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Young artists off to a solid foundation in the community

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Chiseling out a niche for the city park

By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - What better way to promote art’s future in the community than with a junior arts council?

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And what better way to promote that council than to give them a community project to create?

The Junior Artists of Bullitt County gathered at a summer camp to begin work on a sculpting project that will be displayed at the Shepherdsville City Park.

Nine JABC members visited the workshop residence of Bullitt East art instructor Jason Kelty, where they began a project of designing and sculpting nine stones that spell “SALT RIVER.”

Pleasant Grove Elementary art instructor Stacena Bohannon serves as the JABC adult coordinator. She referred to the group as a junior version of the established Bullitt County Arts Council.

Bohannon said Shepherdsville mayor Scott Ellis approved the placement of the JABC’s final project near the river, in the city park, for everyone to view.

“The kids have a passion for art and they get to share it with the community,” Bohannon said.

Students were referred to the group by their school’s art teachers. The members came from Lebanon Junction, Maryville, Old Mill and Pleasant Grove Elementary.

JABC members include president Ella Bewley and vice-president Peyton Isenberg, along with Tre Arms, Will Bewley, John Blake, Jonah Blake, Joanna Kelty, Will Kelty and Jenna Tipton.

Bohannon discussed the project with Kelty during a BCAC meeting at Small Town Art Gallery in Brooks. She informed Kelty, who specializes in sculptures, that the students were interested in that type of project.

“I’m working on the ‘E’,” said Will Bewley. “We learned all the tools - the fork, cape and the point. We sketched our ideas on Monday and each picked a letter.”

Ella Bewley said she has learned that it takes time, and patience, to properly carve a stone.

Bohannon said Kelty walked with students through the park, discussing the area’s geography and habitat to help them brainstorm ideas.

“Some thought of the local nature and then worked that into the design of the letter,” said Amanda Kelty, Jason’s wife. “(The carvings) look like letters but with some abstract details.”

From there students designed ideas into drawings and sketched them onto their stones. They spent the rest of the week carving.

“We’re gonna make history,” said student Joanna Kelty, who was excited and amazed about the public display opportunity.

As Ella said, the work takes time. Bohannon said students will gather each week over the summer to complete their work. She said the display should be ready for public viewing this fall.

“The students learn a new appreciation for art,” Jason Kelty said. “It’s not easily done.”

Kelty invited Bullitt East art students to the camp to help JABC students with their works.

The JABC project was funded in part through A Plus Signs and Screen Printing in Shepherdsville.

Meanwhile, JABC members are creating hand-drawn postcards for public purchase as an organization fundraiser. Anyone interested in purchasing cards may contact Bohannon, (502)797-1353.

The Bullitt County Arts Council will meet Friday, Aug. 1, 6:30 p.m., at Small Town Art Gallery on Coral Ridge Road in Brooks. For more information visit the BCAC Facebook page.