Lunch with the Arts to feature Shaker Village experts

Published 6:20 am Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Contributing writer

This month, the Community Arts Center’s Lunch with the Arts program will feature William Updike and Billy Rankin of the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill leadership team, who will discuss this Central Kentucky architectural and cultural treasure.

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This landmark destination offers 3,000 acres of discovery in the spirit of the Kentucky Shakers.  It is comprised of 34 original Shaker structures. The site is home to the country’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings and is the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky.

Shaker Village is currently in its largest preservation project in almost 50 years. The 1820 Meeting House and 1824 Centre Family Dwelling are undergoing an extensive and intriguing $5 million plus project to preserve, protect and interpret the Village’s spiritual center. The project, supported by a grant, is part of a multi-phase effort. Its purpose is to breathe new life into the preservation of Shaker Village’s rich cultural landscape, while updating historic venues for new and thought-provoking community-centered programs and activities.

Updike is VP of natural and cultural resources with Shaker Village. He oversees buildings and grounds, the farm, preserve, river boat and museum collections and archive. Updike is responsible for the successful completion of the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House preservation projects, a year-long effort to preserve two of Shaker Village’s most iconic buildings. Updike will discuss the full scope of this immense project, the craftsmanship and attention to detail involved, and some interesting discoveries that have been made along the way.

Updike is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, with degrees in anthropology and historic preservation. He has over 25 years of experience in archaeology, historic preservation, cultural landscapes, environmental studies, engineering and construction projects. Updike  and his family live in Danville.

Rankin is VP of public programming and organizational strategy with Shaker Village. He guides strategic planning, which includes augmenting the guest experience. This is being accomplished through a new interpretive plan that involves site-wide experiences for all visitors. Rankin will share the vision for how the Meeting House and Centre Family Dwelling will be utilized for the public going forward, and how the interpretation of the historic community will take shape for years to come. He will discuss how tours, exhibits, technology and artifacts are coming together to tell the incredible story of the Pleasant Hill Shakers.

Rankin has 15 years of experience developing immersive, public programming in Michigan, New York and Kentucky. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville, with degrees in history and political science. Rankin and his family live in Danville.

Demonstrating a commitment to community, sustainability and ingenuity, Shaker Village embraces three pillars rooted in time-honored Shaker legacies, including balanced preservation and conservation; engaged learning and exploration; and warm, spirited hospitality.



Lunch with the Arts presents Shaker Village: Past, Present, and Future noon-1 p.m. July 18 at the Community Arts Center. Cost is $5 at the door.


• The August 15 Lunch with the Arts program welcomes Robert Schalkoff, who will share his knowledge of Japanese pottery and glassware, including a glimpse into his extensive collection of artifacts.

Mark your calendar and check the Advocate Messenger or the Community Arts Center’s website for additional information as the date approaches.

Become a Sponsor

If you would like to sponsor a Lunch with the Arts program, contact Niki Kinkead at:


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