Skip Navigation


Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Painting: Helen La France (Orr)



Mayfield artist Helen La France discusses her subject matter—images and memories of typical African-American life in the rural South—and reminisces about her childhood on her family’s farm in Kentucky. La France, now in her 80s, recalls a lifetime of experiences and observations of how the lives of black and white Southerners have developed over time and how these remembrances manifest themselves in her work.

Suggested Uses:

  • Use to spark a discussion about the artist’s methods and intentions as well as the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion.
  • Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art. Why might Helen La France be included in the folk/traditional arts section of Spectrum of Art?
  • Compare and contrast Helen La France’s approach to painting with those of other painters, such as those featured in the Looking at Painting segments in the “Subject Matter and Genres” section of Spectrum of Art.
  • Use in conjunction with the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM, finding other examples of painters who are self-taught and part of a traditional culture.
  • Use as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.

For more information:

(These links may leave the Arts Toolkit.)

About Kentucky Life:


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