The Art Center of the Bluegrass is embracing the energy of spring with a collection of new programs and events. From now through the end of May, visitors can enjoy a new exhibit, a sale of handcrafted garden art, and drop-in family activities.
The current show is New Birth, New Growth, New Beginnings – a juried exhibition which invited artists from throughout the region to respond to the themes of spring.
The show includes paintings, photography, collage, and fiber art, with many pieces celebrating the natural world. For artists Roni Gilpin of Waynesburg and Connie Beale of Danville, crocuses represented the season. Both of their paintings feature the exuberant purple flowers, with Beale taking a surrealist approach to her subject matter.
Flowers also feature in two beautiful portraits in the show. “Lexington in Spring” by Diana Akkila of Lexington and “In Every Woman, A Queen” by Lynda Ross of Danville both feature floral be-decked women. The figures in both paintings resonate with the realities of pandemic life. Akkila’s subject is wearing a mask, while in Ross’s painting, the bottom of her subject’s face is not shown.
All pieces in the show are for sale and the exhibit can be enjoyed in person or on the Art Center’s website.
Running concurrently with the exhibit is the Art Center’s first-ever Spring Sale. The event is modeled on and inspired by the highly-successful Holiday Market that the Art Center curates each holiday season.
For the Spring Sale, artists were asked to provide handcrafted pieces for home and garden. Executive Director Niki Kinkade says, “In the spring, everyone’s minds are on their yards and gardens. It seemed like a good opportunity to encourage the community to buy from artists when designing their outdoor spaces.”
Shoppers will find an array of handmade or hand-embellished pots, some with plants and some without. Artist Laura Bischoff of Mt. Eden, KY is a first-time exhibitor at the Art Center, bringing beautiful succulent pots, hand-painted planters, and tiny decorative vases.
Several artists also created garden stakes, with both ceramic and painted wood options available. Abby Quirk-Royal’s line of ceramic garden gnomes – some with plant varieties stamped on their hats – bring a whimsical approach to this practical item.
For the horticulturally challenged, Danville artist Carrie Snow created beautiful ceramic planters that she filled with artificial succulents. There are also garden-theme tea towels and botanical greeting cards. Mosaic garden rocks by Kate Snyder can be enjoyed indoors or outside.
Visitors to the Art Center can also elect to create their own spring art at the drop-in paint-your-own pottery station, which is open whenever the Art Center is open. Visitors can choose from a selection of plain, unpainted pottery, then add their own artistic flare using provided glazes.
Options include bowls, plates, mugs, and other items, with prices starting at $15. Artwork completed by May 6 will be fired in time for Mother’s Day.
A floral design workshop on April 29 brings the realms of art and garden together in one hands-on event. The workshop is being led by Alexis Amorese Sheffield, a Horticulture Agent with the Boyle County Cooperative Extension. Students will learn the basics of sustainable floral design and create their own bouquet. A $20 registration fee includes all materials. Pre-registration is required.