Kentucky Tourism

Special Exhibits

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea presents exciting exhibits of artisan works and displays that showcase Kentucky's culture, heritage and attractions.

Gallery exhibits are formatted and curated by invitation and also by a statewide call-for-entries. Gallery exhibits run 5-6 months and often focus on a theme, technique, or specific medium. 

Lobby exhibits are often educational, cultural or historical in content and are researched and formatted to inspire visitors to learn more about Kentucky. The lobby also features large format 2-D works, showcased in the annual exhibit "Reveal" every January-April.

See the current and upcoming Kentucky Artisan Center exhibits listed below.

Regular monthly events are listed on our CALENDAR OF EVENTS.

Lobby Exhibit

Jan. 19 - April 30, 2020

"Cattails" by Bob Leo Jones (48" x 48")

The Kentucky Artisan Center opens its fifth annual exhibit Reveal on January 19, 2020, showcasing the large format paintings of Bob Leo Jones, of Louisville,

Jones is an abstract artist working in acrylics on large-scale canvas and Masonite. Jones builds up layers of color for visual depth and his works are free flowing rather than linear. 

Jones started creating large scale paintings in 2015. When working on canvas he builds up layers of color, particularly with a palate knife. This method of layering allows for a longer drying time, which in turn allows Jones to think about how the painting is progressing.

He states, "I am an abstract artist and I have found that my vision is often better realized in a larger format. I layer the paint to build depth and distance into the work."

His painting "Cattails" shows the artist's love for low lying spaces in nature where water gathers. The natural ponds and creeks of central Kentucky as well as the estuaries of the intercoastal and the mangroves of Florida influence his work. 

Each spring, the Center features a new version of REVEAL - a competitive exhibit for large format two-dimensional works.

Current Gallery Exhibit


Now through Feb. 29, 2020

Gray Zeitz, artist, poet, owner and operator of Larkspur Press

The Kentucky Artisan Center Celebrates 45 Years of Larkspur Press, owned and operated by artist Gray Zeitz in an exhibit Oct. 20, 2019 - Feb. 29, 2020. Featuring beautiful hand letterpress printed broadside poems with illustrations, and an array of handmade books by Larkspur Press, the exhibit includes wood engravings and prints by the numerous artists who create the images for Larkspur’s publications.

The Center’s exhibit includes information about Zeitz, the printing process and the illustrators, with examples of the various tools, metal type and wood blocks that create the imagery for his books.

Zeitz and his press are well known in the world of hand letterpress art and he has published poems by almost every Kentucky Poet Laureate and nearly all of Wendell Berry’s poetry. Zeitz began his typography career as an apprentice at the University of Kentucky King Library Press under the tutelage of Carolyn Hammer. Learning the skills of fine hand printing and typographic design he went on to establish Larkspur Press in 1974.

The work of Larkspur Press is widely recognized. In 2012, Gray Zeitz was the recipient of the Kentucky Governor’s for the Arts Artist Award and in 2015, Zeitz and Larkspur Press were featured in an article by Eric Reece in Garden & Gun magazine. Most recently, in March of 2019, Larkspur Press was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

Artists who illustrate Larkspur Press publications will have prints shown along with broadsides by many of Kentucky's best known authors and poets. Printmakers whose works are represented in the exhibit are, among others: Wesley Bates, of Canada; Carolyn Whitsel, of Cincinnati; John Lackey of Lexington; Laura Lee Cundiff of Versailles; Arwen Donahue, of Carlisle; Alex Brooks, of Lexington; and Crews McCulloch of Ft. Thomas.

The exhibit will also include a biography of artist Zeitz, various tools, metal type, wood blocks and information about the letterpress process.

    Gray Zeitz printing on a Washington press and a selection of his hand-bound letterpress books

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2020 Lobby Exhibits

Visions of the Rural South: The Photography of Doris Ulmann May 9 - June 20, 2020 Pioneering female photographer Doris Ulmann recorded some of the most famous faces of the 1920s and 1930s in her hometown of New York city. 
However, she discovered her most personally satisfying work in rural America. In 1930, Ulmann began summer sojourns into southern Appalachia, documenting the faces of the region's inhabitants. Her photographs suggest that these Americans had their priorities well aligned and that they had cultivated these values from ancestors who were the true American pioneers.

The exhibit features 32 of Doris Ulmann's photographs with text that describes her motivations and legacy. This exhibit is made possible and is part of the Kentucky Historical Society's "Museums to Go" exhibit program.

Doris Ulmann

Pass it On: Works by Learnshop Instructors

June 28 - August 30, 2020 Opening Reception - Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Center once again celebrates the city-wide Festival of Learnshops with a multi media exhibit of works created by Berea Festival of Learnshop instructors.

2020 Main Gallery Exhibits

Women of Influence Celebrating the Year of the Woman

June 21 - October 31, 2020 Opening Reception - June 21 - 1:30-3:00 pm

Declared the "Year of the Woman," 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the United States' 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote.

This exhibit by Kentucky artists will showcase works that reference, celebrate and are inspired by women of influence throughout history. This exhibit will join the many other efforts across the country to ensure that the stories of the women who changed history are shared and celebrated.

Works can be focused on any woman from any time period - but the woman featured must have made significant changes or contributions to the betterment of society and the world.

Works can be in any 2-D or 3-D medium, 2-D works must be ready to hang. All works must be ready to install and must not exceed 6 feet in any dimension or weigh more than 50 pounds. 

Exhibit entry form HERE - or by E-mailing [email protected]  

Deadline for Entry: May 8, 2020
Acceptance Notification: May 15, 2020
Works Delivered: June 1-5, 2020
Exhibit Opens: June 21, 2020

Gallery Exhibit 
April 7 - July 21, 2018

This exhibit showcases more than 30 Kentucky artists who over the Kentucky Artisan Center's 15 year history have shared their artistic know