Kentucky Museum celebrates local art

Andrew Henderson

The Kentucky Building is embarking on their continued U.S. Bank Celebration of the Arts Exhibition this coming March 6.

Donna Parker, exhibits curator at the Kentucky Museum, said that previously, the Celebration of the Arts had been hosted at U.S. Bank, but was moved to the museum in 2004 to accommodate for space. The exhibition is sponsored by U.S. Bank and co-sponsored by the WKU Art Department. 

Parker said that, currently, there are 189 artists signed up to showcase at the exhibition with 351 pieces entered. 

She elaborated on the process by which the museum accepts the pieces saying they separate the work by two levels: amateur and professional. Furthermore, the pieces are then separated into eight categories for judging. 

“All the art students at Western are considered professional,” Parker said. 

One of these professionals that are showcasing in the exhibition is Dean Christensen, a Louisville junior. Christensen said this would be his third year of participation in the exhibition. He is a student in the art department and majoring in painting, to which he commented was crucial to knowing about the exhibition. 

“I wouldn’t know about the show otherwise,” Christensen said. 

He said that he plans on submitting part of a series of self-portrait paintings he has been working on. Submitting two of the five pieces from his series to the event. Last year, Christensen won first place in the professional category and the Purchase Award, the latter meaning that US Bank bought his collection.  

To him, the show is a huge opportunity for feedback as well. 

“Any show where you can display your work and get feedback is a huge thing,” he said. 

Not only is it a place for artists to get feedback, but for spectators, it’s also a visually pleasing and community building event. 

Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Museum, recalled previous times serving as a spectator at the exhibition and remembering it as a beautiful time.

“It’s a place for everyone to gather and share themselves,” he said. 

He said that the exhibition, as a pinnacle event with the community, allows people to come and see what their neighbors can do. Bjorkman also said he views the exhibition as an educational opportunity for everyone involved, artists and spectator alike.  

“Life is about learning,” he said. 

To help this learning process is one of the main reasons for the Celebration of the Arts. Parker wants the exhibition to allow artists to showcase work and promote arts in the area by allowing everyone an opportunity. 

“We like to be a center of culture in the region,” she said.

By serving as a center of culture the Kentucky Building is able to build creative energy within the community and the artists involved. Parker commented that she thinks there is a lot of energy involved with this exhibition and that everyone is excited. Christensen is certainly excited for this opportunity as it provides him an outlet for his artistic energy. 

“It’s in my blood to be an artist,” he said. 

The US Bank Celebration of the arts exhibition will hold their opening reception on March 6 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The Vernissage Preview Party will be held on the same date, but from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets for the preview party can be purchased online. The exhibition will run through April 4.