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Yarmuth Invites Young Artists to Participate in Congressional Competition

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is sending out an open invitation to Louisville’s aspiring young artists to take part in the 2011 Congressional Art Competition.

Each spring, members of Congress host contest to recognize and encourage the artistic talents of high-school students from their districts.

For the first time, entries can be submitted on-line and all submissions will be posted on the Yarmuth’s congressional website. After the entry deadline, people will have the opportunity to vote online to select the competition’s finalists.

The top 20 finalists who then have their artwork featured at the Louisville Water Tower Gallery.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from Louisville and will have their artwork showcased in the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a year-long exhibit and win two airline tickets to Washington to see the display.

The competition is open to high school students only, and the deadline is April 13 at 5 p.m.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

2010 Governor's Awards in the Arts Announced

The 2010 Governor’s Awards in the Arts have been announced, with nine recipients representing individuals, businesses and organizations who have contributed to the arts in Kentucky.  “The purpose of the award is to bring attention to the vitality of the arts in Kentucky, and also to bring attention to the fact that the arts contribute to Kentucky in many ways other than just personal enrichment,” says Kentucky Arts Council spokesperson Ed Lawrence.

The nine recipients and categories include:
– Al Shands, Milner Award
– Stephen Rolfe Powell, Artist Award (Glass work pictured right)
– J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons LLC, Business Award
– Mayfield/Graves County Art Guild, Community Arts Award
– Melanie Wood, Education Award
– Loyal Jones, Folk Heritage Award
– Mountain Arts Center, Government Award
– Rich Copley, Media Award
– Annie Potts, National Award

The recipients will be honored by Gov. Beshear at a public ceremony and celebration in October, in the Capitol Rotunda.

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Local News

Arena Public Art Announcement Expected Soon

by Gabe Bullard

The KFC Yum Center will open in about four months, and a proposed public art project for the arena has not yet been announced. But officials say the Arena Authority will soon unveil a concept for art that will be installed in the arena’s concourse.

The authority put out a request for proposals last year, asking artists for submissions that would depict Louisville as a “city on the move.” They received 75 proposals and asked for more details on five of them in December.

At that time, Arena Authority chairman Jim Host told WFPL no money had been raised to finance the project because he wanted to approach potential investors after he had an idea of what the art would look like.

He added that he hoped to have an artist chosen by February. No announcement has yet been made, but Kentucky Fair Board President Harold Workman said this week that a decision is forthcoming.

“We will have it soon, because it’s not long until October. Those decisions will be finalized relatively in the near future.”

The art display’s anticipated budget is $200 thousand.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Students' Art Bikes Hit Downtown Streets Monday

Dozens of bikes that high school art students have transformed into art pieces go on display this weekend before being installed around downtown Monday. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Five years ago, the Louisville Downtown Management District provided old bikes to art students at downtown area high schools so they could make sculptures. The organization has done it again this year. And this weekend, the fruits of their labor — art bikes — are on exhibit.

The management district’s Ken Herndon says in January it gave 32 old bikes to students at the Brown School, duPont Manual, St. Francis and Presentation Academy.

“We said make some art out of these, totally carte blanche, whatever they wanted to do,” he says. “And we’ll have them on display this weekend at the Center for the Arts lobby.”

The management district, which is responsible for installing more than 30 bike racks by professional artists, gave old bikes to students in January. And those students have used them to create a variety of sculptures. Some have antlers and one includes tuba parts.

DuPont Manual High School art teacher Alana Alford says her students learned a lot from the project.

“It’s like a culmination of all their knowledge — especially the seniors — to put together their own ideas and then, of course, especially to see them out in the community,” Alford says. “And that really, really brings it home that they can do art for a living.”

Samantha Ludwig, a senior at duPont Manual High School, says she learned a lot working with her team to create one of the sculptures.

“Definitely problem solving, also working with different medias is important,” she says, “and just getting used to working with the community and trying to do something that can relate to not only artists but people who can appreciate it just walking down the street.”

The art bikes, now on exhibit at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, will be installed at bike racks on Monday for display through May 17.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Local Artists Hold Fundraiser for Haiti

A group of Louisville artists will have a silent auction at a local gallery tomorrow to raise money to send medical equipment to Haiti. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The artists are part of Burners Without Borders, a relief group that grew out of people who attend Burning Man, a festival in Idaho that focuses on self-reliance and creativity.

The organization formed to first volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and it’s since grown to include projects across the country and overseas.

Now, local members of the group — including Karine Maynard — are trying to raise money to fuel a plane the organization is using to fly donated medical supplies from Florida to Haiti.

“It costs $1,000 for a plane to go from Fort Lauderdale and return,” she says. “And as many planes as we can possibly get sending equipment, we wanted to support.”

Maynard helped organize tomorrow’s event.

“We’re having a silent auction. There’s going to be entertainment, music. There’s going to be donation jars there for the public. Local businesses are donating items,” she says. “And all the donations that come to Burners Without Borders go directly back out and it’s 100 percent volunteer work.”

Maynard says the event will include a variety of work.

“We have artists donating anything from something very small — handcrafted items or hand painted boxes for example — all the way up to Craig Kaviar has donated a wrought iron table,” she says.

The fundraiser starts at 5 p.m., Saturday, at Gallery Exvoto at 634 East Market St. in Louisville.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Ticket Sales Rise Sharply for Louisville Ballet's Nutcracker

The Louisville Ballet closed the first run of its new production of The Nutcracker yesterday, after more than a dozen performances. And it produced some surprising results. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Just after the economy took a nosedive last year, the Louisville Ballet had its lowest selling production of The Nutcracker. And it had to shave more than $1 million from its $3.5 million budget.

But ticket sales from the company’s new production of The Nutcracker has officials looking up — so says, the company’s executive director Dwight Hutton.

“We are ecstatic with the response from the public for this production,” Hutton says. “We’ve had the highest attendance numbers since the ‘90s, and we are nearing a 40 percent increase over last year, which is phenomenal.”

Hutton says most companies staging new Nutcracker productions generally see a 20 percent increase in ticket sales.

He also says the company is building audiences, even during a recession, and has increased community support.

“We budgeted very conservatively, I must admit,” he says, “but we have experienced the highest subscription numbers this year than we have in 10 years, and we are we are overachieving on our earned income, contributed income.”

This success comes as many arts groups nationwide are struggling amid the recession. He says that that corporate contributions are still fewer and often in lower amounts than before the recession.

He says local excitement about the new Nutcracker production should work to enhance the company’s reputation in Louisville and beyond.

“I think we’ve proved to all of our corporate supporters and individual donors that given the opportunity that we can produce a world-class product,” he says. “I, quite frankly, expect us to work harder and achieve even higher attendance next year.”

Two years ago, the company received a $1 million grant from the Brown-Forman Corporation to create new sets, costumes and choreography for The Nutcracker.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Kentucky Arts Council Deals With More Cuts

With further budget cuts being proposed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, the Kentucky Arts Council is looking at ways to further trim its budget. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

COMP SHEETOne of the prominent topics at the recent meeting of the Kentucky Arts Council’s board of directors was further budget reductions. Due to falling state revenues over the past 23 months, the governor has asked for many cuts, says the council’s executive director, Lori Meadows.

“With the latest 6 percent proposed reduction, that will give us a total 26 percent budget reduction in our state funding and that’s about $1.1 million,” she says.

Meadows says Governor the latest request to reduce the budget has the agency further assessing all of its programs.

“We’re trying to look at what can we do to help organizations and artists really build and hold on during these challenging times so that we don’t lose too much,” she says. “So, we’re focusing a lot on technical assistance.”

Meadows says the agency has reduced grants in project-related areas that often fund events like special performances or one-time festivals while preserving other grants and project. It also had lowered administrative costs, in part by moving more publications online.

“We’re trying to make sure that people have the tools necessary to do their work, so things that would help organizations increase their operational capacity and artists increase their marketing skills and their professional development,” she says.

Meadows cites Kentucky Crafted, the annual trade show featuring Kentucky artists, as one program the council has worked hard to maintain.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Renowned Wildlife Artist Creates New Work for Charity

A revered Kentucky wildlife artist has created two new works with prints that go on sale this week for charity. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

WhitetailDeerIn the 1960s, Ray Harm was one of the first artists to create paintings and sell a limited number of prints from them. Back then, his wildlife lithographs sold for hundreds of dollars, while today some prints have sold for more than $5,000.

Now 82, Harm seldom paints these days, but he created two new works for Louisville Easter Seals’ Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center. Five hundred prints of each have been made to sell.

Harm’s new works include a cardinal on a sunflower and a white-tailed buck deer he once saw in Mammoth Cave National Park.

“I was painting wildflowers and this big, old buck deer walked into the clearing,” Harm says. “And he just stood there looking at me, and it gave me an opportunity to do a pretty decent drawing of him.”

Harm also wrote columns for The Louisville Times that were published later as “The Ray Harm Nature Sketchbook.” He says he creates his paintings from sketches he creates in the wild and from studying all kinds of wildlife.

“I’ve studied taxonomy, the classifications of animals, how many scales of they have on this bird or whatever,
he says, “so accuracy is one of my fortes.”

Harm is a critic of artists who paint from photos and use digital media to enhance their work.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Annual Festival of Faiths Focuses on Water

This year’s Festival of Faiths is underway in Louisville and it’s exploring the subject of water. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Now in its 14th year, the festival features exhibits, lectures and art that link diverse faiths and community-based organizations under themes. The title of this year’s festival is “Sacred Water: Sustaining Life.”

Mark Steiner is the festival’s director of programming.

“We’ll explore water from both faith traditions’ perspectives as well as the various not-for-profit organizations that are out there dealing with the issues surrounding water,” Steiner says. “Water rights, water pollution — it’s the global issue that’s emerging right now. As well as being significant to life on planet Earth, it also has great significance in faith traditions and in spirituality.”

The annual festival has brought in leading scholars of faith as well as environmental and civil rights activists. Among this year’s many invited guests are 13 grandmothers who since 2004 have traveled the world.

GrandmothersSteiner says the grandmothers are from the Americas, Africa and Asia.

“They represent indigenous wisdom from across the globe,” he says. “And they are 13 women who were called together to speak out about the way the planet’s being treated and for generations to come.”

A documentary about the women will be shown Sunday at the Kentucky Center. The festival continues through Nov. 13 with lectures throughout the city and more than 60 exhibits and displays at downtown Louisville’s Henry Clay Building. Dozens of local houses of workshop are also participating.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Project Launches Day of the Dead Exhibits

3 tiers of DOTD shrineThis week the University of Louisville is celebrating the Day of the Dead, the Hispanic holiday that combines indigenous and Catholic traditions. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The university has partnered with cultural groups throughout the metropolitan area to create altars, as many Hispanics do on Nov. 1 to remember deceased loved ones.

The altars range from one for Bob Marley at St. Francis High School to one at Indiana University Southeast for U.S. victims of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U of L assistant professor of fine art Mary Carothers honor those who have died coming to this country for refuge on an outside wall of the 21C Museum Hotel. Carothers says it was inspired by The Devil’s Highway, a book assigned to U of L many classes this year about 26 men who tried to cross the Mexican and U.S. border in 2001. The 14 who survived are known as the Yuma 14.

“Those are marigolds and the hands are cast from immigrants now living in the United States who have moved here,” she says, “and many of them have some really interesting stories.”

These elements are among thousands of small monarch butterflies made of paper and which the class designed. The butterflies, which are affixed to the wall, have many different designs. The hands on the wall were made with the participation of 14 immigrants living in Louisville and from countries as varied as Germany, Cuba and Afghanistan.

Carothers says, like traditional altars, they arranged elements of the piece on three levels to represent the earth, the sky and the air in between.

“We have the marigolds on the ground level,” she says. “The hands that are in between and the monarch butterflies symbolizing a metamorphosis to heaven.”

The university has partnered with nine cultural groups throughout the area on this project, including the Archdiocese of Louisville, the Frazier International History Museum, the Louisville Science Center, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and the Muhammad Ali Center.

To listen to Elizabeth Kramer’s interview with Mary Carothers, visit The Edit.