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Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Still Going Strong

The Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, located on West Main Street in downtown Louisville, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with healthy operations that support and promote more than 600 Kentucky and regional craft artists.

In early March, the museum held a panel discussion moderated by Arturo Alonzo Sandoval about the 1981 founding of the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation by former Kentucky First Lady Phyllis George Brown, who is also a former Miss America.

Brown fell in love with Kentucky crafts while on the gubernatorial campaign trail with her husband, John Y. Brown Jr., in 1980. Once Brown Sr. entered office, his wife joined with Mary Shands in 1981 to begin promoting Kentucky crafts, giving them as gifts of state and also pitching retail giants around the world about the benefits of offering Kentucky crafts for sale.

Brown and Shands’ efforts were so successful that the foundation the two established developed the Museum, which opened in 1984 in Louisville.

Today the Museum offers nine large-scale exhibitions in its gallery spaces; offers educational programs to more than 25,000 children from Kentucky and Southern Indiana; provided art education programming to more than 78 schools, libraries and community centers; and, of course, showcases works for sale by Kentucky and regional artists.

The Museum also connects artists to businesses needing artwork for display. For example, the Museum recently partnered with Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Kosair Children’s Medical Center- Brownsboro and the University of Louisville Health Care Outpatient Center to provide and install works by Kentucky artists throughout those new buildings.

The Museum was also one of the first museums to locate to what is now Louisville’s Museum Row, in the redeveloped historic portion of West Main Street.

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