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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Kentuck Museum Association, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Art Museums, Arts & Culture, Single Organization Support, Visual Arts

Mission: The mission of the Kentuck Museum Association is to nuture artistic expresssion, to educate the public about the creative efforts of artists, to engage the community in the arts and add to the cultural climate and quality of life in West Alabama.

Kentuck is West Alabama's only community arts center and its efforts are focused on bringing a variety of arts programming to the general public through its projects: the Kentuck Art Center in downtown Northport; the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Art Night, Museum Without Walls, Dickens Downtown, Northport Fine Arts Initiative and Kentuck for Kids Educational Programming.

The Kentuck Art Center:

The Kentuck Art Center is a multidisciplinary center which sponsors visual arts, music and theatre along with other activities and events. Currently at the center are two multi-purpose areas which function primarily as exhibition spaces; the Studio Artist Program; the Gallery Shop and the Association's administrative staff offices.

Exhibitions and Performances

The Kentuck Art Center presents over a dozen visual art exhibitions annually through the Gallery and Museum. The Kentuck Gallery presents the work of emerging artists and the Kentuck Museum hosts individual and group shows from regional and national artists. These exhibits are accompanied by gallery talks and other related events. Through the year, theatre ranging from play readings to fully realized productions is staged indoors and out at the Center; and musical ensembles offer performances of jazz, folk, blues, and more. School groups visit the Center for exhibits, artist studio tours and special activities. Community organizations also use the Center for various functions.

Studio Artist Program

As part of its mission to educate the community about the creative efforts of artists, Kentuck sponsors the Studio Artist Program which currently has six artists in residence at the Center: Steve Davis, metalsmith; Brian Evans, digital art; Lackey Stephens, painting; Celia O'Kelley, jewelry; Ann Betak, painting; and Justin Robinson, painting. These individuals lease studio space from the Center and run their studios independently, some opening for retail hours, others offering classes, and others prefering to use their space primarily for a work area. Artists have their studios open for the public at Art Night and for community, tourism and educational tours.

The Gallery Shop

The Gallery Shop showcases the craftsmanship of Alabama artists in clay, metal, glass, fiber and wood and features books and music by Alabama authors and musicians. The shop also has handcrafted work by southeastern and national artists. The goal of the Gallery Shop is to make handcrafted work available to the community year round and to provide financial support for artists, writers, and musicians.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Amy Culp M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have attended the Kentuck Festival of the Arts for many years, and have recently become involved at the board level. As a member of several boards of directors, I am impressed with the drive, dedication, energy and efficiency with which the Kentuck Museum Association is now administered. In just the past couple of years, dramatic improvements have been made to the Kentuck facility and to the festival itself, and the programming is second to none.
The Kentuck Festival has always been one of the greatest treasures Northport has to offer, but now the entire operation -- festival, gallery shop, studio artists, programs -- has become an outstanding attraction for the area. I am excited to see what the future has to offer for this dynamic organization!

Review from Guidestar

Eugenia J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been attending the Kentuck Festival of the Arts for more years than I can recall! Currently, I work with the festival's outreach program, Kentuck Artists in the Schools. The Friday before the festival Kentuck artists work with 3rd graders in Tuscaloosa City and County Schools to demonstrate their art or teach the students to create a piece of art in the manner of the visiting artist. In this time of sparse funding for the arts, this opportunity is priceless for the students!
Working with the Kentuck Board, Steering Committee, employees, and volunteers is truly an honor. This organization is a model for board organization. The people are all hard working with the same goal of providing a top quality festival run by top quality people. An artist told me this year that Kentuck Festival of the Arts is the gold standard for festivals.

Review from Guidestar

Sydney G.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

After five years of attending the festival and visiting the grounds, I was welcome by the dedicated staff behind the Kentuck art initiative as a Studio Artist in February 2017. We love hosting the art community at our monthly Art Nights in our studios to see art in its raw creation. The efforts of all of the Kentuck volunteers, guests, and enthusiasts make this neighborhood in Historic Northport so cherished, and it takes a village to maintain. We, the artists, are working there seven days a week, and the gift shop is on the corner showcasing a myriad of the festival’s most talented artisans and folk artists. The community-conscious and visionary ideas of our board and leaders have reinvigorated the year-round Kentuck campus open to the public and achieved record-breaking fundraising for the nationally recognized festival each October. Moreover, I have felt appreciated and supported as an individual in the collective. Kentuck’s leadership supports my personal endeavors for engaging the community by hosting my art enrichment summer camps, houses my studio quarters, and creates a collective dialogue for the movers and shakers—not only in this community but across the Southeast United States. Thank you for valuing the arts, supporting artists, and shopping local! We are most grateful.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Being from Canada, I had never heard of the Kentuck Festival until a dear friend invited me to come along because "I think even you might like it." She was a bit off the mark ... I absolutely loved it! The event is a genuine American treasure, and it's clear from this outsider's view that many devoted and hard working volunteers put in hundreds of hours each year to deliver to newcomers and annual attendees alike the type of "wow" that I experienced. Since that initial introduction to Kentuck, I have had the sincere honor and privilege of attending non-festival events presented by the Kentuck Museum Association and, each time, the passion and professionalism of the organization has achieved the sky-high bar that was established on my first visit to the Kentuck Festival. Kudos to everyone involved!

Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a board member, Past President and longtime donor to Kentuck. It's one of the proudest investments our family foundation makes each year. Since the hiring of the new Executive Director, Amy Echols, and the strengthening of the Board of Directors, the organization completed a successful capital campaign to renovate the campus, almost doubled its budget and community support, increased its year-round programming in such creative ways that attendance across the board is at an all-time high, and completed a strategic plan for its future direction with broad input from the community. I commend Amy and the board for looking at things with fresh eyes, professionalizing Kentuck's operations and breathing new life into a treasured organization in our community.

Review from Guidestar

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Kentuck! Is still going strong. Our community of artists are supported and thrive. I know, because I am there. I am fortunate to have a studio at Kentuck . We have watched a great evolution at Kentuck. Passed are the days when leadership was not involved on the ground. Our non-profit staff really care about the artists who choose Kentuck as their studio base. The entire staff can be commended for their sincere efforts not only at the Museum, and Festival, but also in the community! Need evidence? Just go volunteer with Kentuck. Help with a community workshop a see the glow of happy kids and adults flowing in their new found creativity. The positive atmosphere at Kentuck is contagious! You too can take a loving cup full!

Review from Guidestar

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Kentuck is a dynamic organization led by strong leadership! Kentuck cares about our community and our artists. We stick together in the good times and the sad ones as well. We are family and work very hard and play too. We support one another (see photo below.) Thirteen of us traveled over 400 + miles to support one of our members. We are Kentuck strong! Francine Marasco

Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Where can I begin..?!

Several years ago, a young lady was hired as the Executive Director of Kentuck. Not only is she an artist, but also a long standing board member, supporter and donor. As with any new job/role, there have been growing pains; but without reservation or hesitation, I commend Amy Echols and her dedicated staff of FOUR (yes, only 4!) on a job well done!

The Board of Directors and staff plowed through a capital campaign, fund raising to renovate the museum, which brought new life and a renewed spirit to downtown Northport.

Kentuck is once again the anchor of Northport's downtown.

Art night is ever-growing and presents an opportunity for exposure for local artists. And the festival....well, seeing is believing!

I can go on and on about Kentuck, but PLEASE, DO NOT take my word as gospel; experience the greatness for yourself! Join us for:
Art Night - every 1st Thursday
Dickens Downtown - TONIGHT
monetary donation - ANYTIME

You be the judge....

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with this organization for more than 35 years. It started out as an arts and crafts festival with a focus on undiscovered folk artists. It evolved to be one of the premier arts and craft events in the country. But wait there's more. We've grown to be a community arts organization that provides work spaces for artists and crafts persons, supports art classes both on its campus and in the local schools, has a monthly event that brings the community together for fun, food, and music while viewing the arts and crafts, provides museum space with new exhibtors each month, and has a gift shop with many unique items. We just completed a capital campaign which renovated our historic headquarters. We have a full time director who while being a great artist is also a great fund raiser, manager, and shepherd of our resources. She works with a full time staff of four who bring many talents to this great group. The heart of the organization is the community volunteers. It's this group that I've most enjoyed over the years.

An organization can only remain vital if it brings in new people. I encourage you to come visit us and see if you might be interested in the work we do. Oh, yeah, your tax deductible contributions would also be a big help. Thanks

Review from Guidestar

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

New leadership has righted the ship in recent years and revitalized the annual Kentuck Arts Festival. Stuck in a rut for a long time, they have been raising the quality of art and artists at the annual fest. Breaking with the past is not an easy thing to do, but they have the vision and strength to build a new and improved Kentuck. With a newly renovated building and more community engagement programs than ever, it is a superb arts resource for the community and region. As a newcomer, I am very impressed with the direction the organization is moving.

Review from Guidestar

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I am so very sorry to see the state this organization is in. A couple of years ago the board of directors did what too many other nonprofits have done, they hired one of their own directors as executive director. In speaking with patrons, artists and supporters I have learned that the current leadership is failing and flailing. The entire staff has quit and there is no programming other than the annaul festival. The current leadership is completely changing the rules of the festival this year and has done away with the grandfathered artists that so many folks come to see. There were advertisements for the executive director position in 2013 for a nonprofit professional with 6 years experience in nonprofit management and experience writing grants and the salary was raised appropriately to a range of $60-$70K. They in turn hired one of their own members who did not meet those requirements. This is a very beloved festival in the state of Alabama and it is very sad to see that it is on a careless downhill slope.

Review from Guidestar

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

This used to be a wonderful organization. It is such a shame that they keep hiring directors who do not have the background, knowledge or understanding to keep things going.

bournetobook

Donor

Rating: 5

The Kentuck Arts Festival has open arms. On the third weekend of October every year, this outdoor gathering provides a magnificent environment where the tall and the small celebrate art. This year I watched again as pilgrims pranced, polished off, picked up on, and perused wondrous cross-genre offerings plucked from imagination and eased into our midst. For the first time since its inception, the young and the young-at-heart got messy and built memories at Kentuck for Kids without the enthusiastic encouragement of Carolyn Fritz, longtime volunteer and advocate who passed away earlier this year. Her spirit and generosity linger. Faith, persistence, and inclusion have secured this arts festival for 41 years. With its big heart, Kentuck grows community.

Amy_48

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5


There are so many wonderful things to say about Kentuck - and all well-deserved.  From a non-profit perspective, what amazes me about Kentuck is that such a small organization can successfully execute an iconic, nationally recognized event.

Kentuck has put hosted a Nationally acclaimed art show for 41 years. From their small building, the Kentuck staff has consistently attracted some of the best outsider and folk artists in the nation, and some of the best collectors of art. Additionally , the Kentuck has actively sought out unrecognized talent.. Some of which had skyrocketed to the top, with the recognition of Kentuck.

In addition to identifying and promoting great art, they have educated the community: both local and those who travel from afar as patrons. It is an inclusive event which is attended by patrons who buy major works, as well as families simply coming to view art and participate in children's events.

I believe that Kentuck's commitment has truly played a part in not only recognizing, but also developing Southern Folk Art and, at the same time, educating and developing an educated art buyer.

I have been an invited artist for many years and attribute much of my children's keen eye to the years they have spent at Kentuck.

1 Kara8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I had never been to the Kentuck Art Festival, but this weekend I had an opportunity to go and had such a great time. There was so much more to do and see than I had anticipated. The quality of the musical performances and storytellers was just wonderful, and the artists all showcased such lovely work. It was a real treat to spend the weekend perusing the vendors and enjoying the community atmosphere. I will definitely go again!

Jeanne F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of being an invited artist at Kentuck Festival of the Arts for many years. I have been doing shows as a working artist for 20 plus years. It is without a doubt my favorite show that I do throughout the year.
Upon arrival I am greeted each year by the staff and volunteers as a member of the Kentuck family. These kind of special touches are a welcome change. I look forward all year to this show, as it is where I feel I am truly with my tribe. Kentuck has a great mix a folk/outsider art, contemporary art & outstanding craft. The music and demonstrating artists make this a well-rounded event. Even the activities for children have an unusual twist; my favorite is the musical instruments tent, where kids get a chance to try out an array of instruments.
In the past, when the park has encountered rain & flooding the staff was there coming up with solutions and working with the venue on long term solutions. The public is supportive of the event and the local newspapers to a great job with articles and spotlights on musicians and artists. They have a Patron Program that works wonderfully. The show hours are perfect, 9-5 Sat/Sun with load-in on Friday. What more can I say? I look forward to next year!

Gillian K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been participating in juried art festivals throughout the midwest and southwest for more than twenty years. Kentuck is indeed unique from my prospective.It is a wonderful mix of true folk art, pseudo folk art, semi folk, wanna be folk, contemporary work and just plain good art made by sincere craftsmen. It is a safe environment to brings kids and let them wander and wonder. It is the only art show about the art, craft and creativity, not about presentation . My first year the man across from us hung his work from a tree and leaned against a chicken wire fence. I was entranced as i watched throughout the day as he almost sold out. Its the only show I've gone to where a staff member stood in the path in front of my booth and said, "you need help? I'll get someone right over!" And did! Most of the artists I know come back year after year despite the mud, dust, pollen, floods, sunshine and cheer. It feels like an art show for artists though the public is a vital force- after all, we do need an audience!

Jay_7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Kentuck is a collage of talent, creativity and fun. Walking through the paths and finding the perfect piece of art is a delight. The music, the people, the entire experience is not to be missed.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Kentuck is the best non-profit with which I have ever been involved. It provides year-round activities on its campus while its "signature", nationally-acclaimed festival occurs annually and attracts visitors across the country. Kentuck attracts all ages and provides a wide scope of art-related activities. All these activities are done with the end goal of perpetuating the arts, engaging the community, and empowering the artist. The organization operates in a professional manner, has an active board, a deep volunteer base, and a dynamic staff.

Suzan B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Kentuck is a fantastic, magical place--a place where children can be taught about art, and what the imagination can actually do when let loose. The art at Kentuck spans from very fine art to the essence of Southern folk art. The staff, board and volunteers are there, and they far exceed what is normally given. They treat the artist like royalty, and the visitors to this event even better. It is a wonderful place..and the morning after the show, I start looking forward to next year.