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Kentucky Arts Council

June 1, 2017

Hong Shao

Hong Shao

The Illustrated Word Exhibit

The Illustrated Word Exhibit

Ways of Seeing Exhibit

Ways of Seeing Exhibit

Kentucky Arts Council



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Lydia Bailey Brown Dear Arts Lovers:

The Kentucky Derby is about a month in our rearview mirror, but we chatted with one Kentucky artist for whom the Derby has meant fame beyond the first Saturday in May.

Jim Cantrell of Bardstown is the first Kentucky artist commissioned to create the officially licensed artwork for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. His artwork appeared on Derby posters, tickets and souvenir racing programs.

The following story is an excerpt from the Kentucky Arts Council’s Spotlight on the Arts in the May issue of The Lane Report.

Jim Cantrell of Bardstown is the first Kentucky 
    artist to be commissioned to create the officially licensed artwork for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. His work was 
    featured for the 2017 editions of those two races.The commission has elevated Jim, already a nationally known painter, higher into prominence and has given an increased profile to the Nelson County community he and his wife, Jeannette, have called home for half a century.

The funny part is that it almost didn’t happen.

“At first I turned it down,” Jim said. “I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was the Kentucky Derby Festival and I didn’t know the two were separate entities, but people with knowledge of the industry said I needed to do this. Jeannette (Jim’s gallery manager and business partner) said I needed to do it to keep some exposure.”

That kind of attention is an asset in Bardstown, said Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency.

“Jim and Jeannette have been such good ambassadors for Bardstown during their 50 years here. We’re so lucky they chose to call Bardstown home,” Huston said. “With this opportunity, he’s generated a considerable amount of media attention for Bardstown. That’s invaluable.”

Jim’s distinction as the artist for the 2017 Derby poster, as well as the poster for the Kentucky Oaks, has created a buzz in Nelson County as out of town visitors come looking for the artist.

“I walk down the street and have people ask ‘Do you know where Jim Cantrell’s gallery is?’ or ‘How do I find that Derby poster?’” Huston said. “We were finally able to share with the rest of the country what gems we have here in Jim and Jeannette.”

That relationship is not one-sided. The Cantrell’s give of their time for the betterment of Nelson County. When Bardstown was applying for the Kentucky Arts Council’s Cultural District designation, Jim and Jeannette were on the local steering committee to make that happen. It was an example of how a town’s business community can recruit artists to help in local economic development efforts.

“They were really responsible for a lot of our success in that,” Huston said. “And as they travel across the country doing art shows, they recruit people to come visit us, to see what Bardstown is all about.

“They’re beloved. You see Jim and Jeannette at every event we have here in Bardstown. They participate in everything, donate themselves to all our events.”

“We tell them how much support Bardstown and Kentucky have given us,” Jeannette said. “They’ve really made it possible for us to stay here as long as we have and make a living.”

Arts council welcomes new staff member

I'm excited to announce a new staff member at the arts council! Please help me welcome Holly Likes, Internal Policy Analyst III, to the Kentucky Arts Council family!

Holly was born in Shelbyville Kentucky and has lived in Shelby County her entire life. She married her high school sweetheart and raised three children, who are now adults. Holly has worked in state government for 12 years, focusing her career in budgets, procurement and accounting. She and her husband own a small farm and have farmed for 28 years. Besides her family, Holly's loves include her three dogs and herd of 37 goats. In her spare time she loves to be with family and enjoys time sitting on her front porch.

Lydia Bailey Brown
Lydia Bailey Brown
Kentucky Arts Council
Executive Director


Nicholasville Musician is Kentucky Arts Council’s Featured Artist for May, June
Hong Shao, a traditional Chinese musician from Nicholasville, has been selected as the Kentucky Arts Council’s Featured Artist for May and June.

Lexington Artist Wins South Arts $5,000
State Fellowship

Becky Alley of Lexington has received a $5,000 State Fellowship from South Arts, making her one of nine artists to receive recognition from the regional arts organization of which the Kentucky Arts Council is a member.

First Lady Bevin Meets With Derby Exhibit Artists
Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin visited with artists featured in the Governor’s Derby Exhibit on April 26. Twenty-one of the 28 artists selected to be in the exhibit came to the Capitol Rotunda that day for a special meet-and-greet hosted by the Kentucky Arts Council.


June 15 – Application deadline
Kentucky Peer Advisory Network

June 30 – Application deadline
Specialists With Arts Tactics

Aug. 15 – Application deadline
Kentucky Crafted

Sept. 11 – Application deadline

HOLIDAYS (state offices closed)

July 4 – Independence Day


Student Artists Honored for EcoART Contest
The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) has selected its 2017 EcoART Contest student winners.

Kentucky Artisan Center honors state's history
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will honor the 225th Anniversary of Kentucky becoming a state in 2017, with the exhibit 225: Artists Celebrate Kentucky’s History.



South Arts

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a better South
through the arts.

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)


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Arts E-News is a publication of the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, which fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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