Kentucky Crafted: The Market E-mail



DATES: March 19-20, 2011


ATTENDANCE: 6,200 (Kentucky Arts Council)




Few states have programs as dedicated to the handmade crafts as the state of Kentucky. The kentuckycrafted-4Kentucky Crafted program – which is part of the Kentucky Arts Council – aggressively promotes the work made by Kentucky-based artists, as well as offers incentives, grants and other marketing opportunities for those artists.

Go to pretty much any wholesale crafts show around the nation and you will most likely come across a Kentucky Crafted booth staffed with artists and employees extolling the talents of Kentucky crafts and eager to take orders.

The highlight of the year for most artists that are part of the Kentucky Crafted program is their annual market. This is a 4-day event – two wholesale and two public days - that includes everything from artist workshops/demonstrations to live performances by Kentucky-based performers.

Like many shows that have been around for many years, and especially one that has a limited group kentuckycrafted-1of artists to choose from, the challenge is to keep things interesting enough so that last year’s shoppers are going to come back this year.

So over the past 10 years, this show has evolved into something more than just a craft show; it has become a real event; which is the big reason it’s been able to maintain a sizeable measure of attendees on their public days. (Although, according to some artists we spoke with, this year’s attendance wasn’t as sizeable as it has been past years.)

Because of that challenge of finding new artists and new work, the Kentucky Arts Council invites artists from similar organizations outside of Kentucky to apply for the show.

This year there were artists from Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and other nearby states exhibiting.

Due to the fact that this is a show that represents the complete breadth of the work primarily created kentuckycrafted-2by Kentucky artists, the styles run from contemporary to country, and the quality from fine crafts to not-so-fine. Overall though, the council does a good job of giving any shopper an opportunity to buy something.

And the artists that do this show are smart enough to know they have to have work available that is affordable to everyone that comes through the doors of the Exposition Center.

If you are a Kentucky-based artists that hasn’t done this show before, or an out-of-state artist given the opportunity to apply for this show, this show offers the opportunity to reach an audience in Louisville.

There are other art/craft shows throughout Kentucky that feature the work of Kentucky artists, but none that puts forth the marketing effort that the Kentucky Arts Council does for this show.



If you would like to comment on this (or any) CSN story, either register on the right (under Log-In) or Log-In if you are already registered. It's free!