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Program 1310

1. Lavender Hills of Kentucky
2. inmate art at Luther Luckett
3. A Romance with the Landscape
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Bracken County

For more information:

Lavender Hills of Kentucky, 229 Conrad Ridge Rd., Brooksville, KY 41004, (606) 735-3355

Producer: Valerie Trimble
Videographer: Prentice Walker
Audio: Noel Bramblett
Editor: Jim Piston

The Sweet Smell of Success

Lavender Hills of Kentucky

If television allowed for the transmission of scents, this edition of Kentucky Life would be especially sweet-smelling, thanks to the Brothers-Scaringi family and their Bracken County lavender farm.

Charles and Judith Brothers have been growing tobacco and raising livestock on 109 acres outside Brooksville since 1965. But like many other Kentucky farmers buffeted by the dwindling fortunes of tobacco as a cash crop, they recently found themselves looking for alternative ways to stay on the land. At the same time, daughter Denise, who had moved away and married New York native Gerry Scaringi, was looking for a way to come home and put down some family roots of her own. After much research and discussion, they decided to establish Kentucky’s first lavender farm on land adjacent to the original family homestead.

The first lavender plants went into the ground in 2005, and the 2006 harvest yielded 750 bundles of dried lavender. Denise’s three siblings all own land in Bracken County, too, and the whole family pitched in to start creating everything from sachets and potpourri to lavender-filled pillows that can be heated and wrapped around sore neck muscles.

Lavender Hills of Kentucky also sells dried buds and lavender bundles for use in wreaths and other craft projects, lavender-infused household products from soap and candles to stuffed animals and dryer bags, and preparations of the herb and its oil for use in recipes. Known for its calming properties, lavender has also been used for centuries as an herbal treatment for a variety of aches, pains, and wounds.

Denise and her family sell their products online and operate a seasonal gift shop on the farm. At the time of our visit, they were also planning “you-pick” events to let customers gather their own lavender.

Oldham County

For more information:
Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, Dawkins Road, Box 6, LaGrange, KY 40031, (502) 222-0363

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: Frank Simkonis
Audio: Roger Tremaine
Editor: Jay Akers

Art on the Inside

Inmate art at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex

For our next segment, host Dave Shuffett goes to prison.

His stay at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, of course, was temporary. But so are the stays of nearly all of the inmates at that medium-security prison: As Warden Tom Dailey puts it, “They’ll be your neighbors someday.” So the emphasis at Luther Luckett, opened in 1981 in an era of rehabilitation-minded prison reform, is on educational and life skills programs that prepare inmates to contribute to society once they return to it.

The prisoners are also encouraged to form clubs reflecting their own interests. Our visit focuses on the works of visual art created by inmates in the fine arts program. Impressive by any standards, these drawings, collages, and sculptures become even more amazing when you realize that they’re made using only the few materials and tools allowed prison inmates, such as Popsicle sticks, nail clippers, and colored pencils.

During our visit, Dailey and chaplain Mark Wessels talk about the benefits of the arts for the inmates, which go far beyond passing time. Art encourages reflection and self-awareness, channels energy and intelligence into creation rather than destruction, builds thinking and problem-solving skills, and allows men who may have known nothing but failure to succeed at something.

The visual arts are not the only form of art encouraged at Luther Luckett. The Oldham County prison is also the home of Shakespeare Behind Bars, a renowned drama program in which a troupe of inmates, guided by volunteer director Curt Tofteland, produces one of Shakespeare’s plays each year. The project has been the subject of numerous news reports and an award-winning feature-length documentary by Hank Rogerson. In the film, inmates preparing a production of The Tempest recognize themselves in Shakespeare’s characters and grapple with the play’s themes of violence, redemption, and forgiveness in their own lives.

Fayette County

For more information:
University of Kentucky Art Museum, 116 Singletary Center, Rose St. and Euclid Ave., Lexington, KY 40506, (859) 257-5716

Producer: Tom Thurman
Videographer/audio: Brent Abshear
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Love for the Land

A Romance with the Landscape art exhibition

Art is also the focus of our final segment for this edition—this time in a more conventional setting—as we visit the University of Kentucky Art Museum to stroll through A Romance with the Landscape, an exhibition of 19th-century French works.

On view at the museum in Lexington during late 2006, A Romance with the Landscape drew enthusiastic crowds. Much of the appeal, of course, was the beauty and power of the works themselves. The exhibition brought together pieces lent by several other museums as well as private collectors and included masterworks by such renowned painters as Renoir, Monet, Dupré, Daubigny, and Millet. Art lovers could trace the development of plein air painting from nature, evolving views of how to treat human figures within landscapes, and the flowering of Impressionism through the drawings and finished works.

But as our close look at some of those works illustrates, the subjects were probably also a big draw. These scenes of verdant rolling hills, farm animals, and people working the land, though created more than a century ago, often bear a striking similarity to scenes you might see on a drive through rural Kentucky today. While capturing scenes from the past in France, they also remind us of something still essential to the character of our own state.

Though A Romance with the Landscape has ended its run, some of the individual works can still be seen at the University of Kentucky Art Museum, located inside the Singletary Center for the Arts. Its permanent collection of nearly 4,000 artworks in every medium includes European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts as well as art from the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Franklin County

On Location

At Home with Dave

For this program, Dave let work come to him one day. He hosts from his own home in rural Franklin County.

SEASON 13 PROGRAMS: 1301130213031304130513061307/1326: The Lincoln Wedding130813091310

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