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Contents:
Program 1205

1. sand sculptor Damon Farmer
2. the Asphalt Institute
3. Yatesville Lake State Park
4. string music at Natcher Elementary
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Season 12 Menu

Woodford County

For more information:
• Damon Farmer, Shadetree Studio, 30 Fintville Road, Versailles, KY 40383, (859) 873-3276

Producer, editor: Wesley Jay Akers


Oceanside Art

Sand sculptor Damon Farmer

Damon Farmer, a Versailles sculptor, creates artwork of astonishing complexity and beauty. He is skilled in graphic design, painting, and computer animation. But you won’t find his best-known work in any museum, because it’s not meant to be permanent: Farmer’s main medium is sand, and he works it so well that he was won several world championships. His sometimes massive, sometimes delicate works go way beyond castles and forts—although he can do a pretty mean castle, too.

Farmer, who has a bachelor’s degree in art from Berea College, discovered the joys of sculpting sand on a trip to the beach in 1975. He was soon entering—and winning—competitions on a master’s level. Since then, this unusual art form has taken him all over the world for both contests and commissions. In 2004, an Egyptian-themed exhibit to which he contributed in Jesolo, Italy drew more than 100,000 visitors during its 30-day existence.

For Farmer, the transitory nature of sand sculpture is part of the appeal. “Part of the charm of the art form is that [the finished pieces] are to be enjoyed where they are, and for the limited time that they last, by the people lucky enough to be there to see them,” he says. He also enjoys talking to curious passersby during the hours or days he’s working on a piece. Sand sculpture, he explains, is part performance art, too.

This profile is our second visit with Damon. He was previously featured in Program 315.

Watch This Story (7:15)




Fayette County

For more information:
Asphalt Institute, 2696 Research Park Dr., Lexington, KY 40511, (859) 288-4960

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editors: Jay Akers, Joy Flynn


Roadside Science

The Asphalt Institute

Damon Farmer’s creations collapse days or weeks after he finishes them, but the next group of people profiled on this edition of Kentucky Life are after something much more permanent. Engineers and researchers at Lexington’s Asphalt Institute are constantly in search of formulas that will make the pavement we travel on every day more durable, weather-resistant, and safe.

Founded in 1919, the Asphalt Institute is the international trade association for manufacturers of liquid asphalt (which covers more than 90 percent of America’s roads). Its mission includes promotion, marketing, and educational activities as well as research. Inside the rather mysterious-looking, black (of course) building housing the institute, host Dave Shuffett learns about various aspects of what the organization does from Asphalt Institute President Pete Grass, materials technologist Mike Beavin, field engineer Mike Huner, and Marketing Director Brian Clark. He also gets a look inside the lab and the experiments being carried out in the name of better roads.

Watch This Story (6:33)




Lawrence County

For more information:
Yatesville Lake State Park, P.O. Box 767, Louisa, KY 41230-0767, (606) 673-1492

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Amelia Cutadean
Audio: Charlie Bissell


Lakeside Stopover

Yatesville Lake

We begin this edition with a tour of Yatesville Lake State Park, a Lawrence County getaway that offers an 18-hole golf course; hiking trails; and camping, from primitive sites accessible only by boat to full-service “double-wides” where two RVs can park side by side.

And then, of course, there’s the lake. Yatesville is one of Kentucky’s youngest bodies of water, born in 1991 when the gates of a dam impounding the waters of Blaine Creek were closed. It was one of several reservoirs recommended in a 1964 Army Corps of Engineers study of the flood control and recreation needs of the Big Sandy region. Construction crews completed an access road to the Yatesville site in the mid-1970s, but then the Carter administration ordered a halt to all federally funded water projects pending a review. The project got under way again in 1984, and dam construction began in 1986.

Today, the lake covers 2,300 acres. It is managed for fishing by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and hosts flourishing populations of crappie, bluegill, and bass. The lake is also known for its cleanliness, and there’s a public beach for swimmers. A full-service marina offers boat slips and rentals of pontoons and johnboats.

While in the area, we also take a look around the nearby town of Louisa. Founded in the early years of the 19th century, Louisa is located at the point where the Tug and Levisa forks come together to form the Big Sandy River. The town of about 2,000 has a long history as a center of both water and rail transport.

Watch This Story (5:19)




Warren County

For more information:
• William E. Natcher Elementary School, 1434 Cave Mill Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42103, (270) 842-1364

Producer, videographer, editor: Cheryl Beckley


String Music

Natcher Elementary strings program

Dr. William Scott, Baker Professor of Music at Western Kentucky University, has conducted professional orchestras in more than a dozen countries and presented workshops on his own instrument, the double bass, at national conventions. But he also believes in sharing the gift of music close to home, with people of all ages. So he has also devoted considerable time over the course of his career to starting and nurturing music programs in local schools.

In this profile, we see Scott at work with kids at William H. Natcher Elementary School in Bowling Green, where a program of lessons in playing stringed instruments has been instituted to complement regular music instruction. For just $5 a week, 4th graders can sign up for violin, viola, cello, or double bass classes held at school twice a week. Instruments can be rented for $11 per month.

The first time the program was offered, 21 of Natcher’s 74 4th graders signed up. Scott hopes to see the effort continue to grow and involve more students. He points out that most schools have a band and a chorus, but not necessarily an orchestra, contributing to a nationwide shortage of string players at the university level. So while they’re having fun, learning self-discipline, gaining self-confidence, and enjoying the other benefits of involvement in the arts, the 9-year-olds now taking up stringed instruments may also be giving themselves the inside track to an eventual college music scholarship.

Watch This Story (3:18)


SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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