Artist in Residence
Kentucky Library & Museum
Where do you currently work?
I work at the Kentucky Library & Museum at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY. The Kentucky Library & Museum is the Special Collections Department of Universities Libraries.
Tell me a bit about your career?
As Artist in Residence at the Kentucky Library & Museum, I work in the education department with various responsibilities. I explore and nourish collaborations with other art entities, artists, and crafts persons. Examples are the Side-by-Side annual art exhibit in collaboration with VSAarts of Kentucky, and the Bowling Green Gallery Hop, which consist of non-profits, businesses, and individual artists. I develop workshops for adults and curate exhibits with local and regional artists as basket maker Beth Hester and artist Willie Rascoe. I develop and direct history and art day camps for primary and secondary school age children and art programs for school field trips. I also do professional development for educators.
As an oral historian I worked with the Bunch Historic District project, Glasgow, KY, and with Greater Campbellsville United, Campbellsville, KY. Both projects were collecting histories from residents and former residents of the traditional historic African American communities within the towns.
As adjunct faculty at Western Kentucky University I have taught Introduction to Folklore.
As a visual artist I have exhibited work regionally, received many awards and have work in many collections in the region. I have a studio in my home and continue to paint, draw and recycle objects into my work. I have been involved in many artists' related organizations and taught drawing and painting workshops and classes.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
The study of folklore at Western Kentucky University awakened my awareness of community aesthetic. I have always believed that all things people create were intrinsically valuable without realizing the importance of social aesthetic. This understanding is a valuable tool in orchestrating community collaborations. Folklore fieldwork classes gave me a new range and appreciation of documentation and fieldwork, which I used as an oral historian. The professors painfully (painful for them) taught me how to effectively communicate my fieldwork through writing.
The professionalism, intellect, and compassion that I found in the professors in Western's Folklore Department changed my life. I have so many great memories of time spent in graduate school.