Building a community with art: Five local artists selected to participate in artist entrepreneur program through Arts Commission

Published 6:38 am Friday, July 27, 2018

The Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County has selected five local artists to participate in its Building a Community of Artist Entrepreneurs program. The five artists selected are Roni Gilpin, Travis Kern, Kathleen O’Brien, Deborah Peckler and Jacquie Woodward.

The program was awarded a matching grant from the Louisville Fund for the Arts with support from LG&E and the Jennifer Lawrence Fund.

The Arts Commission was one of only 14 arts organizations statewide to receive an award. The Arts Match program recognizes innovative initiatives developed to support the growth and accessibility of arts and arts programs.

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The Arts Commission program will match each of the five artists with an emerging artist/apprentice in a like field. The program will begin in September and will conclude in the spring of 2019. During the program’s seven months, the artists/apprentices will work specifically within their disciplines. Large group meetings will be held each month to study and discuss the process of developing an arts business and to meet with community, educational, business and government representatives to consider the value and role of arts in economic and community development.

Throughout the program, field experiences will be offered to visit cities and businesses which have developed collaborative and innovative approaches to supporting arts businesses. Artists and apprentices also will participate in the June 2019 Gallery Hop.

About the artists

  • Roni Gilpin will work in glasswork mosaics. Gilpin is active in the Gathering Artists and Plein Air Artist groups and is a frequent participant in gallery hops and local exhibits. She sells her work primarily to local collectors through her studio, Off the Wall Art, in Waynesburg.

Gilpin’s degree is in visual art and she previously served as the visual art coordinator of the First Southern Arts Center in Stanford, where she taught a variety of classes.

  • Travis Kern is a singer, songwriter and recording artist. He recently was a finalist for the artist exchange program with Danville’s Sister City, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

Kern has recently released “The Coal’s Low,” a full-length album of original music. The independently produced album has achieved critical success with nationwide and foreign play through a variety of digital music streaming and downloading platforms. His second album, “Hot Car,” will be recorded this fall and released in early 2019. He has performed in multiple venues in the southeast and recently at Main Street Live in Danville.

  • Kathleen O’Brien will work in mixed media collage, specifically abstract watercolor and drawing combined. She will work with a focus on archival use of papers, brushes, pencils, adhesives, color and design.

O’Brien has been a working artist for 50 years, creating and exhibiting in a variety of crafts. She has studied in New York, Colorado, Washington, D.C., and Mannheim, Germany. She is active as a consultant in the Kentucky Arts Council’s Peer Advisory Network. She hosts quarterly open studio events at her studio in Harrodsburg.

  • Deborah Peckler will work in three-dimensional needle felting. Peckler has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s in fine arts/metalsmithing. While her experience is varied, she chose to apply for this program in needle felting as it encourages creativity in historical and artisan contexts. She is a retired teacher, has been active in local arts and historic organizations, is an exhibiting member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and has exhibited in many state juried arts and crafts shows.
  • Jacquie Woodward will concentrate on wire and watercolor paper wearable art. Woodward experiments with materials and processes to create unique pieces of jewelry. She is self-taught through study, observation, workshops and participating in exhibits and shows and in galleries. She has recently begun a relationship with women artists in South Africa. The women create elaborate bead jewelry incorporating traditional colors and designs. Woodward works from her large home studio in Burgin.


The Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County is accepting applications, due by Aug. 15, for apprentice artists to work with the five artist professionals. Interested individuals should contact Mimi Becker at Applications are also available at