Many library patrons may remember the days of flipping through the cards in a card catalog drawer to find information and the location of books in the library. Although that practice has gone away with the advent of computer based searches, Woodford County artist Jennifer Dunham has kept the cards alive in her own artwork.
Dunham is one of 28 Kentucky artists whose work will be featured in a traveling Kentucky Arts Council exhibit titled “The Illustrated Word.” The exhibit theme connects visual art with literature, including the use of text within the work. It will visit libraries across Kentucky beginning Feb. 6 at Spencer County Public Library in Taylorsville and will close at the end of 2018 at Kenton County Public Library in Erlanger.
Inclusion in the exhibit is a dual distinction for Dunham, who is also a librarian at Woodford County Public Library. That library will host “The Illustrated Word” beginning September 2018.
Dunham’s work repurposes old library catalog cards, incorporating sketches and photo transfers onto the cards. She said she often tries to make the visual theme match the subject matter on the catalog cards.
That was the case with her piece titled “The Longest Ride,” which includes a photo transfer of her grandparents in a rowboat, as well as a sketch of a violet, which she said represents faithfulness and patience, and a road, which represents the titular theme of the piece. Those visual elements are imprinted on a series of six catalog cards with library information on books by romance novelist Nicholas Sparks.
“I like to use the card catalog cards because a lot of people have a connection to them,” Dunham said. “I remember going through card catalogs. The subject matter and titles would inspire me to read and discover what a book was about. I would get an image in my mind about what the book would be about, depending on what was printed on the card.”
Stacy Tiller, the children’s services librarian at Spencer County Public Library, is looking forward to being the first host for “The Illustrated Word.” She said it will provide her community with exposure to artists from across the state.
“I know some communities have small museums or some kind of sculpture or artwork in their town square, but we don’t have that in Spencer County,” Tiller said. “I really like to bring in artwork for our community to see.”
The exhibit will be up at the beginning of February and be on display for Spencer County Public Library’s grand reopening festivities, which will run 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 18.
Artists participating in “The Illustrated Word” include:
• Michael Crouse, Paducah
• Jennifer Dunham, Versailles
• Ronald Gosses, Richmond
• Paula Haynes, Clarkson
• Cynthia Houston, Bowling Green
• Frederica Diane Huff, Louisville
• Cynthia Kukla, Highland Heights
• Christine Levitt, Lexington
• Kathleen Loomis, Louisville
• Allison Lyne, Adairville
• Michael McCardwell, Shelbyville
• Leslie Nichols, Bowling Green
• Kathleen O’Brien, Harrodsburg
• Mary Claire O’Neal, Lexington
• Raymond Papka, Versailles
• Jacque Parsley, Louisville
• Corinne Pondell, Louisville
• Laura Poulette, Berea
• Fran Redmon, Frankfort
• Beth Richardson, Lexington
• Sarah Spradlin, Paris
• Helene Steene and Charlie Taylor, Lexington
• Julie Struck, Berea
• Jason Sturgill, Lexington
• Yvonne Todd, Lexington
• Carole Winters, Fort Thomas
• Joan Zehnder, Louisville
“The Illustrated Word” will travel to the following Kentucky venues:
• Feb. 6-March 24: Spencer County Public Library, Taylorsville
• April 21-23: Kentucky Crafted: The Market, Lexington Convention Center, Lexington
• May-June: George Coon Public Library, Princeton
• July 10-Aug. 24: Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library, Madisonville
• September-October: Lincoln County Public Library, Stanford
• November-December: Owen County Public Library, Owenton
• Jan. 10-Feb. 21, 2018: Laurel County Public Library, London
• March-April 2018: Taylor County Public Library, Campbellsville
• May 3-June 22, 2018: Boyle County Public Library, Danville
• July-August 2018: Lexington Public Library Main Branch, Lexington
• September-October 2018: Woodford County Public Library, Versailles
• November-December 2018: Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger
Visit the Kentucky Arts Council website for a slideshow of the work on exhibit.
For more information on “The Illustrated Word,” contact Kate Sprengnether, arts council public art and design director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-892-3111.
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.
From Kentucky Arts Council Communications