Producer, editor: Charlee Heaton
Minds Wide Open art center
Expect greatness, and you’ll get it.
That was the philosophy of Minds Wide Open, an art center for the developmentally disabled run by the nonprofit organization Arc of the Bluegrass in Lexington. It provided a creative space that people with disabilities could call their own—and the encouragement and high expectations to help them make the most of it.
On this 2000 visit, Kentucky Life met artists Bev Baker and Jessie Dunahoo, whose work was being displayed in art shows throughout the area. Baker in particular caught the attention of fiber artist and University of Kentucky art professor Arturo Sandoval (himself profiled in Program 421), who became an avid collector of her work.
Arc of the Bluegrass is no longer in business.
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Producer, videographer, editor: Gale Worth
Life on the Mississippi
The town of Hickman
Mark Twain is said to have called Hickman “the prettiest town on the Mississippi.” In this segment, host Dave Shuffett takes a look for himself at this historic Western Kentucky town, perched on a series of bluffs that rise several hundred feet above a bend in the river.
Settled in about 1819, Hickman became the county seat of the newly formed Fulton County in 1845. Fulton County had been carved out of Hickman County, just to the north—although the town and county are named for different Hickmans. One of the local landmarks Dave sees is the second Fulton County courthouse. The building, on the site of the original courthouse, dates to 1903, and an unusual “eight-day clock” has been keeping time in its tower since 1904.
The town also offers the Warren Thomas Black History Museum, housed in a church founded by former slaves in the 1890s. Jeanette Dean shows Dave around the building, which also served for decades as the school and social center for the area’s African-American community.
Two local businesses are also on the itinerary: The Kentucky Nut Corporation specializes in wild seedling pecans, and the Henson Broom Shop, owned and operated by Richard Henson, turns out traditional brooms of all sorts. Its customers have included the set decorators for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. (The broom shop has since relocated to Symsonia, in Graves County.)
Of course, Hickman’s main source of commerce over the years has been the Mississippi. By the middle decades of the 20th century, deposits of silt were threatening that trade, and the Army Corps of Engineers carried out a dredging project to make sure the town had a permanent port. But in the 1990s, it was discovered that the dredging had weakened the bluffs on which the town itself sits—so the Corps came back to do some shoring up. Hickman celebrates its watery heritage with an annual River City Festival each September.
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