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Program 1303

1. Science Hill Female Academy
2. printmaker Julie May
3. the Apple Patch
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Season 13 Menu

Shelby County

For more information:

Wakefield-Scearce Galleries, 525 Washington St., Shelbyville, KY 40065, (502) 633-4382.
• The records of the Science Hill Female Academy are part of the Special Collections at the Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40208, (502) 635-5083

Producer: Tom Thurman
Videographer: Matt Grimm
Audio: Thomas Cooper
Editor: Jim Piston


Science Hill Female Academy

In downtown Shelbyville, an impressive 78-room brick building known as Science Hill houses the Wakefield-Scearce antiques galleries and import shops. The gallery has a long history of its own, having been founded in 1947. But on this visit, we reach back even further in time to remember the building’s former life as the home of the Science Hill Female Academy.

That story dates to 1825, a time when most gentlefolk believed that all a young woman really needed to be considered educated was reading, writing, and instruction in household management and the social graces. Accomplished young ladies might also speak a little French or play a little piano.

But Julia Ann Tevis had other ideas. A highly intelligent young woman whose own education had included instruction in a variety of subjects from private tutors, she was determined to give that same opportunity to other girls. So when her minister husband was called to Kentucky, she decided to found a school on land owned by her cousin in Shelbyville. Legend says that it was Julia who named the place Science Hill, in honor of her desire to teach such “radical” subjects as science, math, history, and rhetoric.

With Julia at its head, the Science Hill Female Academy weathered disapproval from those who felt young women should not be exposed to such subjects, plus the more physical perils of a cholera epidemic and the Civil War, to become one of the country’s most prominent girls’ schools. Girls from the surrounding community attended as day students, but the school also had boarders from every state.

In 1879, an aging Julia sold the school to Dr. Wiley Taul Poynter. (She would die in 1880). Focusing on secondary education, he continued and strengthened Julia’s legacy by turning Science Hill into a leading college preparatory academy. Until the financial ravages of the Great Depression finally forced it to close its doors in 1939—after 114 years of continuous operation—Science Hill sent numerous graduates on to Vassar, Wellesley, and other prestigious women’s colleges.

During our visit to the site, we hear fond memories of Science Hill from three alumnae of those last years: Ruby Dean Allen, Martha O’Nan, and Rosella Davis.

Shelby County

For more information:
Julie May Glass Designs and Printmaking, 44 Cherokee St., Shelbyville, KY 40065,

Producer, audio: Brandon Wickey
Videographers: Jason Robinson, Brandon Wickey

Art from Nature

Printmaker and jewelry designer Julie May

While we’re in Shelbyville, we also visit the studio of artist Julie May. She’s a glass artist in two senses: She creates graceful pieces of blown-glass jewelry, and she uses glass plates to make detailed prints based on the shapes of leaves, stems, and other flora.

The technique of using a sheet of glass as a printing plate, a relatively recent innovation, is known as vitreography and yields sharp details and vibrant color. Some artists paint directly on the glass, etch into it and then fill the etched areas with ink, or coat the glass with some other material and then draw designs in the coating. But May, a lifelong nature lover, decided to incorporate the intricate forms of the natural world into her art.

To start, she coats a glass plate with ink. Then she arranges leaves or other plant parts on top and lays a piece of paper on top of the leaves. Running this arrangement through a press produces a first print that’s a “negative” with white areas where the leaves blocked the ink, plus embossed patterns created by stems and veins. For a second pass, she peels off the leaves and makes a second print from the same ink background, which now has the impressions of the leaves in it. Finally, by putting the leaves back with their inked sides up, she can create a third variation. Since she’s working with loose pieces, the arrangements are never repeated exactly, making each print one of a kind.

Oldham County

For more information:

Apple Patch, 7408A Hwy. 329, Crestwood, KY 40014, (502) 657-0103

Producer: Tom Bickel

A Place for Everyone

Apple Patch

In 1988, a group of parents of adults with mental retardation founded Apple Patch to begin planning a safe place where their children could live and work independently. As was fairly standard at the time, it was first envisioned as a place just for them. But as the planners researched the possibilities, they began running across studies demonstrating the benefits of a more inclusive approach. So now the plan, unique in Kentucky and unusual anywhere, calls for a mixed community where adults with and without mental retardation will live and work side by side.

That community is taking shape on a 47-acre site in Oldham County. A mix of single-family homes and apartments, it will also include a community center and a central park. In the summer of 2005, volunteers from around the country helped build the community’s spiritual center, a chapel and memorial garden.

Apple Patch also offers a day program with classes in reading, music, social skills, money management, cooking, and other topics to help adults with mental retardation lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

SEASON 13 PROGRAMS: 1301130213031304130513061307/1326: The Lincoln Wedding130813091310

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