and awareness of the Kentucky artists’ works represented in its collections. I viewed my postponed curatorial project, Icon Intervention, at 21C Lexington, as a similar potential force. In addition to changing exhibitions at the museum, the KMAC Triennial, organized through a committee led by curator Joey Yates, is a welcome format encouraging further dialogues between Kentucky artists while fostering attention from beyond the borders of the state. National and international art events, including biennials, art fairs, and group exhibitions offer more opportunities for Kentucky artists to gain further visibility. To gain further insight, fundamental questions should be pondered:
- Do Kentucky artists want these conversations or are many satisfied with the status quo?
- What are the motivations, goals, and desired results to have these conversations?
- Rising artist KV moved away to pursue further education. Will this artist return? Why or why not?
- Talented artist CT moved to Kentucky for a faculty position and lower living expenses. How does one encourage this artist to stay?
- How does one attract other talented artists to come and settle here?
- WM has the skills and reputation that could serve this artist well in larger cities like Los Angeles and New York.
- What keeps this artist in Kentucky?
- How does Kentucky keep this artist from moving away for other opportunities in larger cities?
To be fair, my comments are made with the presumption that artists hunger to extend their reach further. Some may not. There may be a case for maintaining the status quo. In the exhibition catalog for Here, contributor Mark Harris remarks,
“Paradoxically, the circumstances that prevent this art from circulating at a national level are the same that enable it to gain its distinctive local color and depth.” Throughout my rewarding
four month four-month long experience as Critic-inResidence for the Great Meadows Foundation, it’s been a distinct honor and an absolute pleasure to work with all of you and especially with several extraordinarily gifted artists. I am invested in the creative communities of Kentucky, especially Louisville (this runs counter to your earlier advice to rid our system of ‘siloing’ factors), and offer my continued support and friendship from Los Angeles, Honolulu, and New York.
Mahalo nui loa!
1 Anna Olivia Blake, GMF assistant 2 Chris Reitz, with Joey Yates, Henry Heuser Jr. at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts 3 Al Shands, Julien Robson, Koan 4 Dinner at Al’s with art community leaders 5 1st group of artists at Al’s 6 2nd group of artists at Al’s 7 Venice Four: Sandra Charles, Toya Northington, Ramona Lindsey, Lucy Azubuike 8 Elmer Lucille Allen at Kore Gallery opening 9 Lance Newman at KMAC poetry slam 10 Ramona Lindsey at Kore Gallery opening 11 Larry Shapin and Ladonna Nicola in their home; Julien 12 John Brooks and Erik Eaker; Ramona Lindsey, Toya Northington 13 Dinner with Susan Moremen and Gaela Erwin, Susan’s home 14 CJ Pressma and Marcelle Gianelloni in their home 15 Chris Radtke in her home 16 John Brooks and Kiah Celeste, panel discussion at Kennedy Heights Art Center, IN 17 Yvonne Petkus at Western Kentucky University 18 Kristina Arnold at Western Kentucky University 19 Tiffany Calvert studio visit, Hite Institute 20 Josh Azzarella at home 21 Melissa and Jason Yuthblud, Morehead State University 22 Robyn Moore at Morehead State University 23 Alice Gray Stites, Chief Curator and Museum Director; Nico Jorcino23, Director Of Museum Design and Planning, 21C Museum Hotels 24 Lacy Hale, Appalachia 25 Robert Gipe Appalachia 26 Crystal Wilkinson, Affrilachia 27 Frank X Walker, Affrilachia 28 Curator, Ashley Cathey; Lamont Collins, Director at Roots 101 29 Megan Bickel, Jacob Wilson, Kōan, art collectors at Georgetown College Gallery 30 Danny Seim, Portland Museum 31 Eke Alexis’s work in Permanent and Natural at Carnegie Center, New Albany 32 Matt Wallace, Director/Facilitator of Shakespeare Behind Bars program 33 Edward Taylor, fashion designer 34Jason Akhtarekhavari, Manager, Arts in HealthCare Program, UK HealthCare Center 35 Jenny Zeller, Visual Arts Coordinator, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest 36 Matt Weir sculpture, Earth Measure, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest 37 Lucy Azubuike, Josephine Sculpture Park 38 Megan Bickel, Jacob Wilson, Guesthouse 39 Julie Leidner, Sheherazade 40 Skylar Smith, Ballot Box exhibition 41 Brianna Harlan, Ballot Box exhibition 42 Jaylin Stewart 43 Thaniel Ion Lee, Moremen Gallery 44 Letitia Quesenberry, studio 45 Steve Irwin, early magazine work 46 John Edward Brooks in his studio 47 Paul Michael Brown, Institute 193, Lexington 48 Vian Sora, home studio 49 Crystal Gregory, Office of Al Shands 50 Che Rhodes, Hite Institute 51 Tiffany Calvert, Hite Institute 52 Ian Pemberton 53 Jacob Heustis in his studio 54 Andrew Marsh 55 Stan Squirewell, at home studio 56 Ebony Patterson, large work with C21 Nashville gallery guide 57 Vinhay Keo 58 Penny Sisto 59 Mary Carothers 60 Cynthia Norton aka “Ninnies Noises Nonesuch” 61 Matt Weir at Maker’s Mark 62 Sandra Charles 63 Toya Northington 64 Joey Yates, KMAC Curator