Louisville artists win purchase awards from Kentucky Arts Council
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Three Louisville artists are the recipients of Kentucky Arts Council purchase awards, the result of a grant the arts council received last year to continue its work with artists with disabilities.
The arts council put out a call to Kentucky artists to submit work for consideration to be used as the agency's accessibility programs and services brand. One piece of artwork by an artist with a disability would be chosen and purchased from the artist to be included in the arts council's collection.
Louisville visual artist Lori Montgomery was the first place winner, and artists Melody Bock-Freeman and Julie Baldyga were runners-up. Montgomery's work was purchased by the arts council. Bock-Freeman and Baldyga received funding support to be used for the purchase of art supplies and other items necessary to continue their work.
"The arts council has made great strides in our work to connect with and support artists with disabilities in Kentucky," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "I congratulate Lori, Melody and Julie on receiving these awards, and we thank the National Arts and Disability Center at UCLA and the National Endowment for the Arts in supporting this work in Kentucky."
The winning artwork by Montgomery is entitled "Sleep" and, according to the artist, is the first visual depiction she has created related to experiences with insomnia, one of many symptoms associated with her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder causes symptoms related to both schizophrenia and mood disorders.
"In the painting you can see the texture I used with the acrylic gel medium that provides flow from one image to another," she said. "As an artist, lying there on a sleepless night, the images you may see at 4 or 5 in the morning are things I may visualize as I'm trying to sleep. I have also depicted auditory and sensory experiences in the piece. There is a pearl that refers to the princess and the pea metaphor; a woman who can never get comfortable."
Montgomery's work was submitted for the competition through Creative Diversity Studio and Gallery in Louisville. In fact, she was not aware that the organization's director, Angela DeFebbo had submitted her work until she received notice she had won.
"I originally became a member in 2004 and returned recently to work with Creative Diversity. They offer great opportunities for artists with and without disabilities," said Montgomery. "Since I've rejoined, I have been lucky to sell not only this piece to the arts council, but also another piece to a private buyer. The exposure Creative Diversity has given me has been invaluable."
The artist said receiving notice of the award came at the right time.
"Winning the purchase award for that particular piece, the year after I had the worst symptoms in my history with my diagnosis, it was exciting," said Montgomery. "It was validating that my work as an artist can reach other people. Until last year I was very close-mouthed because of the stigma associated with my diagnosis. It's important to me that people see the positive side of the diagnosis as well. This painting was my first depiction of some of my symptoms, so it was very timely it was the one that was selected.
"It was also good for my sense of self as an artist, especially receiving the award from my home state of Kentucky that I feel really does a great job supporting artists and individuals with disabilities," Montgomery said.
The National Arts and Disability Center is a program of the Tarjan Center at UCLA, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities 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.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Click on thumbnail image to download a print-quality image.
By Lori Montgomery
By Melody Bock-Freeman
Peggy Duncan Looking at Her Fishes
By Julie Baldyga
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