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New Year New Art display opens

By KATE SNYDER

Art Center of the Bluegrass

IF YOU GO 

“New Year New Art” will be up through Feb. 21 at Art Center of the Bluegrass, 401 W. Main St. An opening reception will be 5:30-7 p.m. tonight (Friday, Jan. 3), offering light refreshments and a cash bar; the event is free and allows the community to meet the artists behind the creations. 

 

With the start of a new year, the Art Center of the Bluegrass has once again unveiled its annual exhibit — “New Year New Art.” Now in its seventh year, the premise of the exhibit is simple: Artists may submit artwork in any medium, and with any subject matter. The only rule is that all work must have been created since August of the previous year. 

The 2020 “New Year New Art” exhibit includes photography, fiber art, pottery, collage, mixed media and glass mosaic, as well as paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Forty-five artists are featured in the show, which will be on display through Feb. 21. 

Some of the artists captured intimate moments from their personal lives, such as a painting by Peggy Sherry of her granddaughter playing at the beach. 

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Kristin Long, a high-school art teacher in Garrard County, submitted a mixed-media piece into which she had incorporated a broken teacup. “I’m Fine” is one of a series of pieces that Long is working on in preparation for a show at Eastern Kentucky University later in the year, drawing from materials that have broken naturally through their everyday use. 

On the title, Long says, “We slap that phrase on everything. It’s what we do as women. We keep our families together, keep our kids alive, go to work. Sometimes life isn’t perfect, but we say it’s fine and we keep on going. That’s how we move forward.”

Other artwork reflected community or national events or moments, such as Robert Hugh Hunt’s detailed collage of Fred Rogers, or Tillie Sowders’ painting of the Heart of Danville community mural on Third Street. 

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Sowders’ submission carries multiple layers of artistic expression. Her work captures the community paint day that produced the mural, created in 2018, under the direction of artist Andee Rudloff of Bowling Green. Advocate-Messenger staffer Robin Hart was on-hand to capture the event, depicting onlookers enjoying the experience. Hart then gave Sowders permission to recreate her photograph on canvas, creating a unique third rendering of the event. From paint, to photograph and back to paint. 

Still other artists experiment with the media itself. Germaine Dunn created a striking painting that mirrored the look of a Polaroid picture, while Kristan Paynter crafted iconic Kentucky imagery — a horse and bourbon bottle on a wooden silhouette of the state. Photographer Michael Wayne of Lexington printed his striking landscape photograph directly onto aluminum while Marco Logsdon worked with tar and lacquer to create bold abstract artwork. 

This element of personal experience ties together what would otherwise be entirely disparate pieces of art. The concept of artistic identity — how artists express themselves through their art — also forms the basis of the Art Center’s field trip curriculum for the New Year New Art exhibit.

Thanks to grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and the WHAS Crusade for Children, upwards of 500 students will visit the exhibit with their teachers in January and February. Students discuss artistic identity and explore how they, too, can make a statement about who they are through their art. Visiting students will also create their own original glass tile mosaic. 

“It’s amazing to see how children connect to art,” says Exhibitions Director Brandon Long. “As the students explore the exhibit, you’ll see each one gravitate towards a certain piece that speaks to them in some way. It’s different for every child. One important goal of the field trip program is to empower students to give voice to those feelings, to that sense of connection.”