Here you can learn more about what's currently on display at the Arts Center as well as get more information on some of our upcoming exhibits.
LaVon Williams - Sweepin' Heaven
June 5 - July 27
LaVon Williams’ carvings are bold, sensuous, and energetic, featuring figures that are highly physical, powerful, and graceful. As described in his artist statement, “his work takes the viewer to places historical, joyous, and at times deep and soulful. He invokes the energy of folk from all walks of life, including the educator, musician, partyer, preacher, and churchgoer.”
The exhibit “Sweepin’ Heaven” is inspired by a recent trip by Williams to his hometown of Lakeland, Florida. “My neighborhood was completely gone, all the houses were gone--it was being redeveloped.” The destruction of his childhood home reminded Williams of a folktale about neighborhood women who come out each day to sweep the steps and sidewalks of their homes. The folklore is that these women are the neighborhood’s angels. “When bad things happen in the neighborhood,” Williams says, “they sweep all the bad things away and clean it all up.” The piece “Mother Mother,” which features a woman sweeping, pays homage to this folktale.
Ultimately, the pieces in the collection capture a part of the neighborhood experience that was very important to Williams growing up. “That’s where I learned how to carve, draw, and paint. It’s where it all started from,” explains Williams. “The collection gives a feel for the good parts of the past,” says Williams, “it celebrates the connections that we have with each other, connections we’re losing nowadays.”
Many of the carvings feature dancing people and jazz players. Several whimsical figures float in the air, playing piano and horn, hinting at the huge significance of music for Williams growing up. “In my neighborhood there were lots of churches, and music was going on everywhere all the time. You would hear it in the house, and walking down the street you would hear people singing or playing piano.” This musical theme shows up prominently in the collection, as does a general feeling of joyousness and peace.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
LaVon Van Williams is best known by some as a member of the 1978 University of Kentucky basketball team that won the NCAA Championship. After traveling Italy and Japan as a professional basketball player, Williams returned to Lexington, where he delved into the realm of woodcarving. He is a self-taught artist who has exhibited work at the Smithsonian Institute, the Kentucky Folk Art Center, the Lyric Theatre, Artisan Center in Berea, Ohio State University’s Fischer Gallery, and University of Kentucky Hospital. He is currently working on a commissioned piece for the Isaac Murphy Memorial Gardens in Lexington.
Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass - A Bluegrass Odyssey
June 5 - July 27
Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass was founded in 2005 and has over 40 members in Central Kentucky. Plein Air, pronounced “Plain Air,” is French for “out in the open.” As the name implies, Plein Air paintings are made outside in one sitting. The painters in this local group will be exhibiting some scenes from around Danville and Boyle County for their exhibit, “ A Bluegrass Odyssey,” which showcases various work members have been working on.
The exhibit will showcase not only plein air works, but also studio paintings and still-life work. Plein Air President Dan McGrath explains, “in the wintertime, it’s usually too cold to paint, so we take photographs of scenes and then work on them from our studios.”
McGrath shed some light on what draws people to Plein Air painting. “I myself like being outdoors; it’s relaxing and enjoyable. But also, plein air painting is challenging—you only have about three hours to do a painting because the shadows change as the sun moves, which causes colors to change, too. You have to stick to a method to get it done in three hours.”
For the group, there are several treasured spots they visit throughout the year, including the Kentucky River, Elkhorn Creek, working cattle farms in the area, and nearby Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. The June exhibit features scenes from some of these places as well as buildings and scenes from around Danville. Though natural and rural scenes are popular with the group, McGrath point out, “we like to be outdoors, even if it’s in the middle of a city.”
Artist-in-Residence: Mark WilhelmArtist in Residence: Mark Wilhelm
Mark Wilhelm hails from Liberty, Kentucky and now lives in Harrodsburg. He took up residence in our studio in April and will be using it to create and display his artwork, which includes digital art, paintings, sculpture, and ceramics. He explains, "I have been making art for around a decade and a half in all different kinds of ways. Current mediums include: Sculpture, oil paintings, pottery, et cetera. Et cetera is a wonderful way of saying,“whatever I feel like at the time." Stop by anytime and see me making the aforementioned "et cetera" and maybe even get involved in the process of making art yourself. I make it a point to keep a few group art projects going at all times, whether it's a group Lego sculpture or a comic strip collection, there is always something to do."
Mark's studio is located on the first floor where our Arts-on-Main Gift Shop used to live. It may not look like the studio you were expecting--there's a comfy couch to sit on and lots of interactive coffee-table books for those intrepid enough to make a contribution, whether it be doodles, quotes, anecdotes, or fictional tales. You can also browse some of his latest paintings, sculptures, and prints and even buy them if the mood strikes you!
If you'd like to meet Mark and see what's he's currently working on, stop by afternoons Wednesday through Friday. Or check out his blog by clicking here. He's also on Instagram as themarkblog.
Horizon: Contemporary Landscape 2013
Horizon: Contemporary Landscape 2013
Each year, the Community Arts Center hosts Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, an exhibit designed to test the limits of what we think of when we hear the word “landscape,” blurring the lines between the traditional and experimental. While many artists portray classic landscape paintings, others delve into more abstract realms, submitting everything from collage and photography to mixed media and cast metal sculpture.
This exhibit is juried, which means that jurors or judges select which paintings will be displayed. A first, second, and third prize are also given by the jurors to the artists whose works display artistic excellence and strength of execution. This year’s exhibit will be on display October 2 – November 15.
Join us for a reception celebrating the diverse array of artwork and artists in this year’s show, Thursday, October 10th, 6 – 8 pm.
Click here to download the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape 2013 Prospectus.
Thanks to for helping us get the word out about Horizon: Contemporary Landscape!