Stop 15. Berea Arts Council Gallery
The Berea Arts Council (BAC) was organized in 1986 to focus the resources of Berea College and Berea’s extensive arts community on the need for arts in the larger community. In 2014, the Arts Council relocated from College Square to a new space in Old Town Artisan Village in an historic building that was once the Berea Hotel in the days when the L&N Railroad ran passenger trains to Berea. Their gallery and retail space is open from 10 am to 4 pm MondaySaturday and for special evening events. They are ideally situated to take part in the First Friday celebrations that enliven Old Town Artisan Village from spring through December. They have many public events and receptions throughout the year, such as the Community Arts and Young at Art exhibits in May and the Original Art…Original Gifts exhibit in December. In August they sponsor the Quilt Extravaganza and the Quilts with a Kick exhibit, with workshops, a vendor’s mall, and activities at Berea Community School. They have an outreach program to the public library, where they showcase one local artist each month, and to Saint Joseph’s Hospital, where selected pieces from their exhibits remain on display for an extended period. They have watercolor classes, children’s art programs, and rotating exhibits. In 2003, the Arts Council undertook a public art project called “Show of Hands.” They invited local artists to submit designs for painting or embellishing six-foot fiberglass hands, and local businesses and nonprofits sponsored twelve hands. Mano a Mano, the colorful hand that was painted by Alfredo Escobar, was sponsored by members of the Arts Council and stands at the Art Council’s side entrance to welcome visitors. Gwen Childs, director of the Arts Council, says that the hands represent not only the handmade arts and crafts of Berea, but also the community’s willingness to lend a helping hand.