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

Continuing in the lobby

"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.

Gallery Exhibits

Kentucky Sculptors

Opening Soon

Sculpted and cut from a variety of materials including alabaster, marble, soapstone and limestone, these works range from tiny animals carved in translucent alabaster to large abstractions in marble.

Sculpting in stone is a reductive process – the taking away of material to reveal the shape and imagery within. All nine of these artists eventually became enamored by the color, texture and hidden mystery of stone. 

Initially sculpting in wood Don Lawler became frustrated by the limitations of the material. He turned to stone because, “Wood sculpture placed outdoors soon deteriorates and I didn’t like the limitation that wood could only be placed in interior settings.”

After working in metal for 10 years, Julie Warren Conn tired of welding. Picking up a piece of Tennessee Coral Rouge Marble, she was soon hooked on the beauty of the material. Her figurative works “Maternity” and “”Sea Birds” illustrate her back-to-back method that showcases two separate views in one sculpture. 

Albert Nelson, of Louisville describes working with stone in this way. “I love everything about stone, limestone in particular. Each piece is cut from the earth and has been waiting for my hands for 350 million years.”

Sculptures in this exhibit have been created using both large industrial tools and small hand-held tools. Larger works require large stones delivered by semi-trucks, with cranes and forklifts to handle them.  One such work is “Mishima” by Julie Warren Conn, a 50-inch tall column of Vermont Marble carved into stacked shapes that resemble an abstract warrior. 

Smaller work such as “”Peace” by Joseph Farmer and Jimmie Pennington’s simple animals are carved entirely with hand tools. Pennington sometimes finish sands his work with Emory boards, while artist Gary Dubois uses re-purposed stone counter top scraps to create new beauty from what was broken and rejected. His carved feathers appear soft and yet they are made of stone.  

Each of these artists have a unique style and way of working. Mike McCarthy’s work titled, “Society’s Decline” is both realistic and visceral, with the mask-like translucent alabaster face half gone. Karen Terhune’s sculptures are more organic and her free form carvings create a feeling of movement.

All of these artists are passionate about their material, seeing the act of creating as both exhilarating and necessary. Mike McCarthy states, “When I have to go out of town and don’t carve – my day is incomplete.”

Kentucky sculptors in this exhibit are: Julie Warren Conn, Lexington; Gary Dubois, Berea; William M. Duffy, Louisville; Joseph Farmer, Richmond; Don Lawler, Stephensport; Mike McCarthy, Louisville; Albert Nelson, Louisville; Jimmy Pennington, Flat Gap, and Karen Terhune, Shepherdsville, KY.
Left to right: "Goldfish" by Jimmie Pennington of Flat Gap and "The Heart Has Wings" by Albert Nelson of Louisville.

"Breeze" by Don Lawler in the exhibit "Cut in Stone'

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2020 Lobby Exhibits

Visions of the Rural South: The Photography of Doris Ulmann Coming soon 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.

2020 Main Gallery Exhibits

Women of Influence

Celebrating the Year of the Woman Dates to be Announced

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
Exhibit Opens: TBA

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