When a Paducah business is faced with blank walls and plain paint, what’s the logical next step? Paducah ART.
When you live in a UNESCO creative city, the obvious approach to corporate décor is to portray the very artistry that your community is renowned for to make an artistic statement that is not only your own but that of your own hometown. Charity, and art, starts at home, right?
Right, said the members of Keuler, Kelly, Hutchins and Blankenship (KKHB), who set out to establish an atmosphere at their downtown Paducah firm that created a feeling of both beauty and familiarity. And what better way to encompass those elements than the work of local artists. “We wanted a less traditional, stuffy feel to our offices,” said partner Stacey Blankenship. “We asked Chad Beyer of i5 Design Group to help us create that atmosphere and one of his first suggestions was to curate a collection of Paducah art and we loved that idea. We welcome an eclectic group of people into our offices each day, from corporate executives to government officials to senior citizens. We think this type of environment makes each of those unique constituencies feel at ease and welcomed.”
Byers’ relationship with Paul Aho, dean of the Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD) provided an opportunity for the firm to hire art students to visually share their perspectives of the many iconic landmarks around the city. The photos were digitally manipulated to create a painterly effect that has helped to establish a creative and eclectic look for the firm’s offices.
“We loved the idea of supporting our local art school to achieve the look we wanted,” Blankenship says. “When I was a kid I remember downtown as an exciting place to be and these local images reflect all the ways that downtown business has come back to life.”
A number of the photos taken by PSAD student Phyllis Russell offer an original perspective on familiar Paducah architecture and industry. Other students’ pieces highlight Paducah’s historic figures, such as the collage created by PSAD student photographer Frank Rasche. The collage gives a nod to Paducah’s most famous residents, including former Vice President and Paducah attorney Alben Barkley, and satirist and author Irvin Cobb.
While KKHB’s artistic transformation is recent, their dedication to local art is shared by a number of other local businesses that have tapped into Paducah’s vibrant art scene to furnish their offices with original work, produced by the people who live and create in this community.
A walk through any one of Paducah Bank’s locations will showcase the work of a variety of local artists. While bringing local art into a corporate space can sometimes be more costly, many in the business community believe it’s worth the investment.
“We are proud of Paducah,” says Paducah Bank president Mardie Herndon. “Supporting the arts has always been a meaningful connection with our local community. It is a privilege to provide our employees and clients with visual expressions that support local artists, celebrate our creativity and highlight the treasures of our community.”
Local art can also be found in some of the community’s non-profit organizations, including Baptist Health Paducah. The hospital has focused much of its décor on images produced by Paducah artists. These works bring healing and comfort to those who venture through the hospital’s Visual Arts Tour, which invites patients and their families to absorb these beautiful healing images. “Baptist Health Paducah has a long commitment to the arts, especially the local arts, both performing and visual,” president Bill Brown says. “We believe exposure to the arts enhances the healing atmosphere for our patients, their families and caregivers. Hearing or seeing something beautiful soothes and lifts the spirits, an important part of our overall mission to improve the health of those we are privileged to serve.”
Works of art most certainly can become art at work.