Author Archives: master

Stop 11. Frost Building

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The Frost Building, built in 1905, was originally a Carnegie Library. Berea College was one of the few private institutions to receive funding from the philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie donated $30,000 for the building in 1904. This was the same year that the Kentucky legislature passed the Day Law, which made the education of blacks and whites together illegal. The Day Law was aimed squarely at Berea College, which had been an interracial school since the end of the Civil War. Although the College took legal action to test the constitutionality of the law, the law was upheld and Berea College was forced to segregate. The Board decided to construct Lincoln Institute in Shelby County to serve as an all-black boarding school. Carnegie increased his gift by $200,000 to help fund the new campus.

Limestone for the Carnegie Library was quarried in Rockcastle County, sawed and rubbed to finish the surface. Bricks were manufactured at the College Brick Yard and laid by students. Flooring was made of maple and oak form the college forest. The temple portico, half columns, and Ionic capitals are in the classical, or Federalist, style. When the library moved into Hutchins Library in 1968, Frost Building became the home of the Departments of History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

Stop 10. Fee Glade & Together Sculpture

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The Fee Glade, a green space with winding paths, is designed for both personal contemplation and community gatherings. There are stones engraved with quotations from John G.Fee, Berea’s founder, and a copy of the Great Commitments of Berea College. The Glade reclaims a ravine formerly occupied by Berea’s utilities operations. Framing the east side of the picturesque John G. Fee Glade, the Legacy Wall features the names of more than 3,000 alumni and friends of Berea College, now departed, who included Berea in their estate plans. Tony Higdon and Erika Strecker were art consultants for the Fee Glade Park, designing, coordinating, and installing eleven stone and bronze details. They were also commissioned to create the twelve-foot bronze and stone sculpture, Together, which stands at the College Square entrance to the glade.

Berea College’s Motto: “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”

Stop 9. Log House Craft Gallery and Sunshine Ballard Weaving

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Built in 1916 of tulip poplar logs, Log House was originally called “Log Palace” because of its balconies, pediment, and columns. It is considered the birthplace of Student Crafts. At that time, weaving was the only craft program in what was known as the Berea Fireside Industries. Weaving looms were installed on the second floor, while the first floor served as a gallery for retail sales of the woven items produced as well as sales of other handmade Appalachian crafts, part of Berea College’s effort to strengthen the region’s economy. As student crafts expanded, Sunshine Ballard Cottage was built to house the weaving program. Today the Log House sells student-made crafts and high quality handmade crafts from all over the United States and houses the Wallace Nutting Furniture Museum. In the early 1900s, Nutting collected Early American and Colonial furniture and founded a company to manufacture reproductions. Nutting, who was a supporter of Berea College during his lifetime, bequeathed a collection of furniture and handtinted photographs to the college. Like many college buildings, the Log House had an ecomakeover in 2006 to reduce energy consumption while retaining its historic appearance.

Sunshine Ballard Cottage, also built of logs and wood shingles, is one of the most popular sites for visitors to Berea College, as visitors can walk right up to the looms and chat with the student workers as they weave. The plan is U-shaped with an irregular gable roof, gable dormers, and stone chimney. A low-lying effect is achieved by deep eaves and window lintels set under the eaves. Beginning weavers use hand looms, but the more advanced use a fly-shuttle loom to create the intricate patterns on baby blankets, placemats, rugs, and throws.

Stop 8. Art at Saint Joseph Hospital

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Art’s alive everywhere in Berea, even in the hospital! The art program at Saint Joseph Berea (SJB) Hospital, which began in 2009, is unique in several ways. The artwork is created by local artists with regional images that provide a sense of familiarity that provides comfort. Colors are carefully considered in line with the concept of an Optimal Healing Environment®. There are permanent installations and rotating exhibits in partnership with the local arts council, a wall of children’s artwork, and solo and group exhibits. Among the permanent installations are several pieces created by hospital staff working with the hospital’s artist-in-residence, Debra Hille. Hille not only coordinates the selection process and selection of the art purchased and engages staff in creating art; she also works with patients. She invites patients to try their hand at collage, rubbings, watercolor or other media. Patients say creating art helps to reduce their stress, and nurses report that being able to talk to patients about their artwork eases communication. Hille has created some of the artwork herself, including the sculpture of a hand holding a heart in front of the Heart and Vascular Center. This sculpture is a part of the Show Of Hands Public Art Project.

Stop 7. Student Crafts and Education Center

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The Student Craft Program at Berea College dates back to 1893. Dr. William G. Frost, third president of Berea College, rode through the Appalachian Mountains on horseback that summer to become better acquainted with the region. He observed the fine traditional crafts being produced, and he realized two things. One was that it was important that students at Berea College should not, as a result of their education, lose touch with their own heritage. The second was that the crafts being produced in Appalachian homesteads could provide a revenue stream for families beyond their usual income. The Student Craft Program today still has that dual goal – to preserve the skills and techniques of fine Appalachian craftsmanship and to generate income from the sale of student-created crafts. While you can observe students making crafts any day of the week at the Student Crafts on the Square (SCOTS), the actual production of student woodwork and broomcraft takes place in the Mueller Building. Weaving is in the Sunshine Ballard Cottage. Visitors are welcome at the production facility Monday-Friday from 8-5 as part of a student-led tour from the Visitor Center or as drop-ins. Click here for the tour schedule.

Woodworking includes traditional games like skittles and fine furniture, made to customer specifications. The Woodworking Program also produced the furniture in the guest rooms at Boone Tavern and for residency halls. Berea brooms are valued for their functionality as well as their artistry. The latest addition to the Student Craft Program is the Education Outreach Program located at the back of Mueller Building. Here visitors from casual drop-ins to organized school field trips can try their hand at weaving, broom making, ceramics, and simple jewelry making. The program is free and open to the public Monday-Friday.  Call the Visitor Center to schedule a tour – 859-985-3145. To learn more about the history of the Student Craft Program, click here.

Stop 6. Appalachian Center

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Named for Loyal Jones, founding director of Berea College’s Appalachian Center and a prolific writer about Appalachian culture and humor, the Appalachian Center presents an ongoing program of educational exhibits. The LJAC Gallery is the heart of the Center. Designed as a quickly transformable multifunctional space, it serves as visitor center, classroom, exhibition space, student hangout, theater, meeting room, and performance hall. The standing exhibit, on display since 2006 but changing constantly, is Explore Appalachia. Centered around a 12 foot square relief map of the region, the exhibit includes a thirty pound block of coal–the amount required to generate the average daily electrical usage of the typical American household; a map of all the places in Appalachia where energy is generated and fuels are extracted; information about the history, naming, and definition of Appalachia; and a little about Appalachian dialect. An interactive exhibit, built around a working 1979 Dolly Parton pinball machine, explores Appalachian identity and representation. The machine is available for free play during gallery hours, limit two games per patron per day. The LJAC Gallery is open to public visitors weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except when in use by classes, for special programs, and on Berea College Holidays. Housed in Stephenson Hall, the LJAC is partially powered by a 15,000-watt, 66 panel photovoltaic collection system installed in 2009.

Stop 5. College Square Sculptures

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Berea is synonymous with handmade crafts, so when the Berea Arts Council undertook a public art project in 2003, they decided that a “Show of Hands” would be an appropriate representation of the community. Carroll Hale, an art professor at Eastern Kentucky University, designed the 6-foot tall model for the sculpture, which was then cast in fiberglass by Phoenix Boats in Berea. Twelve hands were cast, and the Arts Council put out a request for artists to submit designs to paint them. A jurying process narrowed the field from the hundred + designs that were submitted, and then local businesses, non-profits, and individuals selected the designs they wanted to sponsor. Although the original plan was that the hands would be a temporary exhibit, they are so popular with local folks and visitors alike that most of them remain on public display. A group of three are clustered in College Square.

Along with the hands, College Square boasts two metal sculptures: a life-sized buffalo and an even larger griffin. Created by local blacksmith and metal artist, Bob Montgomery, the sculptures are feats of engineering as well as artistry. Montgomery does not cover the armatures of his sculptures. To him, armatures are more than a skeleton to be covered. He sees them as active energy fields, inviting people – particularly children – to interact with them. He often takes his sculpture to area schools or festivals, where students use their own creativity to decorate them. Berea College purchased these two for permanent exhibit.

Stop 4. Student Crafts on the Square (SCOTS)

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The Visitor Center and SCOTS, located in one large building on Main Street, provide the perfect introduction to Berea College. At the Visitor Center, you can watch historical videos and pick up brochures and other literature. It is the starting point for a 50 minute student-led walking tour that provides a historic overview of the College. In addition, they offer tours of the Student Crafts program including broomcraft, weaving, and woodcraft production areas where students produce handmade items sold in Student Crafts on the Square (SCOTS), Boone Tavern Hotel Gift Shop and the Log House Craft Gallery. Click here for the tour schedule.

At SCOTS, you can not only see (and purchase) the high quality crafts created by students but also watch them demonstrate and explain how they make the crafts. All students attend Berea College tuition-free and spend 15-20 hours per week in the Labor Program, which includes the Students Crafts Program. The dignity of labor is one of the cornerstones of Berea College.

Stop 3. Union Church

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The congregation of Union Church was founded in 1853 by John G. Fee, who was its first pastor. From the beginning, Union Church, has followed an inclusive Christian tradition with an emphasis on the dignity and worth of all people. Begun as an abolitionist and religious witness in a slave-holding state, the congregation values and embraces diversity, attracting persons with a broad spectrum of beliefs. The Dalai Lama spoke during worship services when visiting Berea in 1994. Although Union is no longer the Berea College church, ties between the college and the church remain strong. In 1920, when the congregation undertook the construction of its present building, Berea College donated the land and 40% of the construction funds. The raised Doric temple portico in the Greek Revival style adds elegance to the brick structure.

The arts play an important role in worship at Union Church. A Steiner organ was installed in 1977, and since the 1950s handbell choirs have been added to vocal choirs. The Peace Bell, created by local potter, Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998), rings each Sunday. A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Kiyosato, Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations. Local fabric artists, notably Mildred Sticker and Virginia Piland (whose work has graced the National Cathedral) provided banners and frontals that are changed seasonally. Among Piland’s donations is a triptych of quilts representing Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and the embracing nature of this church. The chandeliers were made by local blacksmith Bob Montgomery, and local glassblower, Michelle Weston. Among the interesting paintings in the church’s collection is one created by local artist, Alfredo Escobar, during a sermon about the many faces of God. Another artistic treasure is the series of six stained glass windows in the Cowan Chapel. Created by Lisa Ann Hillerich, they represent Creation, Recreation/Incarnation, Exodus, Christ on the Cross, Prophets, and Pentecost. The chapel is open for meditation each morning. Rotating exhibits include the art created by members and youth groups on retreats.

Stop 2. Boone Tavern

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By 1909, Berea College was attracting so many visitors (300 in one summer!) that Nellie Frost, wife of the College president, suggested that a guest house was needed to accommodate visitors. The original Boone Tavern was a two-story building with 25 guest rooms, built by the College Woodwork Department of College-manufactured bricks and furnished with College-made cherry furniture. A series of renovations expanded the hotel, adding stately entrances and modernizing the rooms and furnishings. In 1992, Boone Tavern was designated a “Historic Hotel of America” and in 1996 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The tavern underwent an $11.3 million full-scale renovation during 2008 to 2009 to make significant upgrades to the building’s infrastructure, improve efficiency and lower operating costs. The overarching principle for the renovation was to maintain Boone Tavern’s historic character while creating a green hotel for the 21st century, and to do so in the most environmentally responsible way. As a result, Boone Tavern was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky as well as the Appalachian region, and one of 21 LEED Gold or Platinum hotels in America. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is the nation’s preeminent certification program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

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