Displaying items by tag: Glema Mahr Center for the Arts

  • Published in Music

Glema Center Unveils Impressive 2013-14 Lineup, Tickets Available Online

MADISONVILLE, KY (6/24/13) - The Madisonville Community College Glema Mahr Center for the Arts announces its 2013-14 Season: “Arts on Fire!” From the figurative “Ring of Fire” to the Kenya Safari Acrobats literally jumping through flame, this season promises to be sizzling! Headliners this season include the Time Jumpers (featuring Vince Gill, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, & Ranger Doug), Gloria Gaynor, and Rick Springfield.

The other “HOT” news is that the Glema now has online ticketing! Patrons can purchase tickets from the comfort of home, by phone, or in person. Tickets go on sale to current package buyers July 8, new package buyers July 22, and single tickets go on sale July 29. The Everything Ticket is only $350 for 20 performances and saves $115 off of the single ticket cost. Please call (270) 821-2787 or visit http://www.glemacenter.org for more information on the Center’s offerings.

There is still one more show left in the 2012-13 Season! The Glema Center’s community theatre production of Rodgers’ & Hammerstein’s The King & I runs July 19-21!


Glema Mahr Center for the Arts 2013-14 Season: “Arts on Fire!”


Center Stage Series

The Time Jumpers (featuring Vince Gill, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, & Ranger Doug)
Friday, September 13, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $45/$40

What began as a group of studio musicians getting together just for fun quickly evolved into The Time Jumpers becoming Nashville legends! The group earned a loyal following for their lively take on classic Western swing and old-school country music.
Sponsored by Old National Bank

Ring of Fire: The Life & Music of Johnny Cash
Friday, September 27, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $26/$21
Touching on the life and times of one of the world’s most legendary musical artists, Johnny Cash, the musical revue “Ring of Fire” is considered one of the best “jukebox musicals” of our time. Although Cash himself is never impersonated, Ring of Fire features a company of performers that will guide you on a journey through Cash’s storied life and celebrated music. With smashing medleys and bounce in its guitar-driven energy, this show will have you stompin’ your feet and asking for more! (Sponsored by Hudson Automotive)

Sarah Council Dance Projects-Featuring music performed by Carla Gover & Anna Gevalt-Roberts
Saturday, November 16, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 general admission
Sarah Council Dance Projects is a project-based dance company founded in 2007 by choreographer Sarah Council as a platform to create emotionally and physically honest dance performance works. These dances explore and reflect life’s poignant moments, from the beautiful to the tragic, and the curious to the absurd. (Sponsored by Juanita Badgett Performing Arts Endowment; Residency Support by the Estates of Ruth and Sue Anne Salmon. This performance and residency activities are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council)

Gloria Gaynor-Christmas with the Queen of Disco
Friday, December 13, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $40/$35

“I Will Survive” climbed to the top of Billboard’s Pop Charts in 1979, claiming the #1 position on two different occasions. Little did Gloria Gaynor know at the time, the song would eventually become a rallying cry for social survival and remain as relevant today as it was three decades ago. The inspiring single is just the tip of the iceberg where this talented performer’s repertoire is concerned. (Sponsored by Hopkins County Tourist & Convention Commission; Additional Support Provided by the Enduring Legacy of Mrs. Glema Mahr)

H.M.S. Pinafore Presented by New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Albert Bergeret, Artistic Director
Thursday, March 27, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $28/$24 (Children 12 & under half-price)

Now. Sea. Here. Ride a wave of music and laughter as romantic sailors, sisters, cousins, and aunts sing and dance their way across the deck of the fanciful British naval vessel with the improbable name. If you liked NYGASP’s productions of “The Mikado” and “Pirates of Penzance”, you’ll love the humor and beautiful music of Gilbert & Sullivan’s first masterpiece! (Sponsored by Anne P. Baker Endowment for Sustained Excellence in the Arts)

Rick Springfield
Friday, April 11, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $50/$45

For all of his accomplishments as an actor, best-selling author and documentary subject, Rick Springfield has always insisted his first love is music. With 25 million albums sold and 17 Top 40 hits, including the 1981 #1 hit “Jessie’s Girl”, (which earned him a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal), it is evident music is indeed his great love. (Sponsored by Baptist Health Madisonville)

US Bank Family Specials

A Children’s Nutcracker Presented by Children’s Center for Dance Education
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m.
Tickets: $16/$12 (Children 12 & under half-price)

Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet is performed by children for children. Children’s Center for Dance Education and local dancers celebrate this timeless classic. Auditions for local children will be held Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Kenya Safari Acrobats
Friday, April 25, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m.
Tickets: $18/$14 (Children 12 & under half-price)

The Kenya Safari Acrobats offer a truly unique cultural experience. They perform a non-stop ride of gravity-defying human pyramids, balancing, tumbling, limbo dancing, hurling through hoops and breathtaking contortions, all while clapping to a joyful Benga beat. Combining artistry with humor and playfulness, these gymnasts are a huge crowd pleaser!

Glema Mahr Chamber Music Series

Sonya Baker-Soprano
Thursday, October 3, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Sonya Gabrielle Baker, noted for her performances of American classical vocal music, has been heard in concert both nationally and internationally, from appearances in Carnegie Hall to the Kremlin.

Sarah E. Geller-Violin
Saturday, November 23, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Described as “a consummate artist performing with convincing vigor and passion,” violinist Sarah E. Geller has performed to critical acclaim coast to coast.

Sara Sant’Ambrogio-Cello
Thursday, February 27, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Grammy Award-winning cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio has performed throughout the world at major music centers and festivals and is a founding member of the Eroica Trio.

Pavel Kolesnikov-Piano, 2012 Honens Prize Laureate
Thursday, April 3, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

The Telegraph (London) describes 2012 Honens Prize Laureate pianist Pavel Kolesnikov’s playing as having “brilliance, but also a caressing, almost sly intimacy.”

Hancock Bank & Trust Coffeehouse Series

Robin & Linda Williams-Americana
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

For more than three decades now, These “Prairie Home Companion” regulars have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.”

Jane L. Powell-Goddess of Soul
Friday, November 8, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

“A certain talent comes along every 20 years or so, and Jane is it.” Tony Bennett
Ms. Powell quickly captivates any audience with her musical flexibility, open and playful personality, and spicy, spontaneous sense of humor.

Tiempo Libre-Latin Jazz
Saturday, February 1, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

This three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban music group is one of the hottest young bands today. This performance and residency activities are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.

Ben Sollee-Genre-bending Cello & Vocals
Saturday, March 22, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Known for his thrilling cello playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Ben Sollee possesses rough, smooth, smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements.

First United Bank and Trust Proud Partnerships

Hairspray! presented by Hopkins County Central High School Fine Arts Department
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 ∙ 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $12 (All students half-price)
Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan, Music & Lyrics by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman
Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the local TV dance program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair? Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Willy Wonka presented by Madisonville North Hopkins High School Music Department
Friday, March 14, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ Saturday, March 15, 2014 ∙ 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $12 (All students half-price)
Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley, Adapted for the Stage by Timothy Allen McDonald & Leslie Bricusse
Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Community Theatre
(Permanent support for Community Theatre provided by J.B. & Kiel Moore Community Programs Endowment)

I’m Not Rappaport by Herb Gardner-Dinner Theatre
February 20-22, 2014 ∙ 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: (includes dinner) $22

This Tony award-winning play takes a humorous, yet poignant look at dreams and the realities of aging through the eyes of two octogenarians. Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. (Sponsored by Dick & Phyllis Frymire and Ralph & Sue Mitchell)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
July 18 & 19, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ July 20, 2014 ∙ 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16 (general admission)

Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler
A rare instance of a musical thriller, the Glema proudly presents Stephen Sondheim’s chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous “barberism” and culinary crime. The sophisticated and breath-taking music mixes with visceral drama and deliciously funny moments of dark humor. You’ll find yourself laughing hysterically before gasping in surprise. Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International. Recommended for ages 14 and up due to violence and mature themes. (Sponsored by Don & Mary Susan Fishman)

Special Events

Back 2 School Bash
Saturday, August 17, 2013 ∙ 4–10 p.m.
Free Admission (Bring your lawn chairs)

Join us for this annual celebration of local talent featuring Guitar Center’s 2012 Battle of the Blues winner, Boscoe France, as this year’s Headliner.
(Sponsored by the Miner Family Arts Endowment)

A Community Christmas-MCC Singers & Local Ensembles
Friday, December 6, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m.
Free Admission

Join us for this annual tradition as local choral groups team up with community-based instrumental ensembles to ring in the Season.
(Sponsored by United Southern Bank Additional support provided by Mrs. Betty Trover, Allen & Pam Rudd, Barry & Gail Eveland, Dr. & Mrs. J.L. Hamman, & Dr. Judith L. Rhoads)

Kristen Iverson-Author of Full Body Burden
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m.
Free Admission

Kristen Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Ms. Iverson holds a Ph.D from the University of Denver and is an associate professor at the University of Memphis, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing. Full Body Burden has been chosen as MCC’s “Common Reader” for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Anne P. Baker Gallery

August 17-October 4, 2013
Glema Center Juried Art Exhibit & Glema Center Juried Photography Exhibit
Reception & Awards, Saturday, August 17, 2013 ∙ 2 p.m.

Permanent support for gallery exhibits provided by the Robbie P. Ruby Memorial Endowment.

Information about exhibits throughout the year, as well as any of the events mentioned above, are available at www.glemacenter.org

Sugg Street Post
Information/lineup provided by the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts via Brad Downall

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  • Published in Art

Glema Center Unveils Impressive 2013-14 Lineup, Tickets Available Online

MADISONVILLE, KY (6/24/13) - The Madisonville Community College Glema Mahr Center for the Arts announces its 2013-14 Season: “Arts on Fire!” From the figurative “Ring of Fire” to the Kenya Safari Acrobats literally jumping through flame, this season promises to be sizzling! Headliners this season include the Time Jumpers (featuring Vince Gill, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, & Ranger Doug), Gloria Gaynor, and Rick Springfield.

The other “HOT” news is that the Glema now has online ticketing! Patrons can purchase tickets from the comfort of home, by phone, or in person. Tickets go on sale to current package buyers July 8, new package buyers July 22, and single tickets go on sale July 29. The Everything Ticket is only $350 for 20 performances and saves $115 off of the single ticket cost. Please call (270) 821-2787 or visit http://www.glemacenter.org for more information on the Center’s offerings.

There is still one more show left in the 2012-13 Season! The Glema Center’s community theatre production of Rodgers’ & Hammerstein’s The King & I runs July 19-21!


Glema Mahr Center for the Arts 2013-14 Season: “Arts on Fire!”


Center Stage Series

The Time Jumpers (featuring Vince Gill, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, & Ranger Doug)
Friday, September 13, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $45/$40

What began as a group of studio musicians getting together just for fun quickly evolved into The Time Jumpers becoming Nashville legends! The group earned a loyal following for their lively take on classic Western swing and old-school country music.
Sponsored by Old National Bank

Ring of Fire: The Life & Music of Johnny Cash
Friday, September 27, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $26/$21
Touching on the life and times of one of the world’s most legendary musical artists, Johnny Cash, the musical revue “Ring of Fire” is considered one of the best “jukebox musicals” of our time. Although Cash himself is never impersonated, Ring of Fire features a company of performers that will guide you on a journey through Cash’s storied life and celebrated music. With smashing medleys and bounce in its guitar-driven energy, this show will have you stompin’ your feet and asking for more! (Sponsored by Hudson Automotive)

Sarah Council Dance Projects-Featuring music performed by Carla Gover & Anna Gevalt-Roberts
Saturday, November 16, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 general admission
Sarah Council Dance Projects is a project-based dance company founded in 2007 by choreographer Sarah Council as a platform to create emotionally and physically honest dance performance works. These dances explore and reflect life’s poignant moments, from the beautiful to the tragic, and the curious to the absurd. (Sponsored by Juanita Badgett Performing Arts Endowment; Residency Support by the Estates of Ruth and Sue Anne Salmon. This performance and residency activities are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council)

Gloria Gaynor-Christmas with the Queen of Disco
Friday, December 13, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $40/$35

“I Will Survive” climbed to the top of Billboard’s Pop Charts in 1979, claiming the #1 position on two different occasions. Little did Gloria Gaynor know at the time, the song would eventually become a rallying cry for social survival and remain as relevant today as it was three decades ago. The inspiring single is just the tip of the iceberg where this talented performer’s repertoire is concerned. (Sponsored by Hopkins County Tourist & Convention Commission; Additional Support Provided by the Enduring Legacy of Mrs. Glema Mahr)

H.M.S. Pinafore Presented by New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Albert Bergeret, Artistic Director
Thursday, March 27, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $28/$24 (Children 12 & under half-price)

Now. Sea. Here. Ride a wave of music and laughter as romantic sailors, sisters, cousins, and aunts sing and dance their way across the deck of the fanciful British naval vessel with the improbable name. If you liked NYGASP’s productions of “The Mikado” and “Pirates of Penzance”, you’ll love the humor and beautiful music of Gilbert & Sullivan’s first masterpiece! (Sponsored by Anne P. Baker Endowment for Sustained Excellence in the Arts)

Rick Springfield
Friday, April 11, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $50/$45

For all of his accomplishments as an actor, best-selling author and documentary subject, Rick Springfield has always insisted his first love is music. With 25 million albums sold and 17 Top 40 hits, including the 1981 #1 hit “Jessie’s Girl”, (which earned him a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal), it is evident music is indeed his great love. (Sponsored by Baptist Health Madisonville)

US Bank Family Specials

A Children’s Nutcracker Presented by Children’s Center for Dance Education
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m.
Tickets: $16/$12 (Children 12 & under half-price)

Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet is performed by children for children. Children’s Center for Dance Education and local dancers celebrate this timeless classic. Auditions for local children will be held Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Kenya Safari Acrobats
Friday, April 25, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m.
Tickets: $18/$14 (Children 12 & under half-price)

The Kenya Safari Acrobats offer a truly unique cultural experience. They perform a non-stop ride of gravity-defying human pyramids, balancing, tumbling, limbo dancing, hurling through hoops and breathtaking contortions, all while clapping to a joyful Benga beat. Combining artistry with humor and playfulness, these gymnasts are a huge crowd pleaser!

Glema Mahr Chamber Music Series

Sonya Baker-Soprano
Thursday, October 3, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Sonya Gabrielle Baker, noted for her performances of American classical vocal music, has been heard in concert both nationally and internationally, from appearances in Carnegie Hall to the Kremlin.

Sarah E. Geller-Violin
Saturday, November 23, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Described as “a consummate artist performing with convincing vigor and passion,” violinist Sarah E. Geller has performed to critical acclaim coast to coast.

Sara Sant’Ambrogio-Cello
Thursday, February 27, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Grammy Award-winning cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio has performed throughout the world at major music centers and festivals and is a founding member of the Eroica Trio.

Pavel Kolesnikov-Piano, 2012 Honens Prize Laureate
Thursday, April 3, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

The Telegraph (London) describes 2012 Honens Prize Laureate pianist Pavel Kolesnikov’s playing as having “brilliance, but also a caressing, almost sly intimacy.”

Hancock Bank & Trust Coffeehouse Series

Robin & Linda Williams-Americana
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

For more than three decades now, These “Prairie Home Companion” regulars have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.”

Jane L. Powell-Goddess of Soul
Friday, November 8, 2013 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

“A certain talent comes along every 20 years or so, and Jane is it.” Tony Bennett
Ms. Powell quickly captivates any audience with her musical flexibility, open and playful personality, and spicy, spontaneous sense of humor.

Tiempo Libre-Latin Jazz
Saturday, February 1, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

This three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban music group is one of the hottest young bands today. This performance and residency activities are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.

Ben Sollee-Genre-bending Cello & Vocals
Saturday, March 22, 2014 ∙ 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission)

Known for his thrilling cello playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Ben Sollee possesses rough, smooth, smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements.

First United Bank and Trust Proud Partnerships

Hairspray! presented by Hopkins County Central High School Fine Arts Department
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 ∙ 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $12 (All students half-price)
Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan, Music & Lyrics by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman
Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the local TV dance program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair? Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Willy Wonka presented by Madisonville North Hopkins High School Music Department
Friday, March 14, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ Saturday, March 15, 2014 ∙ 2 & 7 p.m.
Tickets: $12 (All students half-price)
Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley, Adapted for the Stage by Timothy Allen McDonald & Leslie Bricusse
Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Community Theatre
(Permanent support for Community Theatre provided by J.B. & Kiel Moore Community Programs Endowment)

I’m Not Rappaport by Herb Gardner-Dinner Theatre
February 20-22, 2014 ∙ 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: (includes dinner) $22

This Tony award-winning play takes a humorous, yet poignant look at dreams and the realities of aging through the eyes of two octogenarians. Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. (Sponsored by Dick & Phyllis Frymire and Ralph & Sue Mitchell)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
July 18 & 19, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m. ∙ July 20, 2014 ∙ 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16 (general admission)

Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler
A rare instance of a musical thriller, the Glema proudly presents Stephen Sondheim’s chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous “barberism” and culinary crime. The sophisticated and breath-taking music mixes with visceral drama and deliciously funny moments of dark humor. You’ll find yourself laughing hysterically before gasping in surprise. Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International. Recommended for ages 14 and up due to violence and mature themes. (Sponsored by Don & Mary Susan Fishman)

Special Events

Back 2 School Bash
Saturday, August 17, 2013 ∙ 4–10 p.m.
Free Admission (Bring your lawn chairs)

Join us for this annual celebration of local talent featuring Guitar Center’s 2012 Battle of the Blues winner, Boscoe France, as this year’s Headliner.
(Sponsored by the Miner Family Arts Endowment)

A Community Christmas-MCC Singers & Local Ensembles
Friday, December 6, 2013 ∙ 7 p.m.
Free Admission

Join us for this annual tradition as local choral groups team up with community-based instrumental ensembles to ring in the Season.
(Sponsored by United Southern Bank Additional support provided by Mrs. Betty Trover, Allen & Pam Rudd, Barry & Gail Eveland, Dr. & Mrs. J.L. Hamman, & Dr. Judith L. Rhoads)

Kristen Iverson-Author of Full Body Burden
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 ∙ 7 p.m.
Free Admission

Kristen Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Ms. Iverson holds a Ph.D from the University of Denver and is an associate professor at the University of Memphis, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing. Full Body Burden has been chosen as MCC’s “Common Reader” for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Anne P. Baker Gallery

August 17-October 4, 2013
Glema Center Juried Art Exhibit & Glema Center Juried Photography Exhibit
Reception & Awards, Saturday, August 17, 2013 ∙ 2 p.m.

Permanent support for gallery exhibits provided by the Robbie P. Ruby Memorial Endowment.

Information about exhibits throughout the year, as well as any of the events mentioned above, are available at www.glemacenter.org

Sugg Street Post
Information/lineup provided by the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts via Brad Downall

Read more...

Sonic Lifestyles – Mixing Music with Technology

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/14/13) - It is not too often that I get to conduct an interview with someone who is in a bathtub. I can now officially check that one off of my bucket list.

However, this was not just your run-of-the-mill bathtub interview, but a sonic adventure of epic proportions. Not only that, but this particular sonic adventure was being conducted while my interviewee was relaxing in a Sonic Lifestyles bathtub outside, beneath beautiful maple trees, on a warm summer day. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

You are probably asking yourself; how this could possibly be an adventure if those in question never left the yard they were relaxing in? My answer—music can take you anywhere, and when sonic vibrations are coursing through your body, all you’ve got to do is close your eyes and let that music transport you to another place, another time, or maybe even another dimension.

The Sugg Street Post recently had the pleasure of interviewing local light and sound engineer extraordinaire, visual artist, and Glema Mahr Center for the Arts Technical Director, Robert Blumrick. This man literally doesn’t go anywhere without a large, shiny Texan belt buckle and a huge, easygoing smile.

While I’ve known Robert Blumrick for a while, heard the fabled tales of his musical bathtub making capabilities, and seen his talents when it came to making a large lighted sign of a moose’s butt for a play I was in, I truly didn’t know the scope of his technical background or his ability to create such a wide variety of things that I never knew I needed until I saw them. One of those things being a massage table that not only played music of your choice, but allowed your body to feel the beat of the music as you were listening to it. Couple that with a decent back massage and you’ve got yourself set.

"credit" Jessica DockreyRob is the founder of Sonic Lifestyles, a local company that pairs music with technology to create a wide variety of different products that will dramatically improve your lifestyle. From beautifully colored musical light boxes, acoustic guitars that literally are speakers, pianos that house televisions, sonic massage tables, and yes, even sonic bathtubs. Rob allows his creativity to guide him as he expresses his world visually with the talents he has developed over the years.

So, how did Rob develop these talents? What brought him all the way from Texas to the great city of Madisonville, KY? What caused him to develop his first sonic tub? And what quirky products is Rob planning on developing in the future?

To uncover these mysteries, myself, as well as Sugg Street Post writer Luke Short and photographer Jessi Smith, came along with Robert Blumrick on our mystical journey and now we will never look at seemingly ordinary household fixtures the same way again. The results of our sonic adventure are as follows:

"credit" Jessi SmithJessica Dockrey - Tell me a little bit about your background?

Robert Blumrick - I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. When I was in the 5th grade, my dad brought home this four track recorder and said, “Don’t touch it.” So, that began my audio career. [laughs] The best way to get kids to learn anything is to say, “Stay away from this. This is an expensive piece of equipment. Don’t touch it.” I used this little four track recorder to mix for his band and stuff. Totally the wrong piece of equipment to do it but it worked. I was doing live stuff and then my friends would come over after school, or on the weekends, and we would lay down stupid tracks with the guitars and stuff like that.

Jess - So your father was in a band? What instrument did he play?

Rob - My dad has always played guitar. He has played ever since I can remember. Here’s a photo of me with my dad jamming on a mandolin that I didn’t know how to play. My dad has been in a million bands. For a long time he was in a band called Moby and the Whalers. It was these two big ole’ fat guys—This guy named Jim and his son. They were very “Weeble-like” people, they were fun to watch live, and they could really wail on stage. They were a party band and they played covers. It was like a 900-piece band. They had horns, five or six keyboard players, and two or three drummers. [laughs] It was a lot of fun. I think they fired their sound guy because they knew they could use me for free. So I was going into bars and stuff with my dad. I’m not sure what he told my mom. I almost got beat up by a biker once because his old lady was trying to dance with me. I was only 15! But anyways, it was a lot of fun and it kind of corrupted me for good, I guess.

Jess - How did you come to move to Kentucky?

Rob - When I was 18, I joined the army, left Texas, and came to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The army is what brought me up north here. I got married, had a kid, got divorced, and went to college at Murray [State University]. I took classes at Murray from 2000 until 2005.  I was a business major my first year and a half until I saw [the movie] Office Space. [laughs] I decided I couldn’t be a business major anymore. I said, “No, this isn’t going to do it.”

Jess - What direction did you take your schooling after you decided being a business major wasn’t for you?

Rob - I think I changed to a theatre major in 2001 or 2002. I can’t remember. I had this Intro[duction] to Theatre class with David Balthrop. I went up and talked to him one day after class and I said, “Hey man. What do I do to get into sound?” He says, “Well, we don’t have a sound program but you can just be a general theatre major and that’s probably better anyways.” So I did that and now I’m in theatre.” [laughs]

Jess - What were some of the main stage shows that you did while you were there? Did you work on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead back in 2000?

Rob - That was actually right before I changed my major. The first main stage show that I did was Oklahoma and I mixed for that. I did sound design. Here’s something that I’ve noticed in the field of sound. If you’re moderately good at it, you’re better than everybody else—at least around you immediately. So, because I was moderately good, people started asking for me, specifically, to run the sound and do sound design. I look back on it and I’m like, this was not very good [laughs] but it was audible. I did the sound design for Our Town at Murray. There were several others I worked on. I did lighting and sound design for The Woman in Black for the Krider Performing Arts Center in Paris, Tennesse. That was college so I don’t remember all of it. I could look through my records and figure it out but I just never do.

Jess - So what degrees did you finally graduate with?

Rob - I graduated from Murray in 2005 with a theatre major and journalism minor.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - Were you also working at the time?

Rob - I had been working for WKMS [91.3FM], and again, if you’re moderately good at doing anything in sound you still stand out above everyone else. I was good at editing with the program that they were using back then so they wanted me in there all the time. Around that time, the Carson Center [in Paducah, KY] opened and while it was being built somebody suggested that I apply there. So, I sent them my resume and never heard anything. I didn’t really expect to because I was still in college at that time. Regardless, they called me up about a week before the first show, which was Vince Gill, and asked me to be a part of the crew. So, I start working there on whatever crew they put me on for the first couple of shows. Most of their equipment was foreign to me. This was the pro world! I didn’t even know what I was doing sending in my resume! I don’t know what I would have done if they’d hired me because I didn’t recognize any of that stuff. [laughs] This was like going from guitar center stuff to touring stuff—real stuff. But I was a fast learner and by about six months in we had a Jars of Clay show. Well, the resident engineer was better at making enemies then she was at running sound. So they pulled me aside and said, “Hey man. Do you think you could take over today if we let her go?” I was like, “Yeah. Sure. No problem.” So from then on I was their sound guy and so I got a lot of great experience doing that before I even graduated college. After I graduated, I got a job at the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennesse doing lights and sound there. It was not a good gig. I learned a lot about some of the state-of-the-art lighting stuff but it quickly turned into a 70 hour-a-week thing. We ran the same show three to four times a day. They wanted me up in the booth running lights and sound and then, in between shows, get up and fix the lights that would break or whatever.

Jess - You were probably salaried too so they were abusing that privilege. [laughs]

Rob - Oh yeah. I was salaried. When they told me I couldn’t train my spotlight operators to do that job so that I could come in and fix the lights instead of running the entire show every day, I just knew it was going to get worse. So I put my notice in there and went back to the Carson Center. Dixie Stampede was kind of like a summer gig and that was during the Carson Center’s slow time, so I didn’t really miss anything.

Jess - So how did you end up in Madisonville?

Rob - Retha Tarter, Patty Lutz, and Glema Mahr had come to a presenters network meeting of some sort in Paducah. They had told one of the guys who worked there that they were looking for a technical director at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts. He knew that I was looking for a fulltime job, so he came up and told me, “Hey. There are these people here from Madisonville.” I’d heard of the name from working at WKMS. He introduced me to them and they encouraged me to apply. So I did and now I’m here. I’ve been working there now for six years.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - How do you like working there?

Rob - I’ve enjoyed working at the Glema Center. It’s a great job. It’s probably one of the coolest jobs in Hopkins County. In a lot of respects, it’s the holy grail of theatre work. You don’t have to tour. It’s a full-time job and you get benefits. That being said, it is kind of lacking in the actual money part. At first, it’s great. But, after you’ve gotten that experience, you start to feel like you deserve a little bit more. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no advancement and no chance at that. So, there are tradeoffs. That’s why I was trying to get something else going on the side. Trying to do the signs, trying to do tubs, or whatever I can do. I can use my knowledge, and whatever weird stuff that pops into my head, and do it professionally. The problem is, the weird stuff that pops into my head is not typically the stuff that people think of as stuff that they’d want to pay me to do. [laughs]

Jess - The first thing you made, the sonic tub, how did that all go down?

Rob - Beer. [laughs] Let’s see. I had ordered some transducers and I hadn’t really told anybody about it. My buddy Mike Coke was over here and—it’s funny how after a divorce you’ve suddenly got all this time on your hands—so we were just kind of sitting here one day when a box got dropped off on my front porch. I was like, “Cool! My transducers came!” and he goes, “What?” [laughs] So I showed him what I wanted to do with them. He went out to his truck, grabbed his sawzall, and we went down to the basement and cut some holes in the floor. I said, “Now my bathtub isn’t going to fall through is it?” He was like, “No. It’s good, probably.” [laughs] It hasn’t fallen through yet. But we turned it on and it was amazing. It wasn’t the best sound but it was sound nonetheless. It sounded even better when there was water in the tub. So I started experimenting with different transducers. I did one in Neil and Katie Vowell’s bathtub and I did a something a little different with theirs. Instead of using a home audio receiver, I figured that, because of space, a car stereo or a boat stereo specifically, would be better to use. Theirs actually has a command module that is wired through the wall and just suction cups to the bathtub. You can change radio stations from the bathtub and everything.

Jess - How much do you charge for something like that?

Rob - I typically charge $30 an hour for labor and then just parts on top of that. I started with the tub. The piano was next.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - It’s such a great way to save space!

Rob - I don’t feel like the TV should be, visually, the center point of your room. It should be an accessory that you use. A lot of people are going to laptops now because they don’t want the computer to be a fixture in their house. They just want a computer to use when they want to use it. People are using iPads and tablet a lot more now. You can stick it in a basket underneath your coffee table, or put it on an easel and use it as a picture frame until you want to use it. There are so many ways now that you can conceal this stuff. You can have a TV drop down from inside the ceiling if you wanted to. They make mounts that come down and they make mounts that go up. Nowadays, kitchens have a lot more cabinet space. People will put little 13 inch TV screens in there. I’ve seen some of these lifts be used to be put down underneath a kitchen counter. You can bring your bar up through the counter top. Hit the button and there’s your [Jose] Cuervo.

Jess - How did you get the piano?

Rob - The piano was given to me and my ex by her dad. It’s just a piano that had been taken out of a house he had purchased at an auction. He bought the estate but he didn’t want to have anything to do with the piano. For one, it’s a piano. [laughs] It’s heavy and it’s tough to move. Old pianos are not worth anything unless they are particularly worth something. This is just a standard consumer model piano that was made in 1951. There isn’t anything remarkable about it at all. It’s a Chicago Victor, which sounds kind of remarkable but it’s not. It was unplayable. Eight of the keys stuck and it was horribly out of tune. It would have cost a thousand dollars just to make it playable. There would be no point spending a thousand dollars on something that was unremarkable in the first place, when it wouldn’t be as good as something I could go to the store and buy for a thousand bucks anyway. The finish was all cracked and gunky. We took the entire thing apart and refinishing it. It took a week and a half to strip it and then another week to refinish it.

Jess - Weren’t you going to create some sort of art piece with the pieces you removed from the inside?

Rob - The inside parts are still in my garage. I had a couple ideas for them. I could put the playable parts back together because it’s not that hard to do that, even outside of a case. Then, I could either give it or sell it to a children’s museum so they could show how a piano visibly works. However, I think the more likely scenario is for me to take the keys and the harp and do something artistic with them. But, again, it’s finding a market. That’s the toughest part. All this stuff doesn’t sound like it costs a whole lot of money but I was surprised at how fast I blew through a ton of money working on different projects.

"credit" freedigitalphotos.netJess - Tell me about this beautiful dragonfly light that you made.

Rob - I made it with a fluorescent fixture instead of LEDs, so it’s bright. The colors are, I think, a lot more beautiful and vibrant. You actually get a whole lot more of the color spectrum being emitted from florescent lights, whereas with LEDS, the very thing that makes it possible for them to change colors like that is what limits how vibrant the colors are. They emit just a tiny, tiny fraction of the visible spectrum. So my advice, don’t get LED headlights for your car. It’s a bad idea. They are just not good. You’re getting a very limited piece of the spectrum, so even if it seems bright it’s not. Even if it looks white, it’s not white. It’s a very pale blue.

Jess - And you made this for your wife?

Rob - Yes, I did. I made this for her for Valentine’s Day. I got married on February 23, 2013.

Luke Short - Was there a certain reason you went with a dragonfly?

Rob - Well, I had been drafting some different ideas. One of the things I had sketched out was this sailboat [referring to another colorful piece on a nearby wall], which actually started out as a pair of lips. But, after I drew the lips I thought they didn’t look very good. [laughs] I like it as a sailboat better. Tanya had mentioned to me before how she liked dragonflies and stuff, so I sketched out what I thought a dragonfly would look like if I just used simple lines that don’t connect. She really likes it and it is my favorite one too. I made another one that is decorated with butterflies for my grandmother. That one is in Houston. It’s a small pyramid and it’s like that one [referring to another large triangular piece], except it has three sides. It’s meant to stand alone or you can hang it on your wall. They all began with the Moose Paddy sign.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - [laughing] Yes, let’s talk about the Moose Paddy sign. You created that for Almost, Maine, a play put on by the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts in Madisonville. Now, were you asked to make it or did you just decide to do it on your own?

Rob - Steve [Hudgins] asked me, he said, “Man, we really need a neon sign for this bar [the Moose Paddy].” I said, “I can’t make neon, dude. I don’t know how to do that. It’s out of my skill set. I don’t think we can buy a neon either because those are expensive.” [laughs] So I set to work figuring out what our options were. I tried to project it against the side of the bar, but then I thought it’d be so much cooler if I could actually make a neon sign. I had seen people create shadow boxes before and so I decided that might be worth exploring. So, I Googled pictures of moose and I found this one that was the backside of a moose. [laughs] I thought it would be funny. So, I did a simple outline and put the words Moose Paddy across it.

Jess - I remember it being a huge success. [laughs] Now, tell me about what you are doing with these massage tables.

Rob - I bought a really nice one from Pat Ballard. He had purchased it back when he had grand dreams of becoming a masseuse. He went to massage school but it didn’t quite pan out. [laughs] Ask him about it some time. Yeah, I bought a really nice one from him and I outfitted it with four of these small transducers. I tell you what, it’s nice. I can set it up so you can check it out. The amplifier I use for this is the same one I use for the tub. There is a higher end version of this massage table over at James and Debbie Gibb’s house. It’s amazing. That was the first one I ever made, actually. Generally, I try to make a less expensive version. They are really good tables and they are portable.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - Now, let’s talk about the tub. I really want one of these things. Is there any way to shock yourself in one?

Rob - Not unless your bathtub leaks, which means it’s time to get a new bathtub anyway.

Jess - Could you do the same thing with a hot tub?

Rob - It’s tougher in a hot tub because a hot tub has so much insulation around it. It almost has to be manufactured that way. I did look into that.

Luke - I would just chill in the tub all day.

Rob - That’s the danger. You get one of these and then all of a sudden every bath is three hours long. [laughs]

Jess - Does Sonic Lifestyles have a theme or a motto?

Rob - The problem I’ve found with my company name being Sonic Lifestyles is that it’s not all about sound; it’s all about whatever I tinker with. So, most of the time that winds up being sound related, but frequently, it’s lighting. Frequently, it’s just stuff. The piano, for example, has nothing to do with sound and nothing to do with lighting. It’s just something that I had an idea for. I’m thinking about changing the name, but Sonic Lifestyles just sounds cool. I want to call that thing [massage table] the Wave Table. This [bathtub] could be the Wave Tub, Sonic Escape Pod, or the Sonic Tub.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - Why do you think it’s so important to mix music with technology?

Rob - Music is technology. Music drives technology. Technology drives music. People invent instruments that are not instruments. Back in the 80’s people would say, “Well, you can’t even call these people musicians because they are just programming a computer.” Well you know, that’s an instrument now. A computer is an instrument. If you’re doing nothing but programming it, what are you doing? You’re at least composing. That’s musicianship. Along with the different types of technology available to make these new instruments and to make these new musical sounds. Music changes because of it. I mean, now people can come up with some cool sounding music, produce it all themselves, and they end up with this studio quality CD that sounds awesome.

Luke - Well, if you think about it, the electric guitar wasn’t around until the turn of the century and then Bob Dylan got booed off the stage for playing electric guitar. Then, a year later, everybody’s on the bus.

Rob - Exactly.

Jess - Why is art and being creative so important to you in your life?

Rob - It’s not important to me. It is me. Artist is not a term I would self-apply. It’s up to other people to give to me if I’m to take it. But, artists don’t sit around and try to think up a picture to draw or something. They see the world in a certain way and they try to express that somehow. Carpenters, people who remodel homes, they look at a home and that’s their canvas. Art is not necessarily about a skill that you have. It’s about the way that you see something. Whatever skill you develop is based on the way that you see that. If you see pictures and you want to express your world visually, then you’re going to develop a skill that helps you do that—such as painting, photography, graphic art, something like that. If you see pictures in the sound, then you’re going to develop a skill that helps you express that. It’s kind of like learning how to talk. You talk based on what sounds you are able to make as a child. Not everybody can make the same sounds. The way that you talk is shaped by the sounds that you are physically able to make. It’s the same way with art. What you’re able to see is going to determine how you express yourself.

"credit" Jessi SmithJess - Who in your life has influenced you or supported you the most?

Rob - Of course, my parents. They always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted, really—to figure out the world on my own. They guided me, obviously. They didn’t just throw me out and say, “Figure it out buddy!” They didn’t limit me from anything except that which would be harmful to me physically. As far as support goes, the people who generally are attracted to hanging out with me are pretty encouraging. Once I stopped worrying about what other people wanted to think of me, and once I stopped worrying about what I wanted other people to think about me, was when the people who would be supportive of me started hanging out with me. Those are the people who wind up being your real friends. They aren’t going to judge you for what you think. If you start getting a little too off the wall, they might say, “Hey you’re getting a little too off the wall here!” But those are the moments when maybe you need to step back and say, “Ok. Maybe I am getting too far off the wall.” [laughs] But yeah, for the most part, the people who will be naturally attracted to hanging out with you are going to be the people who are supportive of what you’re doing. Those are the people who are going to be a positive role in your life.

Jess - What are the future goals of Sonic Lifestyles and what are some different products ideas you have for the future?

Rob - I’d like to create something for some people to do. I would really love to be able to employee people. I feel like,  periods of economic down aren’t necessarily a problem. I see that as a shift. Either people are tired of buying the same old crap or money is not being circulated in the same way it was in years past. So, it’s up to us to figure out how to get it circulating in a different way. There are people who have money and they’re going to hold onto it unless they see a reason to let go of it. If you can convince them to let go of it, then you’re doing your job, then you’re stimulating the economy. If they don’t have a reason to let go of it then why should they? This business is an experimental thing. I’m trying to make odd products that just haven’t been thought of before. I’m trying to make stuff that just hasn’t been widely thought of, at least. Even if what I do isn’t completely original or completely creative, at least it’s different.

"credit" Jessi SmithAs far as products I’d like to create in the future—now this is where it gets into the other people who could be involved. Eric [Stephens] came up with a really cool idea, building on the piano idea, but with an old TV. Take the tube out and make that into a fish tank. It would be awesome. Then you could put a TV behind it that could raise out at the touch of a button. With lift mechanisms, there is nothing that you can’t do. People have even put them in cars. I saw a video of a guy who put a 50 inch TV into an Acura sports car. The hatchback comes up and the TV comes out and it has speakers all over the place.

Also building on the piano idea, I could put an electronic keyboard in there or an electric piano and mount it where the keys were. I could use transducers or speakers and an amplifier to make it an actual playing piano as well. You could still have a TV in it. Another thing, if somebody had a piano that they really liked and they enjoyed playing it, we can put a box on the back of the piano and mount the lift in the box to conceal the TV when it isn’t in use That’s not a tough thing to do either. I’ve seen it done with a steam organ. That’s really neat. But, stimulating the economy isn’t just about throwing money into it, it’s about getting the money that’s there to start flowing. If the goal is to get rich people to give you money, you’ve got to give them a reason to give you their money. They didn’t get rich by throwing their money around. You’ve got to give them a reason to let go of it. I’m hoping to give people a reason to let go of that money. [laughs]

Man, I love bubbles.

"credit" Jessi Smith

                   _______________________________________________

Interested in some custom work from Sonic Lifestyles? Contact Robert Blumrick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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  • Published in Art

Barbie Hunt - Living Out Loud

"credit" Jeff HarpHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/28/13) – If you live in or around Madisonville, then you’ve probably heard the name Barbie Hunt, which has become synonymous with creativity, spirituality, and brilliant color. Barbie has been embellishing the world with her distinctive artistic flair her entire life, of which, timeframe-wise, she refuses to release specific information about.

“If a woman tells you her age, she’ll tell you anything,” laughs Barbie.

Well-known in Hopkins County for her unique and imaginative style, Barbie is a staple in our area. In turn, many follow her work and any new projects she becomes involved in. Barbie’s art is becoming highly sought after and collected both locally and around the world.

Some of the unique treasures Barbie brings into existence include ceramic pottery, brightly painted silk scarves, collage work, mixed media pieces, and paintings of all mediums. Aside from her studio, which is located at 37 South Main Street in downtown Madisonville, you can see Barbie’s work in various places around town, such as McCoy & McCoy Laboratories and The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern.

"credit" Jeff Harp
I was introduced to Barbie Hunt at a young age by my grandmother, Beverly Dockrey, who belonged to a book club that Barbie was a part of. My grandmother, knowing my love of art and painting, took me into Barbie’s studio where we were introduced. It wasn’t long before I was completely inspired by this woman, her unbelievable talents, and her friendly disposition.

Since then, I have kept up with Barbie’s work and recently had the pleasure of sitting down with her in her studio to talk about her life, her great accomplishments thus far, and her hopes for the future.

Barbie grew up in Barlow, KY, a small town on the west side of Ballard County. Her father, Gayle Perry, was an agriculture teacher at the local high school; her mother, Adeline Perry, was a stay-at-home-mom, as were many others at that time.

"credit" Jessi Smith
“My parents were World War II people,” explains Barbie. “I think my mother was a frustrated artist. She was a very creative person. We always had projects going on around the house. Later in her life, she took some classes and she became a very good painter. I have a few of her paintings. My mother wanted to be creative, but the culture was to stay at home and take care of your kids. I have a brother and a sister, so there were three of us. I’m the middle child. We lived in a nice neighborhood and we had the run of the town. We rode our bikes and walked everywhere. It was a very, I guess, common childhood for people who grew up in small towns like that. There were lots of thriving small towns at that time.”

Barbie’s father was a talented musician from Dawson Springs who also put his creative talents on hold while he provided for his family and focused on family life.

“My dad played all kinds of instruments. He could play the fiddle, guitar, banjo, anything,” says Barbie. “He sort of set that aside, however, because he didn’t think that was very important. He played in a band and stuff like that during the war, but, afterwards, I would say that generation—when they got home—really settled into family life in a way that we don’t really see now. They put aside things that they shouldn’t have, like my mother who spoke two languages. We’re Americans and we don’t speak German. Of course, German wouldn’t have been a good language to speak at that time. My mother’s parents came over from Germany and my mother grew up in North Dakota. Her mother was from Denmark. She had a working knowledge of both German and Dutch, but none of that was something that carried down to us kids.”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Barbie says that her father’s musical career really started taking off as she grew older.

“I was around 10 or 12 when he really started getting into it because of new worship songs that were coming out. That’s when ‘How Great Thou Art’ was a new song,” laughs Barbie. “These songs started coming out with guitar, which was brand new to the church. Well, he got into that and started to learn all these songs. He just loved playing worship music on his guitar. In fact, before he died of cancer, he planned his own funeral and he invited all these friends of his that he’d been pickin’ with in different worship settings. We had like eight guitarists in this traditional Methodist church doing all this music that these people had never really heard. Are you familiar with the Great Banquet in Madisonville? Well, we helped to start it. We also helped to start the Walk to Emmaus in Murray, KY. My dad got involved in that and that’s when his musical talents really started showing up. After we were teenagers, he really started enjoying music and pickin’ with other people.”

Barbie’s father tried showing her how to play the guitar, but she claims her left-handed approach made it difficult for him to teach her. She got frustrated with it early on and, although she says she isn’t musically talented, she does have a dulcimer that a friend, Warren May,  made for her that she wants to learn how to play.

"credit" Jeff Harp
Although Barbie’s father’s musical talents weren’t directly passed on to her, her mother’s creative edge influenced her greatly.

“I got to paint a lot as a kid,” says Barbie. “Other kids would come to my house because we had stuff and that wasn’t normal. The schools didn’t teach art at all. Even the high schools didn’t have art classes. So, I got to do stuff with my mom at home. We did lots of paint by numbers. I learned a lot about color doing paint by numbers, which was, I think, a really good base for learning.”

Barbie’s childhood was spent roaming around in woods near her house, playing in mud, and helping her mother in a big garden outside the home. She thought, growing up, that she’d end up becoming an elementary teacher or a nurse.

“I really thought those were the only two things you could be when you grew up,” laughs Barbie. “Then I went to college at Murray State University and found out that you could study art as a subject. I took one class and I was hooked. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with this, and I’m sure I won’t ever make any money at it, but I’ve got to do it.’ Then I took a pottery class and realized that you could really do something. I used to make mud pies as a kid and here I was making real, professional mud pies. So it kind of evolved really. I can’t say that I always wanted to be an artist and I really never even knew one. I mean, it wasn’t until I left home that my mother really started painting.”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Barbie left Murray State University with more than an education. It was there that she met her husband, Rush Hunt.

“We got married and then Rush went to law school in Louisville,” says Barbie. “I finished college there at Spaulding University. Spaulding had a great program at that time. You could take classes at any school in the city and get credit at Spaulding, so I took a pottery class under Tom Marsh. He was a great potter and teacher at that time at the University of Louisville. After that, we moved to Madisonville and Rush started practicing law here.”

Upon moving to Hopkins County, Barbie started dabbling in commercial art. She designed logos for businesses, painted, and raised Lee and Lara, their two children.

“I really wanted to go back to school,” says Barbie. “I thought that if I could really learn to make pots then that would be a legitimate way to make income as an artist. Plus, I really liked making pots. So, I went to the University of Evansville and they allowed me in the master’s program even though I’d only had one class in clay and really didn’t have a background in it. They kind of took me in on a tentative basis to see how I did.”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Barbie did very well in the program and came away from the University of Evansville with a master’s in ceramics.

“I did most of my master work in gas-fired kilns and developed a lot of glazes. All the glazes I have, I’ve made myself,” says Barbie. “When I finished that, I started working as a fulltime production potter. At that time, Martha Layne Collins was governor. During that era, there was a lot of support for the Kentucky craft market. Well, I got involved in the crafts market and I eventually had about 15 ‘mom and pop’ craft shops and gift shops in the state carrying my pottery. I really got into production works. I did that for about eight years and, at the same time, I started teaching part-time at the college.”

Barbie taught art history, studio classes, and developmental English classes at Madisonville Community College (MCC). In an attempt to score a fulltime teaching job at MCC, Barbie commuted to Murray State University until she acquired a master’s degree in English literature.

"credit" Jeff Harp
“I really enjoyed it. I had a couple of professors that were just wonderful,” says Barbie. “Plus, I love reading, which is another family pastime. We had lots of books and we were always reading, so I had already read a lot of the classics. I was particularly interested in the early part of the 20th Century in America and England—T.S. Elliot and that whole group of guys.”

Although Barbie obtained her master’s in English literature and was working towards her PHD, she was denied a fulltime position with the college. She says it was a definite turning point in her life. She wondered whether or not teaching was the path she was supposed to be on. She resigned from her part-time teaching job and turned to her art, deciding once again to try making art her fulltime job.

“The craft market changed a lot, quickly. It was hard, solitary work, and I really prefer to be with people. I was really disappointed when I didn’t get the fulltime teaching job, because I had been given a lot of ‘green lights’ on it. I thought I had been doing everything to get myself into the right position to land that job.”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Shortly after resigning from her teaching position, Barbie received a phone call from the president of MCC offering her a much different job on campus. She was offered the position of director over the newly built Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, which, at that time, was called the Madisonville Fine Arts Center.

“Rush had been on the Community Improvement Foundation for years and years,” says Barbie. “We had watched the building go up. It had been a hard building to build because it had been completed in phases as they had the money. I wasn’t involved in any of it. I saw it all go up as I was driving back and forth teaching all the time. The president wanted me to consider being the first director of this new thing. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no! I’m not the least bit interested in that,’” laughs Barbie. “It just looked like a lot of work. So we talked a lot about what his vision was and what his hopes were. It was the first performing arts center on a community college campus in Kentucky. It broke a lot of ground in many areas. I didn’t want to just say no if it was something I was supposed to do, but gosh, it didn’t seem like something I was supposed to do.”

Although she wasn’t very interested in taking on such a large project, she decided to ask if she could see the inside of the building and was quickly taken on a tour of the new facility.

“I’d never even seen the inside of it,” says Barbie. “They had a ribbon cutting ceremony at one point and then they closed it up. They couldn’t leave it open unless they had a person running it, so it was just locked up. It was finished, unfinished really, but finished as far as what they’d had the money for. So we walked through the building. It had seats, no curtains, no lighting, and a very small sound system. There wasn’t any furniture in the office. It had a great big coatroom and a little bitty box office. It had dressing rooms with nothing in them at all—just concrete block rooms. It had another concrete block room that was supposed to be a green room someday. It had a sound booth with absolutely nothing in it except a counter, and it had no money. It had no operating money whatsoever. They had set aside a small budgeted amount to run it and they had gotten approval from the community college system to hire a director and a secretary.”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Barbie was shocked at what it truly could be and what an outrageous amount of work would have to go into it. Yet, it was in that empty building that she had an epiphany that would change not only her life, but the lives of so many others in our community.

“I knew all these wonderful women who had dreamed and raised money for 20 years to build this thing,” explains Barbie. “I saw that it was either lemon or lemonade, and right now it was just this great big lemon. These women had dreamed a really big dream and some crazy person needed to dream just as big to pull it off. Then I realized that I was that crazy person.”

Even though Barbie knew nothing about performing arts leadership, she accepted the position and was immediately overwhelmed by the project she had taken on.

“It was an insane job. God was really with me,” says Barbie. “They already had 30 events booked in a building with no lights, no sound, no money, no desk, no computer, and no paperclips. I started meeting with all these guys, because there was a punch list and all this unfinished work. One of them told me about a man named Larry Teal who lived outside of Chicago. Larry had a performing arts center very similar to mine. He told me I needed to get to know him. Well, I called him up. I was desperate. I needed help.”

"credit" Jessi Smith

Barbie made fast friends with Larry Teal. He had taken on the job of running a performing arts center on a community college campus and had already plowed the same ground that Barbie had just set foot on.

“Every detail, from getting a very structured system to adjust to the arts, maintenance, cutting a check for an artist, intermission—stuff that had never ever been done before,” says Barbie. “Larry took me under his wing. I met him at a presenters booking conference. He got me in with William Morris and some of the big boys. I got to sit in on booking meetings with all the big presenters from Florida. They treated me like one of the guys, and here I was, a young mom that didn’t know what I was doing.”

With help from her newfound friends, Barbie was able to book incredible artists right off the bat and continued to do so season after season. Barbie was also able to develop a volunteer program quickly.

“We had over 100 people within a year helping to do everything from sound and lights to seating,” says Barbie. “Larry came and helped me to develop a ticketing program as well.”

For ten years, Barbie kept the ball rolling at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts. It was during that time she says she realized that, while she loves starting projects, she really doesn’t think she is good at maintaining them.

"credit" Jessi Smith

“I loved setting it all up,” says Barbie. “When I left, they were in good shape financially, had a large endowment, and I had gotten Glema’s name on the building, which was a dream of mine. And then, I realized it was just work. It had become work. It wasn’t a challenge anymore. I missed making art and a lot of things had changed in our lives. Our kids were in law school and they were grown. We had bought this building, Rush’s law office was in here, and we had been renting out the other side and decided not to rent it anymore. So, I started renovating it to be a little pottery shop. In 1999, I moved in and started making pots.”

Both of Barbie’s children, Lara and Lee, eventually became attorneys and moved off to fulfill their dreams. Neither was particularly into creating art, but Barbie says they both appreciate art and that they are by far her biggest fans.

“We had the most fun this past December. Our son and his wife, Kristi, finally got their dream home in Santé Fe, New Mexico. They’ve lived in Santé Fe for over ten years and they recently bought this new, huge, awesome house there. They’re both amazing people, but they have not one decorating gene between them,” laughs Barbie. “They have no interest in that, so they asked Lara and I to come to New Mexico to help them. They bought our plane tickets to come and spend the week decorating their house. We spent 15 hours the first day shopping and then we had all the furniture trucked in. We decorated the whole house in five days. It was amazing.”

During the home makeover, Barbie produced a large painting to place on a wall of the house. She was inspired early one morning while watching the sun rise up over Santé Fe. Barbie wanted to paint it, so she did.

"credit" Jessi Smith
“It got me thinking about working big," says Barbie. “I live in this little studio and it keeps me from thinking big, but in New Mexico, everything is so big. The sky is so big. So anyways, I came home and I was inspired. I could do it. I wanted to work big.”

Barbie has recently completed several large-scale pieces that are currently on display at The Crowded House restaurant in Madisonville. Up to this point, she has been creating art on a much smaller scale, but she has found her creative energies renewed after stepping outside of her usual comfort levels and working big.

Some of her most popular sellers, however, are her hand-painted silks, which she learned to do with a friend.

“We’d get together and play—make art together. She’s a wonderful painter,” says Barbie. “She painted silk for fun, so we’d get together and do silk. It became a great way for me to do color studies. The color you put on it is what stays. And mixing colors and seeing what happens when they run together and all of that helped. I really got to where I liked doing silk more than I liked doing watercolor. I still do watercolor every once in a while. I have some girlfriends and we used to go to Maine and paint landscapes. I love taking watercolors and doing that, but I don’t really see myself as a watercolor painter. It’s very structured. I’m not structured enough to be a good water colorist. You’ve got to like order and staying within the lines that you’ve created. I always want to bust out of my own lines.”

Painting silk became such a fun creative outlet for Barbie that she even developed her own method for working with silk.

"credit" Jessi Smith
“Most silk painters stretch their silks and it’s a wonderful way to work. It’s very structured,” says Barbie. “I lay out plastic on the floor or on a table. I use the real thin, almost drycleaner plastic that you get your clothes in, scrunch it, and then put the silk on that. The silk picks up all these things that are going on in the plastic underneath it. So you can control where it goes and what it does with water, dye, salt, and even sugar. Salt and sugar create texture in the dye. Do all that, lay it out flat, and let it sit. I am doing the same thing with acrylics—building up color, letting it run, stopping, seeing where it ends, going back, and layering more color on. Of course, the difference with silk would be that silk is transparent. The colors are all transparent, so you can’t totally get rid of something. With acrylics, you can just go ahead and start over if it’s a terrible painting,” laughs Barbie. “But with silk, it’s only a piece of silk. How bad could it be?”

Like most artists, Barbie is often inspired by a certain medium, running with it until she discovers something else that pulls her in a different direction. In turn, her artwork is usually made in phases.

Barbie says she is just now getting back into making pots, which she hasn’t done over the past seven years.

“My kiln died and I didn’t get a new one,” says Barbie. “Life got busy and Rush and I opened the [Main Street] Prayer Center [aka, Healing Rooms of Hopkins County] in the middle of all that. With painting, you can paint and then come back to it a week later and pick up where you left off. Pots don’t give you that freedom. I wasn’t sure I would go back to making clay, but a friend has loaned me her kiln. I’ll probably buy a new one now, but I have a kiln that I’m using and its firing fine. So, I got all my glazes back out. In the midst of all that, this wonderful young woman, Bree Jene Campbell, came to help me and she’s interested in becoming a potter. Bree is apprenticing. Having somebody here to help me do some of the work, Facebook it, and help with marketing has invigorated me to get excited about clay again. The same thing has happened with the large scale work. To have done that in New Mexico—I enjoyed the process and finished three paintings in a day. That kind of got me going, ‘Oh my gosh. I can do this. This is fun.’”

"credit" Jeff Harp
Another style of art that Barbie has an affinity for is collage. Collage is a technique where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, which create a new piece altogether. She is very well known for her collage pieces.

“I really love doing collage,” says Barbie. “I think you have to have a respect for it to purchase it, so it’s been a harder sell. Regardless, I’ve sold a lot of work and I have people now who collect my work and really appreciate it. I’m very grateful for that. Collage is a slower process. I’ve been doing it for a long time now and it’s been a very good way to force me to deal with design, color, texture, and all the areas that you might kind of become lazy with. Working small with collage has been really good. So, I’m taking some of the things I’ve been doing small and kind of blowing them up. I’ve done some larger scale pieces with collected metal and wood. I’ve sold quite a few. I have quite a few right now that I’m working on. I just collect parts, get ideas, and put them together. They come together pretty quickly once I have all the parts. There is a show in Henderson [Kentucky] that I participate in every other year. It’s a recycled art exhibit. So that’s always a goal of mine, to get a bunch of new works done for the exhibit. It’s coming up this fall, so I’m gearing up and thinking through new ideas. I used to do a lot of shows. I don’t do that many anymore. It’s a lot of trouble to haul your stuff around. But the recycled art exhibit, I really enjoy doing that one.”

"credit" Jessi Smith

Barbie considers one of her greatest artistic accomplishments a collage series that she created for McCoy & McCoy Laboratories, Inc. She was commissioned to create the series by Barclay McCoy, the president and owner of the company.

“It was such a fun project,” gushes Barbie. “The project was to do these pieces of collage using leaves and construction pieces from their old site and their new site when they were building their new building. I developed all these works that were going to be given as gifts to all the different contract companies that participated in the construction of the building. Then, I went out with Barclay and we picked out the colors for the interior of the new building. We chose all these primary colors and I just happened to be working with all these primary colors in my collages as well. When they were all finished, Barclay liked them so much she decided to keep them. So now, they are on the wall inside of the building honoring all of these companies who worked together to create it. I love that McCoy & McCoy, a local company, supports local artists. I would love to see other local businesses really take local art seriously.”

"credit" Jessi Smith

For the most part, Barbie thinks that Madisonville and Hopkins County are moving in the right direction when it comes to appreciating the arts and surrounding ourselves with it.

“I’m always striving for excellence, so there is always more to improve upon, but I think we’re doing great,” says Barbie. “What Sugg Street Post is doing is awesome. We’re getting an art gallery open on Sugg Street and Amanda’s on Main is doing well. We had our fourth Gallery Hop this year, which is amazing. That’s starting to build up steam. At the first one I didn’t sell hardly anything. The second one I sold more. The third one I sold a lot. I think it’s because people started coming expecting to buy. They saw it as what it is intended to be. Not just to go look at art, but to come, shop, and to find work that catches your heart and that you want to live with. I was in a home recently and the couple that lived there was displaying one of my pieces. It is really exciting to see people starting to own and appreciate work by local artists. I think the desire that we have to see the Dulin and Woolworth buildings become important, active buildings in the downtown is significant. I love the idea of having upstairs apartments throughout the downtown area, because it puts people living in the downtown district. Those are the people that are going to be a part of whatever scene is going on. Those are the people who will help make our downtown area an active arts community. Hopefully, we can even put studios or businesses in those buildings that will support the arts or become part of the arts scene. It would be awesome to bring other artists to live and work here. I think that is the goal that we’re moving towards and I think that’s wonderful. I think we’re going there.”

"credit" Jessi Smith

Barbie not only has a passion for art, but she also has a passion for prayer. Barbie and her husband Rush are responsible for opening the Main Street Prayer Center which is located at 35 North Main Street in downtown Madisonville.

“Rush had been at a conference learning about Healing Rooms Ministries and it was clear that God wanted us to open a prayer center,” says Barbie. “So we started one in my shop where Rush’s office space used to be before he moved to a new location, and we continued to run it in this building for almost two years. We had two prayer rooms, an intersession room, and a reception area. However, this space just wasn’t really big enough for the ministry, which grew quickly. We had more and more people coming for prayer and they had to wait a long time. We needed a bigger building, and we had a lot of wonderful, prophetic people telling us that God had a bigger plan and for us. They told us to keep our eyes open. So we got the building that we have now at an auction and moved the prayer center down the street next to Ferrell’s. We moved in May of 2011.”

"credit" Jessi Smith
The prayer center does not offer Sunday services. Barbie tells me that the center isn’t a church either; it’s a ministry.

“Healing Rooms is an international association. There are over 2,500 in the world and, since we’ve opened ours, there are now ten in Kentucky. It’s just bringing Christians together to pray, primarily for the sick, but for people that have needs of all kinds. We are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have had some pretty amazing things happen. Lots of people have gotten healed. We have gotten reports recently that four different people we have been praying over are now cancer free. We see God heal people on a regular basis. It’s a cool ministry.”

"credit" Jessi Smith
Recently, the ministry created a kids healing team and have received a very good response.

“After we started our healing room, the kids wanted to pray for the sick because they had been in experiences where they had seen God heal people,” says Barbie. “So we put a structure together, tried it, and that next year the lead administrator of Healing Rooms came to Madisonville and held a conference with us. They got to see what our kids were doing and how it was progressing. Shortly after that they invited us to come and talk about it at a conference in Spokane [Washington]. So I put a manual together and that has put us in the frontline of being the go-to people if you want to have a kids’ team. Recently, we received a grant from the National Christian Foundation to help us build a website and to develop our material. So that’s something I’ve been involved in lately.”

Something else that has been consuming Barbie’s thoughts lately has been the Dulin and Woolworth buildings, which are located right next to her art studio. The buildings have been a hot topic of conversation around town as their ultimate fates are uncertain at this point in time.

"credit" Jessi Smith
“I’m really hoping that the building next door gets taken good care of, because it’s scary right now not knowing what the outcome will be,” says Barbie. “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the big looming buildings next door. If they get torn down, I don’t know what will happen to my studio. At one point, we were asked if we would sell our building. I can’t say that I want to, but if that would improve the downtown, and if I could find a good alternate space, I would consider it. But, I’ve spent a lot of years moving in here and it’s hard to set up a studio. It’s a lot of work. I want to make art, I don’t want to move or renovate. I’m happy where I am.”

Barbie and I also talked about her favorite themes, colors, and symbols that frequently appear in her work.

“Over the last ten years, I have worked on this series on the cross. It’ll probably be a book at some point, because I’ve written devotions that go with each piece,” says Barbie. “I was honing in on two concepts with this series. There is obviously the cross that Jesus died on, which is the central image of the Christian faith, but then Jesus said, ‘Pick up your cross,’ so there’s more to it than the obvious image. So I did my own in-depth study of that, and so many of my collages have come out of that study. I always keep going back to that, because it’s still an ongoing observation in my life.”

“Leaves are another theme I’m drawn to,” says Barbie. “I honed in on the scripture in revelations that says that the leaves of the trees are going to heal nations and that leaves had some significance in the kingdom of God as a symbol of healing. So leaves became, for me, a symbol of healing and a Christian symbol. I have used leaves a lot. I believe that God is calling Christians to pray for the nations, not against them, and to believe that God wants to heal not just individuals, but nations.”

"credit" Jeff Harp

“Now I’ve got this new series, which is based on a concept that I’m really just starting to explore, and that is that the atmosphere that we see is only part of the atmosphere that we live in,” explains Barbie. “There is a spiritual atmosphere and it parallels, because God is a creator and he loves all of it. He loves the stars, he loves nature, and he loves diversity. He’s big. He created big. So I’m working with this series that’s big for me, but also big in concept, because I have to have something that I can see way out there. It keeps me motivated, like the cross. The more I know about it, the more I want to know and there’s more depth to it—vertical and horizontal. Our lives are supposed to be vertical and horizontal, not one way or another. But the new series is about the atmosphere. We’re under atmospheric pressure that we can’t see. Some days you just feel like there’s this cloud over you, like the Pink Panther. Well, there really is. It’s an atmospheric thing. There is pressure on you that you didn’t create. It isn’t you. You feel guilty or your feel bad about yourself or whatever—well, that wasn’t you. That’s something that happened that’s going on around you and we joke about the full moon, but there are atmospheric things that are natural and that are supernatural. So I’m pursuing that right now.”

“As far as favorite colors go, I don’t really have a favorite,” admits Barbie. “I go in stages of color. I love the river. I love fire. I love all the warm colors. I love all the cool colors. I had a black and white phase for a while. I am also fascinated by colors I can’t create. There are colors that I can’t make. We don’t have the spectrum for it. Ultimately, it’s really what God is doing in me and around me that motivates me. I wish I was more motivated by money, but I’m not. [laughs] I am motivated by these things that I see that God shows me—things that I can’t really articulate in words. I want to visually articulate them.”

Every piece that Barbie creates also has its own write up. Barbie likes to write about the piece, what inspired her to create it, and what it means to her.

“People are interested,” says Barbie. “They don’t need to know it and you can’t really say that art is something people need, but I believe your spirit needs art. I think people really enjoy knowing what was in the brain that caused you to do what you did, especially with work that is like mine. I mean, I can paint very realistically, but I just don’t want to. I value the camera. I studied photography a whole lot in college. I value the camera as a way to create art. So why would I want to do something it can do? I really value photo realistic painters and I have friends that are amazing at it. That just isn’t who I am. I don’t think like that. I just think in a different direction. So, my work has become more and more abstract, but it has meaning. It isn’t just throwing paint on a canvas. I want to communicate meaning in the process of what I’m doing. If there is anything happening in the 21st Century it’s that people are living out loud. Language is becoming a medium of communication in a new way, and so the written language is valuable to people. That’s how we are communicating. It’s not necessarily a good thing, because you can’t tell if I really like you by how I text you. You could tell by looking at me, but you have to add hugs, a smiley face, or ‘lol’ so that someone else takes it right. As an artist, I see artists as prophets on paper. We’re giving road signs of what’s going on around us and maybe reflecting culture as much as we’re directing it.”

"credit" Jeff Harp

Barbie is helping to direct the future of Madisonville in a variety of ways. She stays heavily involved with the city, although she admits that she wasn’t always a participating activist.

“As far as the city goes, I wasn’t involved,” says Barbie. “I attended a meeting where they were presenting the new city’s book. I was invited because I was on the Madisonville Historic District Commission. I was helping them start that, but I wasn’t involved in anything. I was trying to make art and helping with grandkids. It was another true epiphany in my life, honestly. I was sitting in that meeting and I was president of the Community Improvement Foundation [CIF], but CIF was not particularly involved in the community at that time. I saw that I needed to be actively involved in the community. There is so much potential for Hopkins County and this community. I decided that I wouldn’t be passive any longer. I became an activist. I do believe the Margaret Mead quote, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ I believe that. I know that’s true and, as a Christian, I know that’s true as well. That’s how Christianity grew. So, I became actively involved. CIF became actively involved. I’m not involved with the CIF anymore, but I am involved in the Downtown Turnaround Project.”

In the midst of all of that, Barbie became like family to the late community leader and local visionary, Glema Mahr.

“I had a great loss in my life. I felt like I lost my mother again when she passed away. I buried my mother and then Glema died,” says Barbie. “I became trustee of her estate and spent a year going through all of her things, having an auction, and doing all of that. Now we’re on the verge of turning her land into a real park, and it is incredible land. There are 260 acres of gorgeous rolling hills. Her and Merle dreamed of it being a city park, and my job is to do everything I can to help carry out their vision within the constraints of an economy that has shifted and all it takes to make that happen.”

Barbie and Glema dreamed about what would happen with that land quite a bit. They shared ideas and concepts together and had a great shared vision for what it would someday become.

"credit" Jeff Harp
“At one point, I thought she was going to get involved in doing it and we discussed it,” says Barbie, “but she didn’t like looking back. She was a wonderful visionary person that just enjoyed life and living fully today—living in the present. That is why she was able to live so long. For Glema, to talk about the park and to start planning it was really more like looking at your own mortality a little too much. I, of course, understood that completely. We had a lot of things cooking and then we just sat them on the table and stopped. So, now we’re moving in that direction. The Mahr Park Planning Committee is very committed to carrying out her wishes. The city leadership right now is doing a good job of working towards carrying it out and doing it very methodically. We can’t open the park until you have an entrance and a parking lot. So, the park isn’t open. I know it looks like we’re doing nothing, but the biggest thing that will ever happen to that park will be the entrance and the parking lot. We can’t have a park without it. It’s still going to be awhile, but it will be an awesome park when we get it open.”

But what is in the cards for Barbie and what is she planning for the future? How does this highly successful local artist measure her success?

“How would you know if you were successful? What would be the ultimate success measure? To have a piece in a museum of modern art or something? I am on a mission. I want to see a community of artists and craftsman that I want to be a part of created—a community of artists and craftsman who work together to create good work and support ourselves financially. To me, success is really that people value what you do at any level. Ultimately, that would mean that they would value it so much that they would be willing to pay a fair price for it. To me, success is when people start to value what you do, and not just what you’re doing, but why. It happens when they value the heart behind it, because they got it—whatever it is, whether it’s a pot, painting, or silk. I sell a lot of silk, and that has been one of the things that has encouraged me the most. People will come in wanting to buy one for a sick friend, because we name them and we pray over them. They value the meaning. They value that it’s created out of worship and out of the environment that we have here. That is success. I am very successful,” laughs Barbie. “You know what I mean? I’m not looking at the check book. I have money in the check book. I’m not making tons of money, but, as an artist, I feel successful because I’m getting to do meaningful work and there are a lot of people finding it meaningful.”

Barbie would like to find more local galleries interested in carrying her work, but, right now, she says she is very focused on her city.

"credit" Jeff Harp
“I believe in my city and I’m not one of those people that think the big city is better. I chose to live in Madisonville. We had opportunities to leave, but we chose not to. We chose to stay here, not just because it’s Rush’s hometown, but because we believe this is a good town and we’re going to invest our lives here. Part of being hugely successful is that we all make money doing what we love doing, and I think we’re headed in the right direction. We are making our downtown a destination. You can come, eat, shop, be challenged, get a tattoo, and get prayer,” laughs Barbie. “You can do it all.”

How does Barbie tie the importance of art in her life and her love of community together? Quite simply, she wants to create work that reflects her relationship with God.

“When I started growing as an artist, I didn’t even know of any other Christian artists. I was not trained that way,” says Barbie. “I know that God really loves places and I believe he wants to see cities thrive and everybody in them thrive. I think, as a Christian, I want to see transformed cities where everybody is working good jobs, living in nice homes, and doing valuable work while loving their families. I believe that everything you do to improve a city moves you toward that, and I believe the arts help, because I think God is a creative God. When we value creativity, we’re valuing him in us. It is all really out of my core belief that God said, ‘Stay in Madisonville. I’m going to use you here.’ That means every part of everything. Be involved in everything that you can make a difference in. I love starting stuff. I love working with people and seeing creative people working together. If committed people start believing in their city and start caring about their corner, then we will have a city that people will come to see. If we believe in our city and we believe that this is a good place to live—we have great schools, good jobs, and a wonderful environment—if we start inviting people to come and be a part of something wonderful, they will. That’s how people get to different cities after all.”

“Community matters. People matter. Rush and I want to know people. I want to know my neighbors and I want to know people. I want to care about people. That’s really why we started our ministry. We just want to make a place for that and I think small towns are the perfect set-up. I think that people are looking for that in a high-tech world, and we have it. We have a great city and it’s getting better.”

For more information about Barbie Hunt and her artwork visit her website at http://www.barbiehunt.com/.

For more information about Main Street Prayer Center visit their website at http://www.mainstreetprayer.org/.

You can also find Barbie Hunt Studios on Facebook

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith and Jeff Harp

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  • Published in Art

Emerging Artist Hits the Scene

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/13/13) – Young emerging artists excite me. They always have. Seeing the first piece an artist has ever created fills me with a renewed passion for art, what it is, and why it is so very important.

That first piece throws open a door to possibilities, tangible emotions, and self expression that sets an artist on a life long quest to share thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others. Art extends far beyond the concept and creation process. The ability to connect with others is a veritable playground for those looking to stamp the world with their imagination. Interestingly enough, we aren’t even always aware of who we might have made an impression on.

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with 13-year-old Madisonville resident, Kaitlyn Maue. Kaitlyn made an impression on me.

This year, Kaitlyn took first place in the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts' annual Middle School Student Juried Art Exhibit for her piece titled, “Faded Rainbow.”

Although Kaitlyn took home a first place award for her work, she informed me that art was something that was very new to her. She has only been discovering her love of art over the course of the last year.

Kaitlyn attends school at South Hopkins Middle School in Nortonville, KY, which is also where “Faded Rainbow” came into existence.

“We do a lot of projects at school,” says Kaitlyn. “We weren’t given a particular theme to work with when I was making this piece. You could do whatever you wanted. I don’t know why I made this. I just liked it. My teacher picked out the best projects and sent them to the art exhibit.”

Kaitlyn constructed her mixed media sculpture out of Styrofoam, a wire clothes hanger, pantyhose, and paint.

"credit" Jessi Smith
“It’s called ‘Faded Rainbow,’” explains Kaitlyn. “It’s an abstract piece. I bent the hanger some, stuck it into the Styrofoam, pulled the pantyhose over it, and then painted it.”

Upon completing her sculpture, Kaitlyn was unaware it was being submitted to the juried art exhibit.

“At first, I didn’t even know that it was being submitted,” shares Kaitlyn. “I didn’t even know that my teacher liked it. I didn’t think I’d win anything. When I heard that my friend got second place I thought, ‘Oh, I didn’t win anything.’ When the teacher called my name [over the in-room intercom] I was a little shocked. I wasn’t there [at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts] for the contest. I missed school the day that my teacher gave out papers announcing the date for it.”

In addition to winning the first place title, Kaitlyn was awarded $30. What is more important, she has been validated as a creative person in our community, which has inspired her to branch out even further artistically.

“In the future I would like to do something with cakes,” says Kaitlyn. “Maybe I can become a pastry chef.”

In addition to her fascination with creating edible art, Kaitlyn also enjoys playing flute at school, being a member of the color guard team, and writing.

Next year, Kaitlyn will be attending Hopkins County Central High School where she hopes to continue playing flute, performing in the color guard, and taking on some drama classes.

“I enjoy drama,” says Kaitlyn. “We had a drama class in sixth grade, but nobody was really in it. I wasn’t really interested back then. I became interested after the program was closed. I would really like to look into drama classes next year when I start high school.”

Now that Kaitlyn has graced the local arts scene with her presence, I’m sure that I won’t be the only one looking forward to seeing her future creations. After all, what is more exciting than seeing that first impression on the scene? Many feel that it is the art that follows, thereby allowing the community to watch an emerging artist develop and grow.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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