The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft collects and displays works by the state’s artsy residents and nurtures creative inclinations with art classes for kids and adults. A family membership grants free access to the museum's permanent collection, which holds works by such Kentucky artists as Marvin Finn and Rebekka Seigel. Members can also attend openings of special exhibits, such as the upcoming Big Idea : small package challenge, which dared and, in some cases, double-dared local artisans to craft a tiny piece of art no larger than one cubit cubed. At a discounted rate, budding Botticellis can enroll in creativity-sparking classes such as textiles and origami courses as well as children’s summer camps and special-needs classes for adults on bookmaking and watercolor painting. A 10% discount in the gallery store, meanwhile, lets members support local artists and acquire conversation-provoking pieces with which to adorn coffee tables, mantles, and inflatable sideboards.
Chronicling the history of the Howard Shipyard, the Howard Steamboat Museum displays a plethora of steamboat artifacts within a 22-room Romanesque-revival mansion that was built in 1894. Visitors to the Howard mansion step into the nineteenth century, as they can admire original furnishings, brass chandeliers, stained-glass windows, intricate carvings, and primitive steam-powered laptop computers. While walking through the preserved halls, patrons have access to a collection of exhibits, including detailed full- and half-hull models, as well as more than 4,000 original photographs and paintings. Inspect the original paddlewheel from The Delta Queen, study artifacts taken directly from the Robert E. Lee and the Natchez, or browse the gift shop for the ideal present for a seafarer.
In 1909, a group of local art enthusiasts banded together to foster a community appreciation for art and further the practice of creating art. More than three decades later, they moved from their home at the old Water Tower, and now fill their new space with workshops, classes, and exhibits. Louisville Visual Art Association remains dedicated to promoting local artists, artistic styles, and contemporary culture.
A team of instructors instills painting and sculpting skills in children of all ages with the Children's Fine Art Classes program, which lets kids hone their understanding of color and technique during nearly 40 classes and camps. They also teach adult art classes, and help economically and socially disadvantaged students exhibit their artwork through Open Doors. Six to eight annual exhibitions often showcase work from these programs, but may also display fabric and knit pieces from local artists, or house events such as custom plates, cups, and utensils fashioned by 16 national ceramics artists to recreate Salvador Dali’s themed dinner parties. Each year, staff also fill two galleries with up to 800 works from its children’s programs, and celebrate local restaurants and music at the annual Bacon Ball.
A loud whistle sounds off in the distance, signaling the arrival of a steam locomotive. The train pulls past dozens of trees and into the station. It’s just another day at the Kentucky Railway Museum, where new and restored trains take visitors on nostalgic journeys through the New Haven countryside. The area’s scenic landscapes encompass 17 miles of track that meander around scenic Mount Vernon. The stationary exhibit hall—a replica of the original New Haven depot—houses a collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia ranging from rail carts and dining cars to steam whistles and the discarded mustaches of malevolent railroad barons.
Before venturing into Deere Farms’ labyrinthine corn maze, visitors are equipped with a map, a short orientation, and—as a last resort—the farm’s cell-phone number. Groups work together to seek out all the checkpoints scattered across 8 miles of twists and turns. Even with an acute sense of direction, adventurers usually take about 45 minutes to navigate their way to freedom.
The checkpoints are one of many ways that Deere Farms infuses traditional fall activities with creative twists. Shortly after Halloween, the farm hosts an annual pumpkin-smashing festival, inviting visitors to drop overripe pumpkins from a 50-foot platform. And at the concession stand, chefs serve gourmet treats such as apple-cider slushes and pumpkin-caramel cheesecake.
The farm also hosts classic fall adventures on its 170 acres. Visitors can take an idyllic hayride through the woods or hop aboard an antique tractor and ride into the 20-acre pumpkin patch in search of the perfect gourd for carving or stomping into a pie. Before departing, they stop to see the menagerie of farm animals, including ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese, pigs and goats.
Nearly three decade ago, New Orleans transplant Sharon Potter became so enamored with her new hometown of Kentucky that she raised 1.2 million dollars to assemble and present her own 4,000-image slideshow, KentuckyShow!, which celebrated the state’s unique beauty, culture, and history. In 2003 Potter was approached by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau about the possibility of updating the visual spectacle and rose to the challenge with the help of seasoned producer Donna Lawrence and graphic designer Julius Friedman. The updated 32-minute documentary now amazes audiences with new high-definition images of the Bluegrass State, as well as narration by Hollywood starlet Ashley Judd and director’s commentary by Kentucky’s state bird, the northern cardinal.
Today, local and out-of-state visitors—enjoying jaw-dropping views of Kentucky’s gorgeous landscape and meeting some of the commonwealth’s most memorable characters from past and present—come to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to feast their eyes on KentuckyShow!. Renée S. Gordon of the Philadelphia Sun referred to the majestic video tour as “an outstanding overview of the state’s multicultural history.”
At Eagle Aviation's Cessna Pilot Center, potential pilots get the rare chance to learn the fundamentals of flying in a secure, well-maintained Cessna aircraft. The training begins with a pre-takeoff briefing on flight protocols and a thorough inspection of the plane. Aspiring aviators and an FAA-certified instructor then lift off in an up-to-date Cessna 172SP for some soaring, basic maneuvering, and taking in sweeping views of Lexington County from 3,500 feet. The entire experience from engine startup to shutdown is approximately 30 minutes long. After the student helps land and taxi the aircraft, a postflight briefing addresses questions and reviews lessons learned throughout the celestial jaunt. Each flight allows room for a friend to share the thrill and corroborate Pegasus sightings.