Arts & Culture

Kentucky Historical Society Affiliating with Smithsonian

Jun 26, 2013
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The Kentucky Historical Society is forming a new relationship with the Smithsonian Institution.

Historical Society officials say the affiliation will provide opportunities for innovative collaborations and will help secure the loan of Smithsonian artifacts and traveling exhibitions. The affiliation is to be announced on Saturday evening by Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations.

That announcement will be part of the Historical Society's annual Boone Day celebration.

There are currently 177 Smithsonian affiliates in 42 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Affiliation provides enhanced access to the more than 136 million objects in the Smithsonian collections, as well as the knowledge and experience of the scholars and experts at the Smithsonian.

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations.

Kevin Willis

Dr. Ching-Yi Lin of Bowling Green received a Jefferson Award Tuesday in Washington.

Dr. Lin, a world-class violinist, was recognized for sharing her talent within the community by serving as the director of the WKU pre-college strings program. That program has about 70 children between four and 18 years old studying the violin, viola and cello. Besides giving performances at area schools, her students also perform at local retirement homes, charities and businesses.

The Jefferson Award is given to exceptional Americans who strive to make their communities better and stronger. Recipients are nominated from throughout the country.

Besides leading the pre-college strings program, Dr. Lin is assistant professor of violin at WKU and Concertmaster of the Symphony at WKU.

When I first stumbled across the photographs of Bobbie Hanvey, I thought I had found an undiscovered master — perhaps another sort of Vivian Maier. My heart skipped a beat. But when I dug a little deeper, I realized that he was quite well-known in Northern Ireland, where he has been documenting the culture in photos and audio for more than 35 years. Only recently, however, has his work become available to a wider audience.

Governor Steve Beshear has named a longtime tourism veteran to oversee the part of his cabinet dealing with travel and the arts.

Bob Stewart is a familiar face in state government, having worked for 11 years as commissioner of travel from 1992 to 2003.

And now, he'll be the new Tourism Secretary, having been appointed by Beshear to fill the post vacated by Marcheta Sparrow, who’s retiring.

Stewart is starting work for his fourth governor, having previously served under Brereton Jones, Martha Layne Collins and Julian Carroll. He's either played roles in tourism or worked as an executive assistant for those governors.

Stewart begins June 1.

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is bringing musician Darius Rucker to Bowling Green this summer.  The pop-turned-country artist will headline The Sounds of Independence Music Festival on July 27th.  SKyPAC Executive Director Tom Tomlinson believes Rucker will be a big regional draw.

"I think without a doubt he's one of the biggest names to appear here in a number of years," says Tomlinson.  "He's at least one of the biggest names we've brought here since the opening night with Vince Gill."

The downtown music festival will be a fundraiser for SKYyPAC.  Tickets go on sale Friday to the general public.  The festival will be held outside the SKYyPAC facility and will feature a number of artists, including Justin Rivers from this season of "The Voice."

Former Congressman Ben Chandler will be the new executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council. 

The non-profit group is not affiliated with the state, but works closely with state tourism and arts organizations. It is affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"Well when I found out that [current director] Virginia Carter was retiring I actually sought out the position because it was a wonderful, unique opportunity for me to do the thing that I love, which is to promote my state, promote the culture, the tradition, the history, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," he says.

Chandler will officially start July 1, as the current executive director transitions to retirement. Chandler says he sought out the new post because of his love for the state and its humanities. The new job will be full-time, and Chandler says he will be involved in the day to day operations of the council.

Speed Art Museum Gets $18 Million for Expansion

May 7, 2013

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville could complete its expansion and renovation five to 10 years early thanks to an $18 million donation.

The Courier-Journal reports work already has begun the project that will double the exhibition space and dramatically change the look of Kentucky's largest museum.

The new donation comes from the family of Brown-Forman Chairman Owsley Brown II. Before Brown's death in 2011, he served as chairman of the museum's building committee and honorary chairman of the capital campaign, which was raising money for the expansion.

Museum board president Allan Latts said the donation will allow the museum to shave $20 million off the project's original $79 million budget because of the lower cost of materials and labor.

The mint julep stands proud as the beverage known as Kentucky's signature drink. Unless you're new to the area or haven't been paying attention, you know the julep is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby.

What you might not know, however, is that the mint julep's history traces back to a rose water drink in the Middle East.

WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis in 2010 visited the famous Seelbach Hotel in Louisville to learn the history and proper preparation of the famous drink. Cole Phelps, who at the time served as the head bartender at Max's Bar on the hotel's second floor shared his favorite recipe for drink:

George Jones, Country Superstar, has Died at 81

Apr 26, 2013

George Jones, the peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaking classic He Stopped Loving Her Today, has died. He was 81.

Publicist Kirt Webster says Jones died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after being hospitalized with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Known for his clenched, precise baritone, Jones had No. 1 songs in five separate decades, 1950s to 1990s, and was idolized not just by fellow country singers, but by Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and countless others.

In a career that lasted more than 50 years, Possum recorded more than 150 albums and became the champion and symbol of traditional country music, a well-lined link to his hero, Hank Williams.

Bob Edwards has a voice familiar to many public radio fans. The Louisville native was for many years NPR's Morning Edition anchor. Edwards is also an author, and he'll appear Saturday, April 20, in Bowling Green to sign copies of his new book A Voice In The Box: My Life in Radio at the 2013 Southern Kentucky Book Festival.

Joe Corcoran recently spoke to Edwards about his new book.

Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history.

Kevin Willis

Michael Veach is a man who knows his bourbon. Not just because he enjoys Kentucky's signature spirit, but because he's also one of the nation's foremost bourbon historians.

Veach is associate curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, and the author of the new book Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Tradition. In his recent interview with WKU Public Radio, Veach told us about the many tall tales he had to debunk surrounding the history of bourbon.

Here are a few web audio extras featuring Veach that we didn't have time to include in the interview we aired this week:

www.chanticleer.org

The world-renowned choral ensemble Chanticleer is coming to Western Kentucky University Thursday evening as part of the school's Cultural Enhancement Series. The performance is at 7:30pm C.T. at Van Meter Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

The group will perform a program called The Siren's Call. This program celebrates the sea with music from New Zealand, Hawaii and China complemented by Chanticleer's signature treatments of Gregorian Chant and Renaissance music.

WKU Public Radio's Lee Stott spoke with Jace Wittig, Chanticleer's Music Director, about the group and its April 11 performance in Bowling Green.

Annette Funicello, who was one of the first child stars to emerge out of The Mickey Mouse Club, has died, the official Disney Fan Club reports.

Kevin Willis

It's a golden era for Kentucky's signature spirit. Bourbon has never been more popular in the U.S. or throughout the world. Bourbon's colorful history is shrouded in mystery, with a lot of tall tales and legends popping up throughout the years.

Michael Veach put bourbon under the microscope and put his skills as an historian to work in his new book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage. Veach is the associate curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville.

He spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis about how the term "bourbon" first became applied to Kentucky whiskey, where the idea of charring barrels came from, and who we should thank for the current popularity of bourbon:

There are a lot of legends surrounding bourbon that you have to debunk as an historian looking into the origins of Kentucky’s famous whiskey. One of those legends is that bourbon is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. What did you find out?

“You know, I would love to have been able to prove that bourbon was named after Bourbon County, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized I just couldn’t do that.”

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