“When the past calls let it go straight to voicemail, because it has nothing new to say.” ~ Unknown
Meet Faith Harders. Faith is a Librarian in the Design Library. About a year ago she discovered that Don Galloway was a graduate of UK’s Theater program and a native of Brooksville, KY. If you don’t know his name, you might recognize his face (those of a certain age won’t recognize either). Galloway is best known as Sgt. Ed Brown on Ironside. He went on to do two Perry Mason movies with Ironside star Raymond Burr. He also had roles on TV, in particular General Hospital as Buzz Stryker, and he played husband to JoBeth Williams’ character in the hit movie The Big Chill, one of my all-time favorites.
Faith was so excited by the Galloway discovery that she wanted to pursue an oral history project about him. Galloway died in 2009 at the age of 71, but there were still plenty of fellow actors and family members to talk to. She deposited 14 interviews with us a couple of months ago. She then petitioned the university to erect a flag in his honor. These flags are common around campus except they usually depict successful businessmen, engineers, or doctors. There are very few commemorating arts graduates. In fact, this is the only one I know of. Yesterday, we made the Don Galloway Oral History Project interviews accessible online. I sent Faith an email saying as much, and I offered congratulations on the flag. It turned out that she didn’t know her petition for the flag had been successful, and this morning I received an enthusiastic, “I’m going to look at it right now,” email. I grabbed my camera in hopes of catching her at the flag, and sure enough, I did. Faith is a perfect example of what can happen when you have a great idea and follow it through. I’m so proud of her, and I’m really pleased to see the arts getting some UK love.
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres
This gorgeous piece of glass art by Dale Chihuly was gifted to Keeneland from Makers Mark. It’s on display in the Keeneland Library. Chihuly’s work is eye catching to say the least. It can be incredibly complicated even in a seemingly simple form. I’ve never seen a piece of his work that’s boring. It’s always very fluid and colorful like this one. I do giggle from time to time. Each individual piece – on its own – reminds me of something sculpture professor Gary Bibbs drilled into our heads (for those of us in his classes); one does not want to make work that could be used as a candy dish. But my giggles soon fade when I consider the intricacies of the work, and the interconnectedness of each form to the others. It’s far from a candy dish. I really want to see Chihuly’s large installation piece at Makers Mark distillery. I’ve seen photos and it looks pretty incredible. Art makes my soul sing.
“The politics of Jesus in 5 words: Love your neighbor as yourself.
In 3 words: Love your neighbor. In 1 word: Love.”
~ Nathan Hamm
One advantage to spending time at UK Chandler Hospital is the art. Last night, when mom was moved back to her room from Good Sam (where the surgery took place), I was walking from the parking garage when I noticed this sculpture for the first time. I hadn’t noticed it in the daytime, but with the street light against the sunset sky, it popped out like it was the only thing I could see. I didn’t notice who the artist was, and I didn’t read the entire quote inscribed on the base, but I loved the work.
Our Shero continues to do well, better than expected, in fact: no temp, clear lungs, great vitals, good color. She had a hard time with the anesthesia, as she typically does, but they finally got her settled by this evening. Reinette Jones came to see her this morning, and this evening she still remembered. Pretty impressive for somebody that’s been filleted like a fish. I’m feeling less nervous about her condition today. He medical team, lead by Dr. Swaghert, is just brilliant. Between him and Dr, Silby, I believe our Shero will be dancing a jig in no time. So very grateful.
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Lori-Lyn Hurley had an opening reception this evening at St. Raphael’s gallery. Her beautiful paintings lined the gallery walls in few but mighty numbers. I’m so proud of her for doing the work she loves and putting it out there for the world to enjoy and appreciate. And that man of hers, Tracy; still one of the finest human beings ever. The two of them together fill me with more joy than should be allowed, and any time in their presence is a gift. I got an unexpected treat at the reception, too. Stacy and I met St. Raphael’s interim rector Rev. Karen Booth. She was engaging and her story was very familiar. She has a BA in fine art photography from EKU (who does that sound like?); and she left the church for a time before coming back to earn her Masters of Divinity. I don’t have the latter, of course, but I do identify with why one would take an extended break from organized religion. It’s amazing to me how many people I know who have had similar experiences. They’re brought up in the church, leave or become disillusioned for one reason or another, and then called to return. Most if not all are the most genuine, compassionate Christians I’ve ever known, so there was little surprise that I connected with Rev. Booth. I got to see two of my favorite people, hang out with Stacy, and meet a new awesome person. I win Friday.
“The Lord will bless you for being kind to people.” ~ Reva Hubbard
Last night as I was pouring over Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, relishing the ancient art of vinyl album covers, something caught my eye. Tusk is an elaborate vinyl package, even among double albums. There are slips inside slips inside the outside cover. Of particular interest were the outer (or middle) slips. Instantly, it was 1979 and I was back in my tiny bedroom, sitting on the floor in front of a second-hand stereo, where I scoured the intricate collages for hours. Now, they reminded me of Peter Beard‘s work. In 1993, I came across a book called “The Adventures and Misadventures of Peter Beard in Africa” by Jon Bowermaster. It captured my attention for two reasons: 1. Beard is a fascinating artist known primarily for his collage diaries (he sometimes uses his own blood to draw on them) and 2. I’ve loved Africa since early childhood, particularly Kenya where Beard has a home called The Hog Ranch. As Tusk continued to spin its quirky pop tunes, I pulled out my copy of the book. I rifled through the pages, memories flying back to me; Beard’s friendship with Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen who wrote the autobiographic Out of Africa, one of my all-time favorite books), the sheer beauty of Africa, the shame of big game killers, the privileged life that afforded Beard such an adventure that most people, certainly most artists, could never have. And then I saw it: a photo from one of the Tusk collages. Beard made the collages for Tusk. I knew about Peter Beard before the Bowermaster book. He’s listed on Tusk’s credits. As someone who used to absorb every piece of information from albums, the connection between Beard and Tusk had been buried in my brain all these decades, subconsciously rolling around, waiting to resurface. It was a beautiful moment to reconnect with these two things I loved so much when I was younger. I hope one day I’ll have the opportunity to go to Kenya and Tanzania, roam the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve, and wake up “at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” What a blessing that would be, but it certainly doesn’t diminish the blessings Tusk and Peter Beard have given me for decades. I’m lucky that they’ve come back home.
“Never deny or waste an opportunity to be kind to others, even if some people have been unkind to you.
The two are not related.” ~ Unknown
This is no ordinary outhouse. This is a Tom Whitaker outhouse; one of the finest Appalachian artists ever. And it’s not just any old Tom Whitaker outhouse print, but a gift from my old friend Tony Adkins. I’ve known Tony my whole life. He was my Uncle Ralph Paul’s best friend. He lives just down the road from mom and dad. He has really been a blessing to them, and to me, over the years. Little did I know he’d been following the outhouse until one day this appeared at my house, matted and framed (hence the reflection on the print). I’ve wanted a Tom Whitaker print for years, and suddenly there it was: an outhouse from Tony. I must be living right.
“Please be kind to one another and all creatures. I’m asking this of you and of myself.”
~ Lori-Lyn Hurley
My goodness, what a gorgeous sunset we were blessed with this evening in the Bluegrass. I had a rare opportunity to see it because I’m in the UK Albert B. “Happy” Chandler Medical Center. I’ve sort of mentioned being here for the last couple of days. Here’s why: Aunt Janet fell and broke her hip on Tuesday. She had a partial replacement yesterday. She’s on the mend now, and doing great. She’s a tough ‘ol bird, let me tell ya! The new section of the med center (below) is beautiful and full of art as I’ve mentioned before. It’s really nice to be in a pretty place like this. I mean, if you’ve gotta spend this much time in the hospital, it’s uplifting to be surrounded by beauty. But let’s not overlook the true beauty of this place. UK Med has the most incredible staff I’ve ever met. From the young man that brings the food, to the surgeon, the nurses, the attendants, right down to the guy that mops the floor: they’re all as beautiful as the art. What a blessing to have such a fantastic facility. And to call these people neighbors is icing on the cake. We’re a lucky family.
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility for changing them.” ~ Denis Waitley
Sometimes you just have a bad day. So far, every day this week has been pretty crappy in my little corner of the universe. And by crappy I mean everything from income to election to hospital to fleas-on-the-dog crappy. This is the kind of week where finding the cheery side has taken some work, but ya know what? I’m human, and it’s okay to have a bad time of things. I’m hardly alone in this. I still find things to be grateful for, and that is, after all, my goal every day. For example, UK’s Chandler Medical Center has great art, like this permanent installation by Louis Zoellar Bickett called The Kentucky Dirt Project: 120 Counties. It’s just beside the dining facility. You wouldn’t necessarily understand what you’re looking at if you didn’t really stop to look. Kentucky has more counties than any other state its size except for Texas. But then, Texas is three times bigger so… In any case, it’s amazing to see the different hues of dirt from one end of this state to the other. I found it a good antidote for a post-election hangover. I love the state of my birth; the state of my ancestors – up to seven generations in some cases, and I really appreciate Louis’ poetic artwork that pays tribute to it.
“Be yourself. People don’t have to like you, and you don’t have to care.” ~ Unknown
You met Ron Gevedon back in 2013 at the first Pickin in the Park festival at Cannel City (photographed here with his work at Market in the Park earlier this month). Ronnie and I played Army many an hour in the Cannel City schoolyard with Larry Scott Evans II. They were soldiers. I was the nurse, taking up arms when it was necessary to defend our position. Ron’s “Bird of Prey” statuette below (I’m not sure its real title) reminded me a great deal of Larry Scott. I guess because Larry is a large man (he was large boy) towering over most mortals, and, as Ronnie said, he would likely see himself as a bird of prey. That might sound like a bad thing, but really, neither Ron nor Larry have a bad bone in their bodies. They’re artists with distinct styles and ideas of and about art that, for the region we grew up in, are a bit off the norm. That’s just one reason why I love them both so much, that and the fact that they don’t have a bad bone in their bodies. Plus, I was the only girl they seemed to include in their circle of playmates. That made me feel special as a kid. In our senior yearbook there’s a great picture of the three of us in Larry Adams’ art class. I treasure that picture. It captured us at our very best together. I look forward to seeing Ron next month at the next Pickin’ in the Park event at Cannel City. I wish Larry could be with us so we could recreate that picture from 33 years ago. That would be pretty fun!
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.
~ Nido Qubein
Today was the much anticipated Kentucky Field Trip with our IFLA guests. We wanted to give them a good overview of how beautiful and awesome The Bluegrass State can be. What better way than Keeneland and Buffalo Trace Distillery? Bright and early we loaded up the UK bus (with our awesome driver, Sarah) and off to Keeneland we went. Becky Ryder, Director of the Keeneland Library and local committee member, met us there (as did Ruth Bryan, Kazuko Hioki, and Michael Lütgen who drove themselves). She treated our guests to a delicious Kentucky style breakfast. Judy Sackett even tried gravy and biscuits for the first time…and she liked it! Our guests were then treated to a tour of the track, the grounds, and the sales pavilion. It was a beautiful thing to see their eyes light up watching the horses train, and the excitement when one of the outriders stopped by for a chat was just so special. My heart swelled with pride. Except for the oppressive humidity, it was as close to perfect weather as we could ever hope for.
We could have spent a lot more time at Keeneland. The tour guides were incredibly engaging and the ladies especially loved the gift shop, but Buffalo Trace was waiting on us, so we loaded up the bus and off we went again. This is where the story gets good. My contacts up to this point were not the people who met me at the visitor center as expected. Instead, the Distillery Archivist (whose name I have sadly forgotten) and a man named Art met me at the door. When I asked for my contacts, Art simply said, “I’ll be doing your tour.” It was a bit odd, but I was okay with it because I could tell right away he was a cool dude. We soon found out how lucky we were that Art was our tour guide. He was the most entertaining tour guide I’ve ever had. We had a ton of laughs – and that was before the samples – but we learned a great deal, too, not just about bourbon but the general history of the area. I might also add that the now-forgotten-named archivist was great as well.
Art really showed off our Kentuckian sense of humor to our guests (a point of personal pride for me). Truly, he was a load of fun, and when it came time for the samples, he shared with us their White Dog brand. It’s essentially alcohol (something ridiculous like 170 proof) before it’s aged to become bourbon. He poured some in their hands mostly to smell, although a few did taste it. Their reactions ranged from “that’s not so bad,” to, “Oh my God, I tasted it!” followed by a contorted face. In any case, a gentle rubbing of the hands produced the smell of bread caused by a chemical reaction of the alcohol on skin and oxygen (I think). Everyone then had a chance to sample a couple of their more popular brands, as well as root beer and bourbon chocolate made by Ruth Hunt Candies, another Kentucky staple. By the time we left Buffalo Trace, everyone was tired but completely happy. We could not have planned a better representation of the Commonwealth. My heart was bursting with pride and joy.
That brings me back to where the story gets good. This is Art with IFLA participant and US Government Docs librarian Cynthia Etkin from Virginia. I had the pleasure of getting to know Cindy yesterday when we lunched with Reinette Jones. She’s a warm hearted, open soul who was so happy to be with us and learn about all the good – and troubling – things going on in the world of news media preservation. She had lived and worked in Kentucky for many years some time ago, both at WKU and EKU. It was at the latter where she met Art. Oh yes, they knew each other before today. On the way back to the hotel we learned that she not only knew him, but she dated him… for thirteen years! They never married (at least not each other), but you could tell they remained close after all this time. Cindy had told Art she was coming to Kentucky and would be on the tour. Art, in turn, insisted he be our tour guide. It all made sense why my contacts did not meet me when we arrived. Theirs was one of the sweetest stories I’ve heard, and learning their history together was the perfect way to wrap up our shared adventures. Every second of this week as been worth the sweat and sleeplessness. I made new friends, connected with old friends, shared time with mentors, and smart men and women from all over the world. We might solve this preservation dilemma yet. I continue to be the luckiest woman alive.