Folk Art of The Kentucky Wildlands

For centuries, the rugged beauty, rich history and powerful heritage of eastern Kentucky have inspired generations of artists to express and share their vision with the world. Their stories are told and woven through the art and handicrafts rooted in the culture and traditions of The Kentucky Wildlands.

From weavers, basket makers, quilters and textile artists to painters, sculptors, ceramicist, photographers and woodcarvers these artists have long used their art to link the past to the present and capture the spirit and resilience of this region’s special people. Discover how artists with few available resources, such as woodcarver Minnie Adkins whose work is on exhibit at the Smithsonian, have been able to express themselves in a number of amazing ways and unique mediums.  

A number of one-of-a-kind museums, local arts districts, galleries, art studios, festivals and crafts fairs throughout The Kentucky Wildlands offer opportunities to view, and even purchase the works of primitive, folk, contemporary, realist and abstract artists, as well as regional crafters and artisans.

The Folk Art Center in Morehead features the work of a number of local and regional artists, including Minnie Adkins. The Appalachian Artisan Center in Morehead features the handcrafted pottery, furniture, quilts, jewelry and more of talented Appalachian regional artists, and also houses the Dulcimer Museum. Cumberland is home to the Godbey Appalachian Cultural & Fine Arts Center and an expansive art gallery collection, woodworking shop and open crafts studio. You’ll find the work of more than 25 different artists and crafters in Campton at the Swift Creek Arts and Crafts Gallery, and a thriving fine arts scene in Ashland where commissioned murals by regional artists line streets, parks and alleyways.

Many museums, galleries and art centers offer hands-on workshops and classes where you can try your hand and talents at handicrafts, such as basket and candle making, woodcarving, and more. Check schedules for individual shows and temporary exhibits, as well as community sponsored sidewalk art shows, event and festivals held throughout the year.

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