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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual

Kentuckians in Visual Arts


Sculptor Sarah Paulson
Burkesville, Kentucky

Sarah Paulson

Who Sarah Paulson works as a sculptor and art teacher and lives on a farm by the Cumberland River in southcentral Kentucky. She works in a variety of media, including stone and woodcarving, various forms of casting, and fabric embellishment, and has traveled across Kentucky to make art with students as a roster artist for the Kentucky Arts Council. She manages the exhibition of her own work and leads professional development seminars for teachers. And she works the land as co-owner of Sylvanus Farm CSA, a certified organic farm that grows heirloom and gourmet varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit, plus beef and eggs, for sale to subscription customers.

What “I divide my year between traveling throughout Kentucky during the school year as an artist-in-residence; working at a bustling organic farm business I have with my husband, who is a year-round farmer; and working on new sculptures for commissions and exhibitions. My artwork utilizes very traditional sculpture processes—mostly drawing, carved wood, stone, and some plaster casting. I also enjoy woodblock printing and fabric embellishment processes, such as batik. I also enjoy making costumes, as well as building on-site natural constructions that are temporary and meant to be affected by the elements. My sculptures are mostly figurative subjects. I am inspired by many Classical Greek poses but use many symbols, both animal and vegetative, that are significant to me personally. I also use subjects and concepts from my studies of various cultures and philosophical traditions.”

When “There is almost no ‘average day’ for the whole year, but I certainly have routines. I do a lot of teaching: hands-on processes as well as art history and the art of other cultures. I work with students and teachers and enjoy developing art programming to enrich existing curriculum.”

How paulson “The biggest challenge to being an artist is finding the time to do my work. My occupations may not present an example of what someone would choose ahead of time to undertake, yet I have an extremely rewarding life and enjoy many benefits through all of my various interests. Working with students gives me the excuse to create new hands-on processes, to study the art of cultures I had never delved into on my own, and to interact with young people on a regular basis, which is hilariously funny a lot of the time. Kids are about the only people I want to share modern art with, especially in the classroom. Working as a farmer gives me endless inspiration, teaching me every day about the vastness and complexity of our beautiful planet. I am in awe of the insects and plants and animals that I spend my day with in the field.”

Why “I grew up in a very artistic household, and although my dad is a wood sculptor and art professor, I really never intended in the beginning to follow in his footsteps. I was very drawn to art and writing, and it was not until my foundation year in art school that I decided that three-dimensional art was the obvious choice. I had never until that point had a class in which I felt I was getting away with spending the whole time playing. Play is very essential to making art; with all of the hard work, there must also be an underlying feeling of absolute joy in order to propel you through the act of creating.”

Getting There “My only advice is not to be afraid to go into each project with the whole of your focus and energy and make yourself enjoy even the difficult parts of it. Any creative work is about the process of creating. The final product is the thing you leave behind for the next idea.”


600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951