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Arts in Somerset

The small town of Somerset, Kentucky, located in the southern part of the state, is known for its proximity to Lake Cumberland and the Daniel Boone National Forest. But in the heart of downtown Somerset, there’s a thriving arts scene with artists and musicians who are proud to call this town home.

“One of the reasons that the arts are important to Somerset is that this is a community of connected people,” says artist Jeremy Scrimager. “They want to share each other’s lives, in as many capacities as possible. That’s still part of small-town America. That’s just part of what we do here. So being able to personalize that with arts and with music, there’s power in that. And it’s the power that makes small towns special.”

Scrimager and other visual artists and musicians were part of a showcase featuring local talent at Somerset’s own Jarfly Brewing Company.

“Jarfly is a brewing company and at its very core. We make beer,” says co-owner and brewer Daniel Stroud. “But we also provide a space for that beer to be enjoyed and that space is used in a lot of other interesting and creative ways. We use it as a home for art. We use it as a place for artists to come in and really express whether it’s music or dance or theater.”

The event featured art from a wide array of Somerset artists, ranging from middle school students to seasoned professionals. Somerset-based guitarist and songwriter Kevin Dalton led a jam session with local musicians.

“I travel around the state a lot and even to Nashville,” says Dalton. “But Kentucky is just full of [talent] and my hometown is the heart of it. My buddies are right here that’ll be here tonight. They’re as good as anybody.”

The talent and enthusiasm of the artists on display set against the backdrop of Somerset’s small-town charm makes for a unique experience.

“When you get down to it, people want to feel at home,” says Leslie Ikerd, Director of Tourism for the City of Somerset. “They want to feel relaxed, they want to enjoy the experience, and here in Somerset you can enjoy the experience.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2410, which originally aired on February 23, 2019. Watch the full episode.