Sure. Santa Fe has its art colony, Seattle, its experimental arts edge, and New York, enough museums and cultural institutions that it can catalog its own top 50 and still have plenty of must-sees left for another arts-centric list.
But rocking an arts scene beneath the radar are those smaller towns whose dynamic art galleries, working artist studios, festivals with an arts flair, restaurants known for their food artistry and art-enhanced accommodations combine to create a surprisingly well-rounded arts ecosystem.
Case in point: Georgetown, KY.
Sitting amidst Kentucky Horse Country, Georgetown is perhaps best known as the birthplace of bourbon (a sublime art in its own right), but this small town is also home to several high-profile artists, including John Stephen Hockensmith, rock star of equine photography and publisher of breathtakingly beautiful collector art books like his Gypsy Horses and the Travelers’ Way, Spanish Mustangs in the Great American West and, most recently, The Gift of Color: Henry Lawrence Faulkner, about the life and art of the prolific Kentucky artist who once hung out with Tennessee Williams and has his work collected by Silver Screen celebs Bette Davis and Greta Garbo.
Hockensmith’s arts headquarters is the Fine Art Editions Gallery & Press, which sits in downtown’s Victorian-era streetscape crowded with shops, restaurants, arts venues and (this being Kentucky), a craft bourbon distillery called Bourbon 30.
Thoroughbred racehorse artist Robert Clark has a gallery here. The Scott County Arts & Cultural Welcome Center, located in the old jailer’s house, exhibits fine art and sells local and regional handcrafted gift items. Nearby Georgetown College has three art galleries showcasing works by new, emerging and experimental artists from around the world.
Visitors to Georgetown can watch Old World artistry take shape before their eyes at Heirlooms & Gretchen’s, one of Kentucky’s only authentic stained-glass shops, and grind, saw and solder their own keepsake. They can dine on inspired cuisine at Local Feed, a farm-to-table restaurant tucked into a former 1890s ice house, whose chef, Justin Thompson, also takes his culinary prowess on the road to Georgetown landmarks for sell-out multi-course Seed to Feed dinners.
They can take it outside to one of the most visually scenic spots in central Kentucky at Yuko-En on Elkhorn Creek. An official Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden, it is an homage to Tahara, Japan, Georgetown’s sister city, a calming oasis of flowering and native plants, Japanese-inspired sculptures and a pond that invites quiet reflection.
Arts events coming up in Georgetown include the Festival of the Bluegrass, June 7-10; Hockensmith’s The Gift of Color: Henry Lawrence Faulkner New Book Release at Irish Acres Gallery on June 21; and a Seed to Feed dinner at Ward Hall, June 22. Call it a good night in a picture-postcard setting of Kentucky Horse Country at Linden Place Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Plan Your Travels
To learn more about things to see and do in Georgetown and places to dine and overnight, visit www.georgetownky.com.
For information about the John Stephen Hockensmith’s The Gift of Color: Henry Lawrence Faulkner New Book Release at Kentucky’s Irish Acres Gallery on June 21, call 859-873-7235 or visit www.finearteditions.net.
To see a video about Linden Place Bed and Breakfast Inn, click https://youtu.be/KSixptM2rsQ.