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Appetite for Art with Justin & Shannon Roberts

July 13, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Appetite for Art with Justin & Shannon Roberts

 In the Weeds, from Food Service to Sculpture: How one creative couple transformed their lives through Commitment and Community

Saturday, July 13

Josephine Sculpture Park Art Barn

Dinner 6:30pm to 7:30pm ($10 registration required; vegetarian option available)

Artist Talk 7:30pm to 8:30pm (no registration required)

Join JSP Artist in Residence, Justin Roberts, and his wife, Shannon Roberts, for their Appetite for Art dinner & artist talk! Hear their stories, listen and contribute to their ideas for their JSP installation, and learn how you can get involved in building the community sculpture! Shannon, Ron Whitehead and William S. Tribell will also share their art-inspired poetry.

Dinner Menu
Vegetarian Quiche, Grilled Chicken & Peppers, Green Salad, Watermelon Salad & Brownies


Artist Statement
As Kentucky folk-eco-artists, Shannon and I design our installations to be more than just as objects of beauty. They are functional. For our environment, they act as habitats, feeding grounds, and biofilters. For humans, they educate, inspire, and create space where the real and ethereal converge, live, and decay. We hope that our work encourages people to be stewards of the earth, and honor the mutualism between us all.

I never dreamed I’d be an artist. Growing up in Western Kentucky, my family and I lived as best we could. At nine years old, my guidance counselor diagnosed me with dyslexia and placed me in Special Education classes. Despite feeling misplaced, I graduated high school and began a twelve-year food service career. At that time in my life, I envisioned myself as a chef, cooking farm-to-table meals for people who appreciated the art of cooking but the reality of working in establishments with poor quality ingredients for cut-corner owners discouraged me.

That all changed in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, 2012. The smell of oil and dishwater clung to me as I walked through the door of our tiny, craftsman-style cottage. My five-year-old daughter, Zoe, nestled in her blanket, while my wife, Shannon, watched PBS. After scrubbing myself free of the restaurant, I joined her. Together we sat and viewed the documentary, “The Botany of Desire” based on a book by Michael Pollen. I had no idea this TV program would forever change the course of my life, but it did. When we turned off the TV, my mind raced, “I want to go into the woods and find something that nobody wants and turn it into something people desire” I said. To which my wife replied, “You’re crazy.”

The next Spring, tired of the Wal-Mart, throwaway culture, I committed to making my daughter’s Easter Basket. My friend’s Weeping Willow seemed to be the obvious choice. I snipped close to 100 whips of the willow and lined them up on our hardwood, living room floor. The smell of green filled the air and I set to work. Many hours later, I posted the basket to Facebook. The Director of the Murray Art Guild commented that I should seek out a man named George Beard. He was a master willow furniture craftsman and was eager to teach this lost art to any showing interest.

I found George living in a red-tin-roof house on a back-woods, river road. We talked for hours. I made my first chair near the end of April and four months later, my small family took residence in the Beard Home and remained there for nearly four years. Most of this time was spent in a wood-warmed studio behind his cottage-style house. George’s storytelling, and the things I learned from them, enriched my study and became an intricate part of my apprenticeship. At our first art show, the director of the local NPR station suggested we apply for the Kentucky Arts Council’s Folk and Traditional Art Apprentice Grant. My wife wrote the proposal and it was accepted. This was living the research. Immersing myself into his world gave me a greater understanding of the craft’s history and its current relevancy and brought me into a new world of

Coming from poverty and broken homes, Shannon and I strive to inspire those who feel as if they do not belong, those who wish to live in a way that abandons convention, and those who seek to see the beauty and divinity in each other and the natural world that inspires us all by design.

Thank you to our Sponsor:

Audubon supports Josephine Sculpture Park


July 13, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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