Art History

Minnie Adkins exhibit at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead | Pro Club Bd

A special exhibit of carvings by Kentucky folk artist Minnie Adkins is on view at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead.

A special exhibit of carvings by Kentucky folk artist Minnie Adkins is on view at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead.

When summer gives way to a new school year, the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead has an exhibit that could be a fun outing for the family.

Featuring hundreds of characters carved by the Isonville artist to illustrate books by author Mike Norris, Minnie Adkins: Story Carvings opened in mid-July and runs through September 9 at the Center, 102 W. First St. in Morehead.

Norris and Adkins’ collaboration began by chance when they met in 1992 at Center College in Danville, where Norris was the college’s longtime communications director. Adkins was on campus to accept an award, and Norris shared a CD by his group, the Raggedy Robin String Band, with Adkins. She was drawn to a tune called “Bright Blue Rooster” and sent Norris a carving she made of the title character as a thank you.

The rest is history, which you can now see at the revived Folk Art Center.

The Bright Blue Rooster was the titular animal and became Adkins’ signature creation. But right off the bat, Adkins had more characters in mind like a three-legged pig, an uncounted dog, and a worn-out tractor, among many more characters for Adkins to carve. Five years later they published their first book, Bright Blue Rooster (Down on the Farm) and they have since collaborated on three other books: Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains, Sonny the Monkey and Ring Around. the moon.”

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The carvings on display in Morehead by Kentucky folk artist Minnie Adkins were made to illustrate books by author Mike Norris. David Moore

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The Minnie Adkins exhibit at the Kentucky Folk Art Center will be on view through September 9th. David Moore

While they have appeared in books, most of the pieces are on public display for the first time in Story Carvings. Adkins’ work is part of the permanent collection of the Folk Art Center.

“Minnie Adkins’ artwork is fundamental to the Kentucky Folk Art Center’s permanent collection,” said Dr. Julia Finch, assistant professor of art history at Morehead State University and interim director of KFAC, in a press release. “Her collaboration with Mike Norris is an example of how storytelling in the Appalachian Mountains can take various forms, including visual storytelling, oral storytelling, and musical storytelling.

“We are delighted to share this exhibition, which is a testament to their mutual inspiration and collaboration, as well as the traditions of folk art that are at the root of both artists’ work.”

The folk art center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit or call 606-783-2204 for more information.

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The Minnie Adkins exhibit includes a handmade quilt. Adkins created characters for Mike Norris’ books including Bright Blue Rooster, Ring Around the Moon and Sonny the Monkey. David Moore

More Award-Winning Poems from Lexington

You may have heard that Lexington-based poetry is all the rage these days. Our own Ada Limón was named US Poet Laureate, and Crystal Wilkinson is the Kentucky Poet Laureate. Both have also recently published critically acclaimed books – Limón’s The Hurting Kind and Wilkinson’s Perfect Black – and host popular podcasts on poetry, words and creativity – Limón’s The Slowdown by American Public Media and The Poetry Foundation and Wilkinson “Words for the People” by Louisville Public Media.

Here’s another award-winning Lexington poet we first told you about last year that now has something good for you to read. Last year, Danni Quintos won the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, which included the publication of her first anthology of poetry. Out now, Two Brown Dots has been hailed by outlets including The Southern Review of Books and Publishers Weekly, which states, “There is a wide-eyed consciousness that elevates life’s ordinary moments to something transcendent and powerful .” review. In Motherhood, Literature & Art, Laura Dennis writes that the book is particularly relevant for this summer, when decisions and laws remind us that the female body is under “constant control.” “This collection… explores what it means to live in a biracial female body, and the desire to belong, to find one’s place.”

You still have time to add Two Brown Dots to your summer reading.

Future award winners?

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning is ready to give us a glimpse of who Kentucky’s next Danni Quintos — or Limon or Wilkinson — will be with its Youth Poet Laureate Chapter. The program, a partnership with Urban Word NYC and the Kentucky Arts Council, “is designed to honor young writers and leaders in Kentucky (ages 13-18) who are committed to making a community impact through community involvement and the power of their words to take,” the Carnegie Center said in a statement.

Applications are open August 1 through October 31, and the Lexington Youth Poet Laureate will be announced in December. Apply at

Rich Copley is a former arts writer and editor of the Herald-Leader who is now a Lexington-based multimedia producer. He is the proud owner of a Minnie Adkins rooster.

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