Kentucky Crafted: The Market, held March 3 - 6, at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center featured over 300 exhibitors of craft, 2-D art, food, books and recorded music. Offering free admission to all children under 16 this year boosted participation in the Children’s Activity areas. Total attendance is estimated at 8,930, which is slightly higher than 2004, which was 8,748.
Based on initial reports from exhibitors, overall sales are projected to be comparable to 2004. Kentucky Craft Marketing Program (KCMP) has received an abundance of positive comments from exhibitors, buyers, and the public in regard to the overall quality of products, appearance of the show, and professionalism of the exhibitors. New exhibitors, who are very attractive to all buyers, seemed to have fared very well. There are good reports of reactions to the product development efforts, and exhibitors being approached to develop new or customized products.
Wholesale trade attendance was slightly lower than last year, with 367 shops attending compared to 407 in 2004. Retailers from 21 states traveled to Louisville, some from as far away as Arizona and New York.
For the tenth consecutive year, the KCMP brought in retail shop owners and buyers from around the United States to The Market through its "Fly the Buyer" program. Eight retail shops received complimentary airfare and accommodations to attend. They represented galleries and shops with products ranging from two-dimensional art to fine crafts. The "Fly the Buyer" guests included: Karen Zucker, Klay Gallery, Nyack, NY; Eric Johnson, Ostafin Design, New York, NY; Ronni Kaman, The Collector Gift Gallery, Merrick, NY; Eunice Waller, Waverly House Gifts and Gallery, Springfield, MO; Deanne McKeown, Gifted Hands Gallery and Isadora Handweaving Gallery, Sedona, AZ; Aaron & Monica Maxwell, Harmony Ridge Gallery and Harmony Isle Gallery, Lewisburg, WV; Amy Hoffman, Arts & Artisans, Chicago, IL; and Sherry Masters, Grovewood Gallery, Asheville, NC.
Joining The Market for the first time were 64 new exhibitors, including 11 in the food section, 19 juried craft participants, 18 out-of-state guest exhibitors, 3 publishers, 12 visual artists, and one Kentucky organization.
The gallery section, back for the third year, featured 42 exhibitors, comprised of crafts and visual art that was one-of-a-kind and limited-production items, ideal for museums, collectors, and commissions.
New to the Market 2005 was the Designer Showcase, a collaboration between Osram Sylvania Inc., top students from the University of Kentucky School of Interior Design, and art and craft by juried members of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program (KCMP) "Live everyday surrounded by Kentucky's best" was the theme of the Designer Showcase and products from Market exhibitors were featured in a mock house setting to illustrate how Kentucky's impressive cache of art, craft and other products can be used as everyday furnishings and décor.
“This is a perfect example of how state programs are interacting with private businesses and higher education. The students got a chance to work one-on-one with highly skilled experts already in professional manufacturing fields. The students were introduced to art and craft works that could possibly be used in future projects. The manufacturers had the opportunity to present product lines and technical support to college programs. Also, visitors viewing the Designer Showcase had the opportunity to discover how art and lighting can enhance areas in their homes,” said Nancy Atcher, product development coordinator for the Craft Marketing Program.
The Kentucky Folklife Program featured members of the Mammoth Cave Basketmakers Guild who demonstrated white oak basketmaking traditions of South Central Kentucky. Basketmakers taking part in the weekend demonstrations included Lestel Childress of Park City, Leona Waddell and Sam Peters of Cecilia, Charles and Charlene Long of Upton, Frances and Willard Glass of Cub Run, and Beth Hester and Scott Gilbert of Scottsville.
Fifty-four teachers attended this year’s professional development teachers’ seminar, “Crafts and Beyond - Teaching Core Content through Kentucky Traditions”. The seminar focused on interacting with people who are full time writers, craftspeople, artists, musicians, and farmers. Teachers toured the Market, making contact with numerous artists and arranging for them to participate in school programs.
The Kentucky Arts Council's Marketplace booth represented 19 writers, musicians and music groups who were juried into the Kentucky Performing Arts Directory or who have received a Kentucky Arts Council Fellowship Award. Participating artists’ books, tapes and CDs were marketed and sold throughout the event. All of the Performing Arts Directory artists’ products have been compiled into a catalogue, detailing all titles available and ordering information.
The Cultural Stage presented 13 individual performers and performing groups that included artists from the Kentucky Arts Council’s 2004-2005 Performing Arts Directory (PAD) and the 2005 PAD Supplement. In addition to PAD artists, performances included exciting drama from the Kentucky Historical Society Theater, performers from the Governor’s School for the Arts along with food demonstrations from the Department of Agriculture.
Young visitors experienced the hands-on educational art and craft area in aisle 100 sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Little Loomhouse. Educational subjects included the importance of rivers in Kentucky through boat building demonstrations and hands-on activities inspired by the Kentucky History Center’s exhibit, A River Runs Through Us. Children were offered the experience of hand weaving by members of the Little Loomhouse.
The Kentucky Retail Federation sponsored a luncheon that featured Sherry Masters from Grovewood Gallery, Asheville, NC, (a Niche Award winning retailer) who led a discussion on topics pertinent to craft retailers and gallery owners from around the country. The sold out event was attended by over 50 store and gallery owners.
A first time workshop, Beginners Guide to Creating an Art Collection, hosted by the Kentucky Arts Council, was presented by individuals that have built incredible personal collections of original artwork. The workshop educated participants about identifying original work, motivations for buying art, where to look for it and how to buy it. Registered participants were invited to attend the exclusive, invitation only, Collector's Preview of Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2005, following the seminar. The first ever preview targeted special clients and VIPs of craft exhibitors and the sneak preview featured the gallery section showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited production fine craft and fine art pieces. The annual Market Awards and Silent Auction were included as part of the Collector’s Preview event.
Booth Design award winners were as follows: Farmington Fiber Arts, (Farmington), received the Best Of Show award; Lacetree Weavings, (Perryville), received the award for Best Overall Booth Design; Dan Neil Barnes Studios, (Lexington), received Best New In-State Exhibitor; Arrow Peak Metal Art, (Highwood, MT), received Best New Out-of-State Exhibitor; Belinda's Sugar-Free Foods, ( Goshen), received the Best Kentucky Proud Food Exhibitor award sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; and the Exhibitors’ Choice Award went to Dan Neil Barnes Studios, (Lexington). Laura Ross / Studio Potter, (Prospect), was the recipient of the annual Purchase Award.
The 2005 top retailers recipients were: Grovewood Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina for Top Out-Of-State Retailer; My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown, Kentucky for Top Kentucky State Park Retailer; The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, for Top Kentucky Retailer and A Taste of Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, for Top Kentucky Proud Food Retailer. As second year recipients in their respective categories, A Taste of Kentucky and The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will now be retired from the competition and become members of the Retailer Hall of Fame.
In recognition of long-term dedication to personal craft development and an exemplary level of accomplishment, three businesses were designated Kentucky Crafted Emeritus honorees and granted lifetime honorary juried participant status by the Craft Marketing Program.
The Kentucky artisans/craft businesses honored are as follows: Life Celebrations Art Design Studio, (James and Deborah Greene), LaGrange; Warren A. May, Woodworker, (Warren A. May), Berea; and Marie Hochstrasser, fiber artists, Lexington. “I am totally honored and deeply appreciative! I have always been more interested and energized to help make things happen in the arts for everybody. I am really touched by your committee's generosity and support,” said Marie Hochstrasser.