On June 6, 1933, the first drive-in movie theater opened. Eighty years later, Kentuck has used this idea as inspiration for its monthly Art Night to be held Thursday, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Courtyard of Wonders.
After a colony of bats made Kentuck’s main building its home, the staff at Kentuck began to think outside the box for ways they could continue to host Art Night each month without the use of their main building.
“We were looking for a theme, and the first thing we thought of was to see what happened on that day in history,” Michaela Lewellyn Humpal, program manager for Kentuck said. “We ran with the theme of this day in history and pop culture.”
During Art Night, there will be an outdoor screen set up that will loop vintage intermission ads and a drive-in themed photobooth set up for guests to use.
“Our hope is to engage people to have their pictures taken, and we’ll post them on Facebook,” Humpal said.
Additionally, Kentuck will be serving cob oven pizza, made with fresh dough from Mary’s Cakes & Pastries and local produce from Homegrown Alabama farmers market.
Each Art Night, the Clay Place selects two members to present their work, and Kay Smith and Robert Lewis were chosen for June.
Smith said she likes to incorporate elements from nature into her work whenever possible. She will be sharing mostly hand-built pieces, but she will also show thrown pieces during Art Night.
Smith was introduced to clay during her senior year in high school through art club but did not have the opportunity to work with it on a consistent basis until she took a job with a tile production company. After Smith retired four years ago, she took a class from local potter Kerry Kennedy to learn how to throw, and a year later, Kentuck opened its Clay Co-Op as a community studio.
“I immediately joined and continue to enjoy creating art from clay,” Smith said. “I look forward to meeting our guests and speaking with them at art night.”
This will be Lewis’ first independent showcase with Kentuck, only having shown once prior at the Kentuck Festival in 2007 as a part of the Crimson Ceramic Society.
Lewis works in several different artistic disciplines, including ceramics, printmaking and painting, and will be showing ceramic pieces at Art Night.
Lewis said he has a spiritual inspiration for most of his creations, and he will be demonstrating the coil method of constructing a clay vessel.
“I anticipate that this will be a great opportunity to share my art with others,” Lewis said. “Kentuck is a wonderful organization of which I am proud to be a member.”
In addition to the vintage intermission ads being looped, cob oven pizza, the drive-in inspired photobooth and the ceramic art being shown, George McLaurine will be the musical guest.
McLaurine has been playing Art Night regularly for the last seven years and said his music is a mixture of traditional folk, old-time gospel standards through the years, country, bluegrass and blues.
McLaurine said live music can be directed and changed at will, depending on the audience, so he doesn’t prepare a program beforehand.
“It is fun, and it is challenging and it is very rewarding when people leave with a smile on their face,” McLaurine said. “Art Night is a personal but shared experience.”
Humpal said because of the closing of the gallery space, the staff will continue to come up with ways to host Art Night until they can get back into the other building.
“We’re going to play with these ideas of ‘what is art’ until we get back into our main building,” Humpal said. “We want people to come and mingle and celebrate art in all of its different forms.”