Keeneland Magazine

NO4 2013

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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Kentucky Crafted These artists get their inspiration from the world around them By Vickie Mitchell | Photos by Jonathan Palmer L onnie and Twyla Money, Warren May, LaVon Van Wil- liams Jr., and Janice Harding Owens are all considered folk artists. Money, May, and Williams are working from "a self-derived aesthetic," one of the traits that defne folk artists, said Adrian Swain, the longtime artistic director and curator of Morehead State University's Kentucky Folk Art Center, who retired this fall. "I think of a folk artist as somebody who is self-taught and who works according to an aesthetic that is their own." But there is more than one way to describe a folk artist. "There are a lot of different defnitions," said Victoria A. Faoro, director of the Kentucky Artisans Center. "To the purist, it is someone who has not been trained in formal classes but was taught by another person, an art that was passed from one generation to the next." But she points out, there are also artists such as May, a maker of Kentucky dulcimers and Kentucky regional furniture, artists who "are continuing a tradition in the arts." No matter the defnition, Kentucky is rich in self-taught artists, and the Kentucky Folk Art Center and the Kentucky Artisans Center are good places to get a look at the diverse work they produce. "Here at the center we like to provide a broad range of what is being done in the state," Faoro said. "We represent 700 artists in 100 counties, and we like to represent some who are folk artists." The Kentucky Folk Art Center "is a museum with a permanent collection approaching 1,500 pieces, most by self-taught artists from Kentucky," said Swain. Here is a look at these Kentucky artists, working in the folk tradition. Warren May is preserving a Kentucky tradition with his exquisitely crafted dulcimers. KEENELAND WINTER 2013 59

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