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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.