News & Updates

Kentucky Master Artists Awarded Arts Council Grants

HINDMAN, KY – Seven Kentucky master artists have been awarded Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants from the Kentucky Arts Council.

The Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant provides $3,000 to a Kentucky master folk or traditional artist to teach skills, practices and culture to less experienced artists from the same community during the course of a year.

The seven recipients are folk or traditional artists who are considered masters within their community and who have identified an apprentice from the same community who has potential to become a master. Both master and apprentice must be Kentucky residents.

Douglas Naselroad, a Master Luthier from Winchester, KY, has worked to establish the Appalachian School of Luthiery in Hindman, KY, for the past four years.  A previous awardee of the Folk Apprenticeship grant, in recent years, Naselroad received the 2016 Kentucky Governor’s Award in the Arts in the Folk Tradition Category on behalf of the Appalachian Artisan Center’s Hindman Dulcimer Project and in 2017, was awarded the Homer Ledford Award in Luthiery.  He and his apprentice, Kris Patrick, have committed to make at least two instruments in the coming year from Appalachian hardwoods such as Kentucky Black Locust, Black Walnut, and Red Spruce.  The use of sustainable Appalachian hardwoods in instruments made at the Appalachian School of Luthiery is a defining feature of the Troublesome Creek Stringed Instruments label.

Kris Patrick, from Mousie, KY, in Knott County has apprenticed at the Luthiery in Hindman since 2014,  and has already built several “Uncle Ed Thomas” style dulcimers, a tenor ukulele, and a flat iron style mandolin.  With the assistance provided this year by the Kentucky Arts Council Folk Apprenticeship Grant, he hopes to add guitars to his ever-growing list of instrument achievements.

“The folk and Apprenticeship Grant has been key to developing new talent in Luthiery.  It is not only a help, but represents an incredible encouragement and validation to emerging artists,” said Naselroad.

The masters and apprentices who will receive funding include:

  • Cynthia Sue Massek (Willisburg), who will teach Appalachian women’s music to Melody Youngblood (Berea);
  • Lakshmi Sriraman (Lexington), who will teach Bharatanatyam (Indian dance style) to Vasundhara Parameswaran (Lexington);
  • Justin Bonar-Bridges (Ft. Thomas), who will teach traditional Irish music and Clare style fiddling to Emmanuel Gray (Covington);
  • Hong Shao (Nicholasville), who will teach pipa (traditional Chinese stringed instrument) to Leah Werking(Carlisle);
  • Douglas Naselroad (Winchester/Hindman), who will teach guitar making to Kris Patrick (Mousie);
  • Gary Cornett (Louisville), who will teach old time Kentucky fiddling and luthiery to Walter Lay (Louisville); and
  • John Harrod (Owenton), who will teach eastern Kentucky old time fiddle tunes and style to James Webb(Frankfort).

Visit the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant page of the arts council’s website for more information or contact Mark Brown, arts council folk and traditional arts director, at[email protected] or 502-892-3115.

Information about the Appalachian School of Luthiery at the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman can be found online at .


“EpiCentre Exhibit”

Exhibit Dates:  Jan – Mar 2017

Reception Date:  Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 6pm

Regional artists from the Whitesburg arts collective EpiCentre Arts, Anita Bentley, Jeff Chapman-Crane, Elaine Conradi, Chris Day, Angelyn Debord, Lacy Hale, Pam Oldfield Meade, Jonathan Nickles, and Elizabeth Sanders contribute new work to an exhibit displayed at the Appalachian Artisan Center.

Ranging in style and technique, from traditional to fun and avant-garde, this exhibit takes viewers on a journey across our mountain landscapes, to explore the expansive imaginations of artists from Central Appalachia.

Appalachian Artisan Center hosts Kentucky Arts Council ‘Ways of Seeing’ exhibit

HINDMAN, Ky. — Appalachian Artisan Center (AAC) has been selected as the first of several venues across Kentucky to host the Kentucky Arts Council’s (KAC) traveling exhibit titled “Ways of Seeing.”

“Ways of Seeing” features artwork that depicts an alternate reality. The work is abstract, conceptual, fantasy-based and experimental. Each piece is by an artist who has been accepted into the Kentucky Crafted program or who has been awarded an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the newest exhibit from the Kentucky Arts Council,” says AAC Director of Programs, Jessica Evans.  “Visitors will experience something completely out of the norm from a group of talented artists from all over the state. We want to get people talking about art again!”

A reception for “Ways of Seeing” will be held in conjunction with the Grand Re-Opening Celebration at the newly renovated Cody Building in Historic Downtown Hindman, KY.  The event will begin at 6pm and include music, Studio and Gallery Tours, and refreshments.

“‘Ways of Seeing’ transports the viewer to a different time and place and gives them a sense of otherworldliness,” said Lori Meadows, Kentucky Arts Council Executive Director. “We’re glad to have The Appalachian Artisan Center on board as one of our partner venues for this fascinating exhibit.”

The Appalachian Artisan Center is headquartered at 30 West Main Street and is open 10am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. The “Ways of Seeing” exhibit will run from October 3 to December 22, 2016.

Artists participating in “Ways of Seeing” are:

  •       Trent Altman, Louisville
  •       Lisa Austin, Louisville
  •       Pat Banks, Richmond
  •       Patricia Brock, Louisville
  •       Geoff Carr, Louisville
  •       Bruce Frank, Georgetown
  •       Linda Fugate-Blumer, Lexington
  •       Timothy Gold, Independence
  •       Ellen Guyer, Lexington
  •       Michael McCardwell, Shelbyville
  •       Gary Mesa-Gaido, Morehead
  •       Yvonne Petkus, Bowling Green
  •       Patricia Ritter, Burkesville
  •       Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Lexington
  •       Sandy Sasso, Almo
  •       Karen Spears Springate, Lexington
  •       Deborah Stratford, Louisville
  •       Jenny Zeller, Louisville

“Ways of Seeing” will also travel to the following Kentucky venues:

  •       January – February 2017: Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts, Richmond
  •       March – April 2017: Whitley County Fine Arts, Williamsburg
  •       May – August 2017: Center for Rural Development, Somerset
  •       September – December 2017: Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville Community College, Madisonville

For more information on “Ways of Seeing,” contact Jessica Evans, Director of Programs, by phone: 606-785-9855 or by email: [email protected]

The Appalachian Artisan Center is dedicated to developing the economy of eastern Kentucky through our arts, culture, and heritage.  The Center provides assistance to artists who wish to create and grow successful businesses.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Appalachian Artisan Center Will Host Grand Re-Opening Celebration and Concert

Hindman, Kentucky (September 27, 2016) – The Appalachian Artisan Center is proud to open our doors to members of the public for the Grand Re-Opening of the Cody Building on Main Street in Hindman.

The celebration and open house begins on October 25th at 6pm and will feature tours of the Artisan Center’s galleries and artist studios, including the new rooftop garden. Community members are invited to meet artists, members of the Appalachian Artisan Center Board, and the center’s new Co-Directors, Jessica Evans and Mark W. Kidd.

In addition to serving as the Center’s new headquarters and gallery, the Cody Building is home to event and workshop space individual artist incubator studios, as well as extensive new pottery and jewelry group studios. “Appalachian Dreaming”, an exhibition of acrylic works on canvas by Angelyn DeBord and “Ways of Seeing”, the newest traveling exhibit from the Kentucky Arts Council, will be open to the public. Refreshments will be offered.

The evening will conclude with the Artisan Center’s monthly Dulcimer Shop Series Concert and live taping of the Knott Downtown Radio Hour, held at the Hindman School of Luthiery on 85 W. Main Street at 7:30 p.m. October’s concert features a Songwriter’s Circle comprised of local talents. The concert will be broadcast on 88.7 WMMT-FM at a later date.

“The Appalachian Artisan Center’s facilities in Knott County are home to workshops, apprenticeships, retreats, and camps for people from all walks of life seeking to learn traditional and modern skills in the arts,” said Kidd. “We’re proud to welcome our community to this new facility which will help us better serve eastern Kentucky and its artists.”

The Appalachian Artisan Center helps connect regional artists to marketing, business planning, and other technical assistance. The center’s craft and instrument gallery in Hindman and it’s online store offer items for sale created by artists from at least 32 different Eastern Kentucky counties.

The Appalachian Artisan Center was the only organization in Kentucky to receive a National Endowment for the Arts ‘Our Town’ grant in 2016, on the basis of its art and economic development efforts. The Our Town grant was awarded after a visit in 2015 from NEA Chairperson, Jane Chu, the first NEA Chair ever to visit eastern Kentucky. The AAC was also the recipient of the Organization Award at the 2016 East Kentucky Leadership Foundation Conference.

For more information on programs and events at the Appalachian Artisan Center, call: 606-785-9855, or email: [email protected]

AAC awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Grant Awards in 2016!

Arts-based Community Development Investment for Hindman, KY.

Appalachian Artisan Center one of National Endowment for the Arts projects selected nationwide

 [HINDMAN]— National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced The Appalachian Artisan Center (AAC) as one of the recommended organizations for an award of $50,000 through the NEA’s Our Town Program to establish Blacksmithing as an anchor to the emerging creative economy in Eastern Kentucky. The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core.

In a second release, NEA has also recommended a $20,000 Art Works award to The Appalachian Artisan Center to establish a School of Luthiery in Hindman. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like SPARK Our Town and The Hindman School of Luthiery at the Appalachian Artisan Center offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

“We are deeply honored to be recommended for these awards,” says AAC Director of Programs, Jessica Evans. “It is exciting to see the creativity and diligence of the people of this region rewarded and our rich cultural heritage preserved through the continuation of the artisan trades. NEA funding adds a huge boost to our endeavors.”

SPARK Our Town will begin in late summer 2016 to establish a full-time blacksmithing forge and studio in Hindman, support the design, creation and installation of public art throughout the county and bring metalworking to the existing festivals in Knott County. Master Blacksmith Dan Estep from Sassafrass will be spear-heading SPARK to establish the arts as an economic driver in the region. Estep is a master toolmaker and bladesmith and a member of the Southeast Kentucky Blacksmith Association, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Kentucky Crafted, and AAC.

The Hindman School of Luthiery, slated to start in June 2016, recognizes the craftsmanship, science and art of stringed instrument making. The School seeks be another tool in diversifying our region’s economy and to continue the educational heritage in Knott County in the tradition of institutions such as Hindman Settlement School, Alice Lloyd College and Lotts Creek Community School. Master Artist Doug Naselroad will serve as the lead instructor of the Hindman School of Luthiery. Naselroad is a juried member of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program and a member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and has been Master-Artist-in-Residence at the AAC since 2012.

In 2014, AAC was awarded an Our Town Grant for the Hindman Dulcimer Project, which helped to establish dulcimer-building workshops, the Museum of the Mountain Dulcimer, and the Annual Hindman Dulcimer Homecoming Festival. NEA Chairman Chu now owns two hand-crafted instruments from Hindman’s Luthiery – a ukulele built by Naselroad, and an “Uncle Ed” Thomas replica dulcimer built by Mike Slone, Coordinator of the Hindman Dulcimer Project.

In addition to receiving the Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2004, the Appalachian Artisan Center was recognized with the 2016 Organizational Leadership Award by the East Kentucky Leadership Conference.

Learn more about the Appalachian Artisan Center and its programs at

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town and ArtWorks grant support, please visit the NEA web site at

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