Kentucky Artisan Center Berea
Folk Artist Jo Ann Butts Demonstrates Whimsical Animals at Kentucky Artisan Center Aug. 22

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, August 18, 2015  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
859-985-5448, ext. 230

On Saturday, Aug. 22, folk artist Jo Ann Butts, of Sandy Hook, will demonstrate making her whimsical folk art roosters and animals from 10:30 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Butts was born in 1950 in an old log cabin where her father, grandfather and great-grandfather were born on the Watson family farm in eastern Kentucky. Growing up in a hard-scrabble family, Butts learned to make toys for herself and her siblings. She learned to use a pocket-knife to make whistles, bows and arrows and a multitude of items.

“Growing up without anything helped sharpen my skills and helped me to learn how to work with my hands and create something from nothing,” Butts said.

Creating things runs in the family. After moving back to Kentucky from Ohio in 1999, it was her cousin, the famous folk artist Minnie Adkins, who encouraged Butts to begin working with wood. She started with a small sheep and slowly branched out until she now creates a wide variety of animals that reflect having grown up on a large hillside farm. She paints her pigs, hedge-hogs, sheep, skunks, fish, badgers, turtles and frogs with brightly colored paint. Her signature animal is the rooster, which she will be carving and painting during her demonstration at the Kentucky Artisan Center.


Photos, left to right: "Rooster" by Jo Ann Butts; Jo Ann Butts demonstrates at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea; an array of roosters and animals by Jo Ann Butts at the center.


Butts has also painted three murals on barns in Elliott County, where she lives. Her work is sold at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, and in the Huntington (West Virginia) Museum of Art as well as in galleries in five other states.

Works by Butts are regularly available at the center, located just off Interstate 75 at Berea Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the cafe open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The center features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. A gallery exhibit, “Turn, Turn, Turn: Lathe-turned Works by Kentucky Artisans,” is on display through Sept. 12. For information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448, visit us on Facebook at, or go to the center’s website at

Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.