ArtWorks creates coalition of artists, enriches community

Cheree Frederico, 47, of Russelville Ky., is the secretary of the ArtWorks coalition where local artists in the community come together. The organization does several exhibitions throughout the year, host field trips, and give grants to young artists in school. Frederico is a fine arts photographer and has been for almost 15 years. She does a lot macro photography, pets and other commercial work.

Noah Moore

It’s been said that the beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder, but for some, the beauty of art is actually within the beholders themselves.

At ArtWorks, Inc., artists are utilizing art to empower people through their work in the Bowling Green community. ArtWorks is a nonprofit visual arts coalition that empowers visual artists through exhibition, educational and professional opportunities, ArtWorks secretary Cheree Federico said.

“We are a nonprofit organization that covers a variety of different aspects, from photography to painting to pottery,” Federico said. “We also offer several exhibits that our members can participate in and some are even judged for awards.”

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Beyond arts classes and community outreach, ArtWorks also offers young artist grants for middle and high school students. Schools in 10 counties can apply for $1,000 every year, which can be used if an art teacher wants students to create a display. The scholarships are used for many things, including one group who created an exhibit and set it up for a gallery hop with a mixture of poetry readings and art as well.  

ArtWorks also conducts field trips throughout the year to exhibits to observe artwork. It also serves as a way for members to view other art and get the chance to listen to guest speakers. But the main duties of the organization are done by the board, Federico said.

“We all volunteer and are unpaid,” she said.

Federico said all things are organized by the board. The money raised from paying for membership, which is $20 for students and $35 for single membership per year to $60 per year for two people, goes back to the program.

Many take advantage of this unique opportunity to hone in on their craft and put their art in the public’s eye. One of the many members includes Lorie Short, who has been a member of ArtWorks for five years as an acrylic paint artist. Acrylic paint is just one of the many mediums practiced in art by the members of the organization.  Short says she has gained knowledge to step up her skills and push her idea of what she is capable of.

“I like that ArtWorks is truly a professional organization where there is community over competition within the group,” Short said. “I can use other members of ArtWorks to gauge where I am with my art and can continue to grow where needed.”

Short also noted that ArtWorks works well within the community to get art into the public eye with exhibits and projects such as the Shake Rag Park art installation project, and she said such opportunities are are not offered by most other area guilds.

Members vary in experience and skill sets, but many also operate local businesses, like Federico. She runs a fine art photography and pet portrait company called Cheree Federico Photography. Member Kathleen Downs also runs her own pottery business on the side called Pots Place Co-op Studio and Gallery where she creates and displays her artwork.

Beyond reaching out to local artists, ArtWorks also embodies what it means to be involved in the community through its cooperation with sponsors such as Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club and Ellis Walker Gallery.

Though ArtWorks is made of a large group of artists, Federico says they are always looking for new members. To join ArtWorks, applications are on a rolling admission basis and are available online at www.artworksinc.org, where patrons can also donate and view the artwork of the participants.

Features reporter Noah Moore can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @noah_moore18.