Lakshmi Sriraman of Lexington built a career as a performer and teacher of classical Indian dancing, but in February 2017 she added another layer to her artistry when she started painting.
Sriraman split her time between dance rehearsal and the canvas, and eventually decided in 2018 to apply for the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Crafted arts marketing program. In September, she was one of nine Kentucky artists juried into the elite program.
Kentucky Crafted is an adjudicated arts marketing assistance program that provides opportunities to Kentucky visual and craft artists through arts business training, networking, sales, exhibit and promotional opportunities. Adjudicated visual and craft artists become eligible to exhibit at The Kentucky Crafted Market, March 15-17, 2019, at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena in Lexington.
“It’s a tremendous validation of an artist to be selected for Kentucky Crafted, especially since I’m a self-starting artist,” Sriraman said. “I literally started painting in February 2017 and I’ve had a lot of feedback from friends who said I should apply. I was hesitant in the beginning, but I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’ The worst that could happen is that I’d get good constructive criticism on how to improve my application in the future.”
Sriraman was already familiar with the arts council’s jurying process, having been adjudicated into the Performing Artists Directory in 2013.
“I’m very grateful for the support and infrastructure the Kentucky Arts Council provides to artists here,” she said. “When I see the care the arts council takes with the adjudication process, I realize it’s all there for a reason. The arts council highlights the best in Kentucky art, and it’s a great honor to be included in that list.”
Teresa Webb is another relatively new artist who was juried into Kentucky Crafted. She creates unique dolls in her home-based studio in Berea. She agreed with Sriraman that there’s a validation in carrying the Kentucky Crafted brand.
“I’m no longer a hobbyist,” she said. “I can finally say I’m a maker.”
Webb is looking forward to joining the community of Kentucky’s finest visual and craft artists, and is interested in expanding her business.
“I would love to be able to contact someone and say, ‘I know you do woodworking, but how can what you’re doing relate to what I’m doing?’ I want to keep learning. It’s a whole new world. I want to learn from others so I can apply those lessons to my craft.”
The new Kentucky Crafted program artists are:
- Robert Bridges (Rob Bridges Illustration), Georgetown, painting
- Margaret Cooney (Cooney Pottery), Elizabethtown, ceramics
- Michelle Hayden (Michelle Hayden Fine Art), Richmond, sculpture
- Edward Lawrence (Zedz Press), Frankfort, photography
- Sharon Matisoff, Frankfort, painting
- David Neace, Nicholasville, painting
- Lakshmi Sriraman (Lakshmi’s Studio), Lexington, painting
- Teresa Webb (Worker Bee Sewing Co.), Berea, fiber art
- Mary Ann Woolery-Bussey (Blue Lick Hollow), Berea, fiber art
Applicants to the program must be visual or craft artists who have a well-developed body of work in any medium, full-time residents of Kentucky, and over the age of 18. For more information on the Kentucky Crafted program, contact Dave Blevins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-892-3120.