Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shakertown in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Wednesday, November 6th, Brian Rust (a sculptor and fellow finalist from Augusta, GA) and I had some time to kill before our meeting at 1 p.m. in Lexington.  We decided to visit Shakertown which is about a 40 minute drive south of Lexington
Main Street...
 ... and turning around...the view in the other direction.  It was a beautiful fall day and we had the place to ourselves.
 This is the largest building in the community.  It is made from hand-chiseled blocks of Kentucky River Marble.  The stone is 'flinty' hard and the corners of the building are still sharp after 150 years.
 The interior has that incredibly elegant simplicity; the hallmark of the Shaker aesthetic.
 They were also innovative craftsmen - way ahead of their time.  This efficient stove is an example of their beautiful solutions for meeting basic needs.
 Of course, my eye goes toward stone things.  This catch basin is carved from KY River Marble (and I would be hard pressed to duplicate it, especially if I had to use the tools that they had).
 On the back streets of Shakertown.
 This is a view inside the Meeting House (where all the spinning and shaking took place).  The girls came in through a separate door and sat on that side.  The boys came through their door and sat on this side....and well...this separation of the sexes isn't good for long term survival of a community.
 Brian and I made a couple stops down by the Kentucky River.  What follows is an amended description that was given to me by Walter Laughlin (Kentucky Covered Bridge Author / Historian) from a comment that he posted below. "This is Kentucky's first highway tunnel, built in the 1920's to remove a severe curve in the road".  It used to lead to an old iron truss bridge that was built in 1869.  The only thing left of the old bridge are the hewn stone abutments.  Thank you Walter Laughlin for correcting my first post - I remembered seeing a black and white picture of a covered bridge and thought that it was this site.
This is a view of the "Palisades" that line both sides of the Kentucky River (a great area to explore).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lexington Site Inspection with LexArts

Tuesday, November 5 and Wednesday November 6 were the 2 days scheduled for the Eco-Art finalists to visit Lexington and look at potential sites.  After a brief meeting with Jim Clark (President and CEO of LexArts), Nathan Zamarron (Community Arts Manager for LexArts) took myself and Brian Rust (a sculptor from Augusta, GA) on a tour of prospective sites.
 Our first stop was McConnell Springs, which is a hidden jewel on the west side of town.  This is a stainless steel sculpture by local artist Erika Strecker.
 Not far away was a second site by this bridge.  This is a temporary sculpture by an artist who just graduated from the nearby University of Kentucky.
 Beside the bridge is a warehouse that hosts local bands.  This mural is a marker for the Distillery District.
 Directly behind the artwork that features a steam locomotive and across Town Branch Creek is the locally owned R.J. Corman Railroad.  Nathan explained that they may soon open passenger traffic with Louisville - I love it!  One of the things that also came out (when I mentioned that we have a railroad caboose) was Nathan's 5 year involvement with the Art Train.  He said that he saw most of the country while riding in a caboose.
 We stopped at Ashland, which is the historic home of Henry Clay.
 Tucked away behind a bordering hedge is this beautiful formal garden.
 We went to Jacobsen Park on the East side of town and then to Clay's Ferry.  This is the I-75 bridge as it goes over the Kentucky River.  It's interesting to note how the 3 major concrete pylons are distinctly different sculptural forms.  (Art is where you find it.)
Our last stop was Raven Run's new visitors center.  We got there about 15 minutes before closing, so we didn't see much of the park.  I plan to make a day trip out to explore the place thoroughly as I was told that it is a real picturesque part of the Palisades of the Kentucky River.

The day ended with a reception at the Mayor's house where we got to see an amazing art collection and meet some artists from Brazil who are creating a 60' high by 50' mural downtown.  We were treated to a dinner, a night's stay at Gratz Park Inn and breakfast the next morning.

I was able to experience a side of Lexington that I'd not seen before and was quite happy for the tour and the hospitality.