The Frazier Celebrates Kentucky Design


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — A new publication from University Press of Kentucky, "Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture" edited by Andrew Kelly, has chronicled the Commonwealth's contributions to the Great Depression's Federal Art Project. In celebration of the book, the Frazier History Museum will host a panel discussion on "Kentucky by Design" beginning 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the museum located at 829 West Main Street, in Louisville, Kentucky.

University Press of Kentucky editorial board member and former Courier-Journal Editor-in-Chief David Hawpe, project visionary Allan Weiss, internationally recognized expert on American quilts Shelly Zegart, musicologist and Director of the University of Kentucky John Jacob Niles Center for American Music Ron Pen, and Tommy Hines, executive director of South Union Shaker Village and Kentucky furniture authority will be on hand to participate in the panel discussion at the Frazier. The panel discussion will also feature the unveiling in the museum’s Great Hall of a sampler of selected objects and decorative art from the forthcoming exhibition, "Kentucky by Design," opening in August 2016. Admission is free and open to the public, and copies of the book will be available for purchase from the museum gift shop

At the height of the Great Depression, the Federal Art Project (FAP) opened its doors under the auspices of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of the aims of this project was to collect and record the history of American material culture. This research culminated in the creation of the Index of American Design. It was intended for a wide audience, but was never published.

Now, 80 years after FAP began, "Kentucky by Design" has at last compiled Kentucky’s contributions to the Index of American Design. Kelly has gathered the contributions of experts from across the state and around the nation, cataloging prime examples of the state’s decorative arts that were featured in the index, pairing the original FAP watercolors with contemporary photographs of the same or similar artifacts. Kelly provides information surrounding the history and current location (and often, the journey in-between) of each piece, as well as local or familial lore surrounding the object. In addition to a wealth of Shaker material, the objects featured include a number of quilts and rugs as well as a wide assortment of everyday items, from powder horns and candle lanterns to glass flasks and hand-crafted instruments.

Andrew Kelly, trained at Sotheby’s New York, is a Helena Rubinstein Fellow of the Whitney Museum of American Art and has authored and edited numerous monographs and catalogs on the fine and decorative arts. He has worked in association with many institutions, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, McNay Art Museum, Harry Ransom Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lisbon Ajuda National Palace Museum, Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation Palma de Mallorca, Russian State Museum at the Marble Palace, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum and Tate Gallery London.

The Frazier History Museum is a world-class museum that provides an unforgettable journey through history with ever-changing and interactive exhibits, daily performances by costumed interpreters, and engaging special events and programs. The museum is a member of the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program and the American Alliance of Museums and participates in a reciprocal membership network through the North American Reciprocal Museum Program.

University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. The editorial program of the press focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;