Kentucky artist Lacy Hale leads art camp
Published 1:11 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023
During the week of April 3-7, the Art Center of the Bluegrass hosted award-winning Kentucky artist Lacy Hale as she mentored six young Danville women to create art that reflected their identities, their sense of place, and social issues that were meaningful to them.
This residency partnership introduced students to the ancient artistic medium of block printing while empowering these young women in self-expression and identity.
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Hale, a southeastern Kentucky native, knew from age five that she wanted to be an artist. At 18 she attended the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, New York before returning to southern Kentucky to pursue her professional artistic career.
Hale has exhibited her art widely around the country. Her work was included in a traveling Smithsonian exhibit in 2012 and has earned her many awards including the 2016 Tanne Foundation Award, the 2018 Eastern Kentucky Artist Impact Award, and the 2021 Appalachian Artist of the Year.
Her murals can be found throughout the states of Kentucky and Virginia, and her “No Hate in My Holler” slogan and design are featured on shirts and prints around the world. Her works have been mentioned in Time magazine and purchased by celebrities including Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Ishmael Butler.
During the spring break residency with the Art Center, six local youths worked with Hale to learn the history and technical skills of block printing. Their finished blocks were approximately 11-by-14-inch allowing the images to be produced on posters and t-shirts and can be viewed in the Youth Art Show at the Art Center through the end of June.
“The history of block printing is thought to be nearly 4,000 years old, dating back to China,” Hale said.
“Throughout its long history, people have used it to bring books, disseminate information, print on fabric, etc. In more recent years it has become an approachable artistic medium for persons of nearly any age or background. Personally, coming from a feminist punk DIY aesthetic, I love teaching block printing to youth. It’s a technique that always results in a finished product that looks ‘cool.’ It also puts the power of duplication in the hands of these young people.”
Hale says that her “No Hate in My Holler” print has been her biggest-selling item and probably the one she is best known for.
“I have printed the design on thousands of tees, sold hundreds of prints, seen it on protest signs in the news, and it has been put on two different billboards,” she said. “I believe that teaching young folks about the power that art holds and teaching them the techniques to make pieces that speak to social change, is the way that we change the world.”
Hale was featured in the Art Center’s exhibition Appalachia from the Inside: Celebrating the Art and Culture of Kentucky’s Appalachia (2022). She was commissioned along with other Appalachian artists to create works for the show. Her art responded to two pieces from the permanent collection of the KY Folk Art Center. Upon seeing her work and reading her artist statement, the idea for her residency at the Art Center was born, continuing the collaboration with her and inspiring local young people to use art to improve their communities.
The camp was subsidized for participants, thanks to a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
To learn more about camps offered at the Art Center of the Bluegrass, visit, artcenterky.org.