The Paducah/Stockholm creative connection is a direct result of PAA’s Artist-in-Residency Program. Stockholm resident Maria Safronova was the May/June 2015 participant in the city-sponsored Program, spending 30 days working and collaborating with Paducah artists. Upon returning to Stockholm, Safronova’s enthusiasm for Paducah and emotional bond with its artists endured. She pitched PAA for exhibition and workshop opportunities in Stockholm. Her efforts proved successful when artist/curator Ludmila Christeseva, founder at Artten, agreed to host an exhibition.
Artten is an exhibition space–featuring a cozy yard and enchanting tunnels–situated in an historic building dating back to 1882. The PAA exhibit will encompass two rooms (approximately 650 sq. feet) of space. Contemporary artists, curators, art critics and the public will be invited, as well as students from the Swedish art schools
“My colleague Ekaterina Kalinina and I started Artten as a response to a rather urgent problem of the deficit of exhibition platforms in Stockholm and also the bureaucratic character of the existing ones,” said Christeseva. “Hence we founded Artten in order to provide possibilities for the artists to publicly exhibit their artistic research and practices as well as introduce Stockholm audience to cutting-edge art that rarely fits the frames of commercial or well-established galleries.”
Christeseva believes that Made in the USA is a perfect fit for this unique cultural exchange. “Hosting Paducah artists in our gallery feels like a very important relationship to tie on the way to our goal. We believe there will be a lot to gain from the given cultural exchange we just initiated.”
The Paducah Artist-in-Residence Program was one of the components that influenced the Paducah’s application for membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The Program was established to promote the growth of individual artists through education and outreach programs and to enhance Paducah’s identity as an art community.
“The City’s Artist Relocation Program brought artists from all over the United States to Paducah. Many came from bigger cities that had well-established connections in the art world,“ notes Freda Fairchild, PAA chair. PAA’s Artist-in-Residence Program was established to connect cultures and bring the bigger world to Paducah. “It helps feed our creativity and enriches the people who come here.”
PAA’s residency program was the catalyst for another opportunity for Paducah artists travel abroad. In April 2013, five Kentucky artists exhibited their work at the Imperial Palace at Innsbruck, Austria, as part of Project WIDE WEST. Residency program participant Elisabeth Melkonyan, fiber artists and curator at a gallery in Innsbruck, facilitated Paducah’s cultural exchange with Austria.
Paducah artists and their artwork represented in Artten’s Made in the USA exhibit include: Freda Fairchild, silk and metal garment-inspired art; Mitch Kimball, ceramics; Shand Stamper, jewelry and metal vessels, Paul Lorenz, ink paintings on paper; Randy Simmons, charcoal drawings; Nikki D. May, mixed media on paper; Stefanie Graves, watercolor paintings; and David Lucht, batik, fabric pieces. Fairchild, Kimball, Stamper and Lorenz will be in Stockholm for the opening and assist in the installation.
For more information or an interview about Paducah’s participation in this Paducah/Stockholm, Sweden, cultural exchange, contact Rosemarie Steele, email Freda Fairchild or call her at 270.519.2341. Ludmila Christeseva may be reached via email.