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WKCTC’s Paducah School of Art and Design celebrates 10th anniversary with ‘Block Bash’

West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Paducah School of Art and Design first opened its doors to offer classes at 409 Broadway in downtown Paducah in August 2008 with drawing, painting and digital photography.

Now the art school, with its completed three-building campus, covers two blocks on Paducah’s Madison and Harrison Streets and offers more than 40 programs each semester. PSAD is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a free community-wide Block Bash on Feb. 23 from 1-4 p.m. in its 2D Graphic and Design Building at 905 Harrison Street.

The Block Bash will feature studio art and related activities with PSAD faculty and students throughout the day, including hands-on activities for youth in sixth grade to adults in metalsmithing, ceramics, laser cutting, mold making and plaster casting in its Ceramics and Sculpture Buildings at 919 Madison Street. Vinyl cutting, photoshopped self-portraits, animation demos, and collaborative mural and large-scale weaving projects will be offered in its 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street. Light refreshments will be available.

Younger children will also be able to have a great time at the Block Bash’s Kids Zone in the 2D and Graphic Design Building. “We will have fun and exciting activities for everyone who comes out to the Block Bash celebration,” said Paul Aho, PSAD director.

Block Bash visitors can also see Black and White, an exhibition of works by PSAD faculty members Randy Simmons and Evin Dubois; Bright Futures 4, an exhibition of student work from nine regional high schools. Slide shows showcasing student and faculty artwork and events and activities at the art school since its inception in 2008 will also be on display.

“PSAD is pleased to host the Block Bash in celebration of our tenth year serving traditional and non-traditional college students and others within the region,” said Aho. “We are excited to share the celebration with the community. It will provide a chance for adults and youth to try their hand at a number of art activities and to share in what we have accomplished over our first 10 years.”

The vision for the art school began in March 2008 following the creation of Paducah’s revitalization of its historic Lower Town arts district through the Artist Relocation Program eight years earlier. Through a collaborative effort between the City of Paducah, WKCTC and many college and community supporters, the vision for PSAD became a reality.

“I would like to commend the visionaries of our Art School and the incredible PSAD staff and organizers of the Block Bash. The 10-year celebration event serves as a powerful reminder of the unique impact of the Arts in our community and economy,” said WKCTC President Anton Reece. “In addition, PSAD provides numerous opportunities for all of our youth and adults to build community and explore their artistic creativity in an educational and fun way.”

In 2013, the first phase of the PSAD campus in Lower Town was completed with the historic 6,700-square-foot Ceramics and Small Metals Building, which houses the school’s ceramics and small metals programs with separate first-class studios for each program. The 7,000-square-foot Sculpture Building, which opened in August 2014, significantly changed the landscape to the art school’s Lower Town campus. The building features state-of-the-art studios for woodworking and metals fabrication, along with a wax and plaster room in support of an outdoor foundry.

The final milestone of PSAD’s Lower Town campus, its 2D and Graphic Design Building, opened in March 2016. The 32,228-square-foot building include studios for painting, drawing, digital photography, fiber arts, graphic design, multimedia, and a cutting-edge recording studio. The building is also home to Kitchen’s CafĂ© and the Bill Ford Gallery, named for local artist and community art supporter.

“The Block Bash is our way of giving back to the community that has so generously supported our vision for a world-class art school and our mission to serve as an arts destination for the region,” said Aho.

WKCTC’s Paducah School of Art and Design offers an associate in fine arts degree in visual art and an associate in applied science degree and certificate programs in visual communication: multimedia, as well as studio art classes for students of all levels and disciplines.

For more information about program offerings, call (270) 534-3901.

From West Kentucky Community and Technical College

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