Kentucky Museum to host art celebration

Artist Beth Hester and judge Jane-Allen McKinney share a moment during the U.S. Bank Celebration of the Arts exhibition at the Kentucky Museum on Friday March 3, 2017.

Olivia Mohr

Over 350 pieces of visual art from 188 different artists will be on display at Kentucky Museum on campus on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. for the US Bank Celebration of the Arts’ opening night with an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. 

The exhibition will be on display from March  4 to April  8. There are 51 different awards, with artists entering as professional or amateur artists to win cash prizes.

Brent Bjorkman is the director of the Kentucky Museum and coordinates staff in putting the show together. According to Bjorkman, the exhibition supports and celebrates the work of local artists. 

“It’s just a way to celebrate the rich creativity of the artists that are living and working throughout the South-central Kentucky region,” Bjorkman said.

Bjorkman said WKU students are welcome to submit work.

“The US Bank show is a really great stepping-off point for WKU students … that want to share and become validated for the wonderful stuff that they do,” he said. 

Bjorkman feels Celebration of the Arts gives artists an opportunity to be appreciated in a safe, non-threatening space.

“I think the art is a way to celebrate really great artists, but I think one of the ways that it benefits both WKU and the community is it allows a safe space to share your art with so many other people, and I think that’s something especially any new artist needs if they want to have a non-threatening type of place where people can see you and you can be appreciated,” he said.

Local artists within a 65-mile radius from Kentucky Museum can submit their work, so the exhibition represents artists from South-central Kentucky. There are eight different categories of art, including painting, sculpture, photography and cyber art. Artists can enter up to two pieces of art.

Artists have the option to sell their art. The funds from work sold go mainly to artists, and a small percentage is split between Kentucky Museum and the WKU art department. The money that goes to the art department goes to scholarship opportunities within the department.

Admission on opening night on March  3 is free. After that, visitors must pay the regular admission fee. Admission is free for WKU students and faculty with valid ID and children younger than six years old, $10 for adults, $5 for children and $20 for families.

2017 will mark Celebration of the Arts’ 30th anniversary. The exhibit used to be on display each year at US Bank in downtown Bowling Green but moved to the Kentucky Museum in 2004. US Bank is the primary sponsor, along with other sponsors.

Because this year will be the show’s 30th anniversary, the Kentucky Museum will feature a special display of art pieces purchased from artists in the show since 2004.

Donna Parker is exhibit curator at the Kentucky Museum, and she is in charge of organizing the show.

According to Parker, the show is beneficial not only to the community because it allows local artists to display their work, but to WKU students as well.

“It’s very beneficial to the students here as well because they have another opportunity to show their work as well as showing it out in other regional competitions, so it’s beneficial that they have something right here at home that they can put their work in and be recognized,” she said.

Delaire Rowe is an artist involved in Celebration of the Arts. She was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She has lived in Bowling Green for most of her life and was a WKU student in the 1970s. She has been participating in Celebration of the Arts since it was located at its old location at the US Bank downtown.

“The reason why I have continued to participate in Celebration of the Arts for so many years is because I really appreciate the inclusive nature of the exhibit,” Rowe said. “In other words, even though there are awards given, everyone who submits work has their work shown, and so I like that format.”

She has recently been working with the mixed media category of the exhibit and entered paintings and works on paper in the past. She once won an award for a painting she submitted. This year she submitted a mixed media art piece called Tree House Fantasy.

Rowe encourages art majors and non-art majors alike to submit their work to be shown at Celebration of the Arts. Because the exhibit is inclusive, artists who create art professionally as well as people who create art as a hobby are encouraged to submit their work for the community to celebrate.

Reporter Olivia Mohr can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]