Thursday, March 10, 2011

Part Two -- An Artist's Way: My Art Colony along US 68

    It is a little tricky telling the story of my art colony because the connections are not linear.  They are very web-like.  So, what to tell next, that is the question...  I want to tell you about the Courthouse Square Arts Guild in Carlisle, KY; but I want to start by mentioning a lecture-discussion session that my friend Meg told me about and we attended together.  Native Nicholas Countian, Ann Kingsolver was presenting an analysis of several places in the world and their response to globalization. Nicholas County (Carlisle is the county seat) was one of those places.  Carlisle faces some serious challenges as tobacco weakens as a cash crop and the major local employer, Jockey International, left town ten years ago.  That is why I am so inspired by a hardy group of folks who wanted to create an arts guild and did just that! 
    I first learned about the Guild from Jo-Lynn, whose family owns the furniture store in Carlisle where we purchased the world's most comfortable couch. When I showed up, much of the heavy lifting had already taken place. Regina had dreamed of such an organization for a long time.  Brad (of fossil art fame) and Larry (who makes the most beautiful walking sticks) were interested in organizing to support their activities with local festivals. Cate wanted to make sure there were artistic opportunities in Carlisle. So the scene is one, where many folks were simultaneously dreaming the same dream. The result is an organization with a lot of "parents" which fulfills a broad spectrum of desires.
    A big breakthrough came when Dr. Tamaran generously offered a space for the Guild to call home.  Juanita came up with the name for our place: The Corner Studio. Which is perfect because it sits catty-cornered to the Courthouse Square which gives the Guild its name. Juanita started teaching Bob Ross classes and a whole slew of people started painting. They still are!  Every Tuesday, Juanita, Larry and Carol are at the Studio painting and all are welcome to join them.  Carol keeps us all informed about the guild and is the backbone of our organization (and many others in Carlisle!) In the summer, Louise teaches an art class for children, which is very popular.
    But here is what bedazzles me the most.  Larry, our president, single-handedly started a student art show--just because he thought it should exist! He built floor easels (lots!) and designed table easels to show rows of student art. He contacted all the schools in the region and picked up the art work.  Larry organized with Blue Licks State Resort Park to exhibit the work.  The result is an astounding art exhibit featuring the work of young people--work we would not know about or enjoy--if Larry had not created this opportunity for the students and the public.  Once again, this year the exhibit will be held in mid-April. 
    Like an art colony, the Courthouse Square Arts Guild is the result of many people dreaming for something to exist and then working hard to make it happen.  There is a bit of serendipity involved, too, which I am realizing more and more as I tell you about my art colony along US 68.

For more information about the Courthouse Square Arts Guild, please see the website (thank you, Derek):

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