Interview with Marilyn Moosnick Part I

Kentucky Historical Society

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0:32 - Early education / family life / working for WLEX / selling antiques

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Keywords: antiques; Health; Journalism; Lexington (KY); Lexington Leader newspaper; Transylvania College; Transylvania University; University of Kentucky; WLEX

4:44 - Serving on boards for different arts organizations / forming the Lexington Arts Council / Kentucky Arts Council

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Keywords: Anita Baker; Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra; education; Faye Porter; Julian Carroll; Kentucky Arts Council; Lexington Art League; Lexington Arts Council; Lexington Children's Theater; Lexington Leader; Living Arts and Science Center; Marie Hochstrasser

11:48 - Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen / Appreciating craftwork as art

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Keywords: art fair; Berea (KY); Kentucky Arts Council; Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen; Lila Bellando; Richard Bellando

20:29 - Changing climate of arts and craft support in the Kentucky

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Keywords: Berea (KY); Bloomingdale's; Bybee Pottery; Churchill Weavers; Crit Luallen; John Y. Brown; Julian Carroll; Kentucky Artisan Center; Kentucky Arts Council; LexArts; Louisville (KY); Mike Moloney; Phyllis George; politics

33:00 - Art fairs including out of state artists (and out of state patrons)

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Keywords: art fair; Lexington (KY); Louisville (KY); Saint James Art Fair; Woodland Fair

36:07 - Violinist Nathan Cole / LexArts / Fundraising

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Keywords: Bingham; Brown; Chamber music; Chicago Symphony; George Headley; Headley Whitney Museum; Kentucky Arts Council; LexArts; Louisville (KY); Nathan Cole; Thoroughbred Industry; University of Kentucky; Violinist; Whitney Museum

45:00 - Future of arts and crafts in Kentucky

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Keywords: LexArts; Liberalism; Mike Moloney; National Endowment for the Arts; politics


MOOSNICK: This is Greg Willihnganz, interviewing Marilyn Moosnick at Susan Goldstein’s house in Lexington, Kentucky, for the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association. It is Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. So Marilyn, let me, let me ask you some questions here in terms of your history here. Can you, in one sentence more or less, give me a description of what your career has been?

MOOSNICK: My career has been varied. I began my adult life I guess you’d say, post college life as a newspaper reporter. I majored in journalism at the University of Kentucky and the School of Journalism then, now communications and 1:00so forth, and went to work the week after graduation at the Lexington Leader…then a separate paper from the Herald, and that was in 1952. So in 1952, I began to report, first of all, the health and welfare world in Lexington and Fayette County. And then after a couple of years, I went to the education beat on the Leader, and in education I really found my right place because I was covering the University…Transylvania College at the time…University now. And a lot of education opportunities and things that were going on, and beginning to happen in Kentucky, as well as the public school system here. So, 2:00that was my beginning, and when I started to have…when I married and had children, one right after the other, and four of them, I had to leave the paper because it really required a full time person, and I just wasn’t going to be able to be a full time person. So I had a…had a period there where my career was children and then…

WILLIHNGANZ: Could I ask you one quick thing, trivial thing but, I’m wondering if you could take your bracelets off?

MOOSNICK: I was wondering that. I was wondering.

WILLIHNGANZ: Thank you so much. That’s fine.

MOOSNICK: Will they be out of the picture later.?

WILLIHNGANZ: They won’t show at all, that’s okay.

MOOSNICK: Jingle, jangle…

WILLIHNGANZ: So you gave up your job?

MOOSNICK: I gave up my job and had all these wonderful children who are still wonderful. And then, because I had done a lot of interviews, like you’re doing today, for the paper, the manager…the general manager of WLEX TV called 3:00me just shortly after I had…had really got the fourth one out of diapers, and asked if I’d be interested in coming to do an interview show…weekly show on WLEX. So, that began a twenty-eight year period, twenty-eight years of weekly shows that gave me the opportunity to have literally…have anybody and everybody who was doing something new and special in Lexington and Fayette County. It was…it was anybody who was into doing something very, very special in their lives, in his or her life that was different and leading to something really wonderful for the community. So, I had a great time for all those years 4:00and…and then later in life I got to pursue my lifelong love of antiques, with going into business with one of my best friends in the world, to sell antiques in various [unintelligible] antique booths here in Lexington, and over in Midway, Kentucky. And so, it was only at about 2000, about the turn of the century, that I really stopped doing anything except just supporting all the stuff that was going on. So that’s my story.

WILLIHNGANZ: Tell me about your relationship with the various art organizations and associations?

MOOSNICK: Well it’s…goes way, way back.

WILLIHNGANZ: Take it all the way back.

MOOSNICK: Alright. I guess I was…I was just into the…more or less the end 5:00of my time at the Lexington Leader, when…and I had been covering as I told you a lot of different youth arts things, because they had to do with education of our young people. So, the board of the Lexington or Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra called to ask you-- you know, if I would become a board member and I started a life long…a life long job of being on boards. And, that being the first, which lead to then my going to the board of the Lexington Children’s Theatre, and ultimately becoming president of that. And from there onto the Living Arts and Science Center Board in its very beginning times, when it was just really getting going full steam, with James Sidleman, the wonderful 6:00creative director and the very…the…the creator of the Lexington…the Living Arts and Science Center. Because he just brought it from nothing into full flowering, so I enjoyed very much being on that board, and I became president of that board. And, about that time I really began to realize with a…several different people, probably one of whom you’ll have interviewed or will interview, Marie Hochstrasser, who with…along with a woman named Fay Porter, and another friend Anita Baker, began to talk of forming a Lexington Arts Council, which we did with a great deal of excitement and a lot of people taking 7:00part, because what we wanted to make of it was a whole arts consensus building and cooperative, and I guess you would say just a putting together of all, of the people who were involved in the arts in Lexington…the artists themselves and the boards that supported them. And so, we formed this wonderful arts council as a way to keep the arts groups from stepping on each other’s toes when they were…when they were having their wonderful annual fairs, and programs, and all of their ser…you know winter series of…of events, and that kind of thing. So, we really formed…formed it to give them the ability to 8:00give and take with each other, their dates, and their performance venues, and all of that sort of thing, collaborating in a lot of ways, and it began about 1972. That was about the beginning of it. All through the 60’s we were all busily engaged in building individual arts entities, but it was the 70’s that really brought us into a period where they could cooperate with one another and…and do collaborative things, and think in a bigger picture then, each within itself. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?


MOOSNICK: So it was…it was those years in the 70’s that really brought us all within, you know, in speaking…speaking acquaintanceship with each other. During the 60’s we formed the Lexington Ballet Company, which still exists 9:00with another off-shoed ballet company in existence, and we still have the two of them at this point. It began a time when the…that wonderful Kentucky Youth Orchestra became officially two orchestras, and then now three orchestras, and they have full schedules…all three of them…really developing young musicians in a wonderful way. We just, we’ve come along way since those days and through…through the next two decades, the 80’s and the 90’s. Everyone became more proficient in fundraising, more proficient in doing things more professionally, doing their bookkeeping professionally, their fundraising more professionally, and certainly increasing their skills…their artistic skills. The Lexington Art League has been coming on along all this way, and they’ve 10:00always been interested in working with children in the schools, and students of all ages, and they…they still are doing that. So, that’s really been the whole beginning of, I would say, all of them, all of the arts entities, and certainly the beginning of my deep involvement with the arts. And somewhere along there, let’s see, it was 1975, I was invited to…by the governor…the then governor Julian Carroll, to join the board of the Kentucky Arts Council, and became involved on the statewide basis. That’s been very, very important to me all through the years, because to tell you the truth, I really learned about my state through the Kentucky Arts Council. We met in every place, every 11:00place you could imagine, and all over the state. And, we travel a lot there, out to the hinterlands, and we really all began to know all the boards that came and went from the 70’s…all the way through till now, have all come to know all of the…the wonderful world of arts we have in our state…and we do. So, it, it’s given me a larger picture, and I’ve had a lot of marvelous experiences, because of all of these wonderful organizations that have taken me in as a helper …a supporter and a helper.

WILLIHNGANZ: Now, were you involved with the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen?

MOOSNICK: Well, yes I was, and to tell you the truth I’m really not sure how it all happened. Have you interviewed Richard Bellando? Well, I don’t know 12:00whether Richard told you who the particular people were who decided to bring this wonderful guild into being. Did he tell you that?

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. We went over some of the history…yes, but I’d like to hear your version of it.

MOOSNICK: Well, to this day I don’t know who asked, you know, Richard to make this thing out of whole cloth. You know, he had… had nothing but cloth to work with when he began the concept that there would be a guild of native artisans and craftsmen, and he, for some reason or another, was told to come to me to help him get started to have a first even Guild craft show at Indian Fort Mountain outside Berea, and to make it happen. And, I’ll never forget the two of us just trying to carve out the kinds of things that we knew were gonna be 13:00needed, but we were both of us totally new at trying to have a show, a craft show in the woods, and we knew we came up with a…we knew we had to have tents in case of rain, which is frequent in the summertime in Kentucky. And, we knew we had to have some kind of tenting to kind of protect the artists and their crafts from rain and wind and sun…everything. So, between the two of us we set about to visit literally every kind of business between Berea and Richmond and Lexington, and that whole pathway to find the people who would give us the money for a tent. And, I think we came up with a sufficient number of tents. And, he would have to tell you exactly how many, but it was in the twenties or 14:00thirties or something of that sort, so that we could actually make a wonderful looking camp…tenting kind of place…to make all of that crafts fair come about. So, that was my beginning, and it was, it was wonderful. It led to a lifelong, you know, very rich friendship with Lila and Richard Bellando, and a lot of wonderful folks from Berea. And, it truly has led to, I believe, a great deal of apprec…of the appreciation that people now have for the crafts and the arts that are not the museum type. You know, the…let’s say the Speed Museum type, hanging on the wall art, as we’d call it. It’s…this is important to 15:00me, because I have a special feeling that Kentucky has not through the years, through its early years, ever truly appreciated its artists and craftsmen…its native artists and craftsmen, and the crafts and art pieces that they produce, until very recently. I don’t see a lot of appreciation as you’d find, let’s say, in Connecticut or Maine or some…some of the…or even maybe Virginia, because we’ve…we’ve been a sort of…we’ve had a landed gentry idea of what art is.

WILLIHNGANZ: What does that mean?

MOOSNICK: I think it means people really haven’t felt that all of the 16:00wonderful things that we now call art, and we know as art…the crafts are fabulous, and come from the roots of people, and their lives, and their history. We haven’t…we haven’t acknowledged that as art all through the years in Kentucky. It’s…it’s been a long time coming, I think. I think people still feel that art has to look like things they see in…in the Metropolitan Museum, or such is that. I truly believe that.

WILLIHNGANZ: You think there’s been a change in recent years?

MOOSNICK: Yes I do, well I think it’s been a constant change. I think the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen has an awful lot to do with it.

WILLIHNGANZ: What, what do you think they’ve done over the years?

MOOSNICK: Slowly, with the coming of the wonderful Guild Shop that was set in 17:00Chevy Chase, very carefully thought through, and set in and brought to being in Chevy Chase, in Lexington…brought crafts and art pieces to Lexingtonians, that they just hadn’t seen as art. It was…it was wonderful to watch, and it broadened then, because other individual artists and craftsmen were willing to start shops of their own, and start galleries of their own, and studios of their own. Because, they saw that people were beginning to really want to own these beautiful things, and really began to appreciate them, and want them in their homes, and really value them. The valuing of it’s…what’s been so important, and so I think the Guild, with the show that’s continued with the 18:00Guild shop, that continued all many, many years, and has moved several times in Lexington. And then, the growth of the Kentucky Arts Council…real appreciation of this, has also been a partner, and I can’t say that wasn’t exactly the Guild’s doing, but the Guild certainly lent a lot of support to what the Kentucky Arts Council always wanted to do. And, that was…bring about this real appreciation for all of the artists, and artisans, and craftsmen, who were in Kentucky and were part of us. And, I just think the Guild had a great role to play in that.

WILLIHNGANZ: How would you compare the effect of the Guild, to say the Southern Highland Guild, and their effect in terms of their member states, and what 19:00they’ve done?

MOOSNICK: I think it’s, it’s very comparable, and I think it was very, very needed here, because the Southern Highlands just doesn’t quite…doesn’t quite get up here to our better selves [Laughs], and I think it was absolutely necessary for it to happen. I don’t know how…I should know better how Tennessee plays a role in the Southern Highlands, but I think it’s not as significant as it should be, and I really, I think that this Kentucky Guild has really done very, very much for the Kentucky Artists.

WILLIHNGANZ: Now, you are a Lexington resident, right?

MOOSNICK: I’m a…well, no. I was born in Indiana, to tell you the truth, but we came here when I was three. That was seventy-five whole years ago, so .

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, we’ll allow that, I guess.

MOOSNICK: I think I’m basically a Lexingtonian…almost.


MOOSNICK: But, about that land of gentry business…I used to think that you 20:00really weren’t considered a Lexingtonian, unless your granddaddy had been part of the landed gentry. Do you understand ‘landed gentry’.

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, yes I do.

MOOSNICK: Well then, that’s…and that’s what I think. I think, in a way, it’s taken all this time to have the landed gentry really appreciate Kentucky’s arts.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow! There’ve been wavering levels of political support for the crafts development in this state. Could you comment on the history as you’ve seen it?

MOOSNICK: Well, let’s see if I really know exactly how all of the politics is played. It seems to me though, that every one of our governors, from the time I came on board with the Kentucky Arts Council, everyone of them has really wanted 21:00the Kentuckians to appreciate what they’ve got here in Kentucky. I think they have appreciated what we’ve, you know, what we’ve…we’ve had all the time. I think that they have…they’ve been absolutely wonderful sometimes. I…I guess I will…I’ll go ahead and be a little bit more…a little bit more specific. Julian Carroll was wonderful because he…he really helped Louisville get going with it, its, you know, its whole downtown arts scene. And was…was a really wonderful helper. But, in terms of really knowing that we had to have…we had to have wonderful venues and wonderful support all throughout the state, I think that was a little bit later coming. I…I will 22:00have to say that John Y. Brown with…with his wife Phyllis George Brown…George. I should stop at George…did a lot of leaps, several leaps, way, way ahead of just thinking in terms of lets say the Loui…all of the Louisville arts, the Louisville Orchestra, the Ballet, the Actors Guild, all of those things in Louisville. They made a big…big leap, and I give Phyllis George a lot of the credit for that, you know. She’s the one who took Bybee Pottery and Churchill Weavers things to, where was it, Bloomingdales, I think it was, and had them have whole crafts marketing right there in the midst of 23:00Bloomingdales, in New York City, and…and they did have an appreciation. They, they brought Crit Luallen on board who was a great leaper in terms of being very, very aware of everything that was wonderful in Eastern Kentucky, and Western Kentucky, and Northern, and everywhere. So it…it just was…it was giant…that was a giant leap then. In terms of later governors I better not get too specific. We’ve had some ups and downs. We had…we had a…a…well he’s been, he was governor a little bit ago, and I….shall I…I, I, I just really better not say, but anyway didn’t quite…didn’t quite get it, and I, I think it was…it was unfortunate, because we had a bit of a set back. But, 24:00what I want to tell you is that we have had some giant support from the Senate and the legislature in this state. Giant, I should say, Commonwealth and the two to them…I just, I will always be grateful for, and I think any of us that were there at the time will always be grateful for the Senator Mike Maloney, from right here in Lexington, and Harry Moberly over in Richmond, who is still in the House…thank goodness. The two of them together did so much for seeing that no matter what the Kentucky Arts Council got, as they…as they could bring to bear, because they knew we were gonna spend all of that money…very little on staff. The staff has always been a very small staff, and still is, but they 25:00have had such big hearts, and they have worked so hard. And, the board too, of the Arts Council has always worked so hard to see that all parts of Kentucky really gets appreciated, accepted, backed up, supported, and get the kind…the right kinds of money to the right kinds of groups, at the right time, and I can’t say enough because the legislature and the Senate have always been ready to back up our arts. And, when you look at the wonderful, wonderful crafts marketing venue that we have now right on I-75 at…at the get-off to Berea, it’s, it’s been thought o…planned for a long, long, long time, since Crit Luallen’s days. And, during all the time that she’s been active in the 26:00state government, and we now have any…do you have any idea how many thousands and thousands of people going through the Commonwealth every year, stop and buy and love, and take home and appreciate forever, the work that our Kentucky artisan and craftsmen do. It’s magnificent really, and it’s largely due to the Senate and the legislature, you know, really truly staying behind the Arts Council.

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, it is impressive. I was at the structure last week doing interviews, and I toured it, of course, and took shots of a lot of the work there.

MOOSNICK: It’s marvelous.

WILLIHNGANZ: It’s terrific, just terrific.

MOOSNICK: And it’s…we…and we just…and this also has won so much…so many steps ahead for our Kentuckians to realize how wonderful all of this work 27:00is. They…they…it’s been…it’s been…that’s been very definitely reinforced way, way over, reinforced by this wonderful Guild creation we have right there on the I-75, it’s outstanding.

WILLIHNGANZ: Do you find that these agencies that come up to support the arts tend to be oriented toward one or another particular art, at the exclusion of other arts?

MOOSNICK: They…they do on the local level, because listen, it’s a hard job. It is a hard job to…for one board to create enough interest and enough support and funding and…and you know finding the right people to be the professionals in…in you know, in doing all the work that one particular arts form is…is…is doing. So yes, they have to be, they have to be. I…there 28:00couldn’t…isn’t any other way that they could grow with…with…without having a lot of people who are focused on them. It takes an aging process, a true, true aging process for people to be in one of those…those very single minded boards, to step back…and I’ve seen many, many over the years step back, take an overarching look, and see. Because they care so much, first of all, about one arts form, because they learned to love all of the other arts, too, to step back and say I want to work for something like LEXARTS. I watched this happen, and it’s amazing, and it’s beautiful how it works. Kentucky has been late in the game. Lexington has been late in the game. I won’t say 29:00Louisville has, Louisville’s been there a long, long time, and that’s why they have formed such very large support for large organizations. After all, it’s our biggest city. But, to see people in smaller cities and small towns around Kentucky start working for one wonderful group…a visual arts group maybe, or maybe a music group like the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, because the children are interested in it, and they got interested in it. And then, see them finally step back and see a bigger picture. And, that’s what’s happening now with LEXARTS, or Lexington Arts and Cultural Council because, and it’s been a long time coming. But, I can tell, you know, there are plenty of Lexingtonians who I knew way back, who really had a limited…a limited, you 30:00know, love for a particular art, who are now strong supporters of doing something for all of the arts, to make all of the arts thrive. So, it’s an arts community. So, it’s an arts loving body of people. And, we appreciate everything, go to everything, and see it all, and hear it all, and love it. That takes time.

WILLIHNGANZ: Indeed. Indeed…and, a lot of resources, and a lot of working together.

MOOSNICK: Yes, it does.

WILLIHNGANZ: I’m surprised that you say that Louisville actually led Lexington or the rest of the state.

MOOSNICK: Oh, by far.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, if you look at…I mean I’m thinking…if you look at all of the arts. If you look at the performing arts, if you look at, you know, the cultural center, what not…but looking in terms of strictly handmade crafts, for instance, I’m not sure you could argue that the center of that part of the state isn’t Berea.

MOOSNICK: Yes, that’s right. But, now Louisville…I will say this…for it…they didn’t…they didn’t see the love…the importance of crafts and 31:00arts, artisan work until late…until late. They…I don’t know when they began their marvelous, you know, Kentucky Arts and Crafts Center there in, you know, in the heart of the arts world in Louisville on Main Street. I don’t know what year it was, but it was late in the whole scheme of things. The Louisville…and they…they cared about the, well, I guess, you would call the elite entities. They cared desperately about them, and have since way, way back. I believe the Fund for the Arts in Louisville, which is still, you know, 32:00thriving tremendously, began in the 30’s, 1930’s or 40’s early 40’s at…at the most. They had a Fund for the Arts that was backed by the likes of the [unintelligible] Browns, and the whole of the Bingham…Bingham family…the big, big givers to major arts entities, and so they…the symphony, first of all, and certainly then, the opera and the ballet and Actors Guild have gotten huge support from the community since the 40’s.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yes, that’s certainly impressive.

MOOSNICK: That’s decades, decades, forty years at somethings of…before people throughout Kentucky, really got going .

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, I certainly appreciate the performing arts. And, we go to 33:00the Kentucky Center for the Arts all the time, for all sorts of events and Actors Guild. And, you know, I’ve been to every place your talking about, but one of my concerns is that one of the things that has happened, in Louisville particularly, which is where I live of course, is that…is that a lot of the momentum for craft consumption, if you will, the buying and using it, has been focused on the St. James Art Fair level. And, what you have there are very few Kentucky artisans.

MOOSNICK: That’s true.

WILLIHNGANZ: You have a lot of people coming from all over the country, and the work they produce is unquestionably superior stuff. They have some fabulous things at it.

MOOSNICK: They do indeed. And listen, that’s happening at the Woodland Fair also. When the Woodland Fair began…I’m sure when the St. James, you know, show began, it was local. And then, of course, Ohio people, Indiana people, 34:00West Virginia people, I don’t know, Tennessee or not, buy. Anyway, all of that northern…those northern ring states began to see how much ordinary citizens were…were appreciating crafts and artisans work, and they began to get themselves a space there, and it’s grown tremendously. But, I hate to hear you call their work superior to ours. Here we are surrounded with Steven Powell’s work, and Susan Goldstein’s work, and wonderful…other wonderful artists. And, I think ours stands up to anybody you want to name. But, of course, they’re gonna get in on the action now. I think that says a lot now, for how much Kentuckians really are appreciating all of these wonderful art forms that they really weren’t willing to look at a few years ago.


WILLIHNGANZ: Well they certainly are appreciating St. James, yes.

MOOSNICK: That’s true.

WILLIHNGANZ: …mobbed every year. I know, because I go there every year.

MOOSNICK: Yes, and the Woodland Fair, too…mobbed every year, and they’re coming from further and further away. I think now they’re coming from Michigan, and goodness knows where, Wisconsin, and all over. But, this is all good. This is all good. It’s good for cross fertilization. It’s great for our artists. It certainly is good for our…our arts lovers in Kentucky, and I think now we’ll…we’ll always hold on to a real appreciation of any kind of work, that any metal people, or glass people, or wood people are doing, that’s not hang-on-the-wall art. You know what I mean, the…the two dimensional oils and watercolors and so forth. It’s…it’s all to the good. Everything goes now.


WILLIHNGANZ: You are currently active on various boards. What boards do you currently act on?

MOOSNICK: Currently active in really very few, because I, I [unintelligible] worked my way through all of them, but one wonderful thing is happening this summer. It began last summer, and it’s…goodness I sound like…I am about beginning things. I am definitely about beginning things. But, I…I will stick around [Both laughing]. I don’t…I don’t just disappear, but we’ve begun this fabulous Chamber Music Festival, which is kinda the piece de resistance, because it’s…it’s very, very classic. And, it’s a kinda coming all the way back around to what we…we all know is really the classics. 37:00But, it has to do with the making of a fabulous violinist right in our midst. His name is Nathan Cole. He grew up in Lexington…his father’s on the music faculty of the University of Kentucky, and he and his wife who are both in the first violin section of the Chicago Symphony now, and three of their good friends, violist, cellist, and pianist, came last year and blew everybody in the Bluegrass away, with their fabulous music. And, they’re getting ready to do it again on Labor Day weekend, and it…they’re coming back, and their going to be just absolutely thrilling us, because they’re fabulous musicians…all of them. And, low and behold, Nathan Cole got his beginning right here in 38:00Lexington, and he’s very proud of it. So, it’s really very special.

WILLIHNGANZ: So they’ll be doing that in Lexington?

MOOSNICK: They’ll be doing that in Lexington on Friday the 29th, Saturday the 30th, and Sunday afternoon, the 31st. And its…it was just so beautifully attended last year, and so special. And, it’s all about…you know, it’s really all about supporting our own, and where they’ve gotten in the world, and what they can do, and what they’ve achieved. So it…it’s…

WILLIHNGANZ: You do realize that that weekend there won’t be many people in Lexington. They will all be going to Louisville for the UK-U of L game .

MOOSNICK: Well, of course, they will on Sunday afternoon, but the…the…the actual concert will be over, so Lexingtonians…

WILLIHNGANZ: can come back to it.

MOOSNICK: Well. We’d like to think.


WILLIHNGANZ: Other than that, are there other boards that you’re active on right now, that you’re working with?

MOOSNICK: No, not really. Not…not in the arts actually. I, I’m, I’m really still working with LEXARTS very closely with the funding, and this is significant. Louisville began its work for the arts as a fund for the arts, and to this day they have no arts council. There have been a couple of different efforts that have fallen by the wayside. What seems to be important to them is that they, they gather a tremendous amount of money together for these greats that we’ve talked about, and are now, because they have to, because, the Kentucky Arts Council told them they had to give money to grass roots arts 40:00organizations, and…and things like the crafts…the whole crafts movement, and…and individual artisans and so forth who are…have gotten neighborhood arts groups. On the other hand, Lexington like so many other cities large and small throughout the whole country, has started with an arts council that’s brought the artists together, and the arts boards together, to really begin to cooperate with one another, to learn about each other, to begin to do collaborative projects together, and that led us logically to a fund for the arts. But, that fund for the arts for us, our LEXARTS fund for the arts, is, let’s see, it really got going only in the early eighties, and so I’m 41:00telling you that it’s, it’s four decades. Its forty years between the time that Louisville began to raise huge amounts of money for big organizations, to the time that Lexington Arts and Cultural Council began to raise funds on a far smaller level for all of the arts organizations.

WILLIHNGANZ: Boy. That’s a fascinating distinction. What do you think accounts for that?

MOOSNICK: I think there were always very involved leaders in Louisville that had money, the Bingham’s, the Browns, the…all of the big entities who had major businesses, major corporations in Louisville, were sophisticated. And, they were…they were learned in the way of how the arts work, and how much 42:00money they take to work. And, they began with a fund that was going to give to all of these burgeoning organizations of theirs. On the other hand, Lexington’s biggest corporations and entities, with the money, have always been in the thoroughbred industry until very lately, until the 80’s really. But, the coming of the [unintelligible] and the coming of many, many more people to the University of Kentucky. When the medical center opened and it became a real… became a really much larger university. It took us a long time to get the people who had the know-how about what really makes arts work, and how much money it takes, and how much support it takes to get them, in town and operating. And then, the building of the money has been a long time building, 43:00so Louisville always had a home grown very, very, very wealthy support system. Our wealthy thoroughbred people always have made whole museums happen…of the Whitney Museum in Manhattan. There’s another Whitney Museum, I think, in Palm Beach…large…things at…at Saratoga, the Saratoga Summer Festivals. All of that is thoroughbred money coming out of…of the thoroughbred farms in…in the Bluegrass, but never given here locally, never ever given here locally. Only in recent years do the Headley-Whitney Museum out at old Frankfort Pike, which is 44:00made up of collections of a lot of wealthy people who were in some way or another pretty much associated with the thoroughbred industry, and, of course, with George Headley, who was himself a wonderful maker of some of the most fabulous violas ever been made in the world. And, he did it right here in Lexington. And, of course, the workmanship was done in Italy, France, but it was his brain. But apparently, these people never thought of Lexington as being anything other than sweet little old Lexington, their little home town…lovely little place where they came to enjoy the races at Keeneland, and to enjoy their thoroughbreds on the farm. That’s been it…that’s my story and I’ll stick to it Greg.

WILLIHNGANZ: So, what’s the future of arts and crafts in this state? Where 45:00are we going from here?

MOOSNICK: I think we’re going up. Looks to me like we’re just going up. We’re really going to get better and better at this…at this business of letting our artists do their work. But, supporting them and helping them through…through everything from the Kentucky Arts Council to all of the local entities, because we haven’t even talked about all of the small towns all over Kentucky, who have managed through the legislature and the government, to get beautiful venues…gorgeous new venues…places that are good for hanging art…for seeing, and…and loving performing arts of all kinds. So, I mean, there’s…there’s a marvelous place in half a dozen towns or more, all over, Prestonsburg, Somerset. Hop…is it…well I’m not sure about Hopkinsville, 46:00over there in the west somewhere . You’ll have to forgive me. It’s been a few years since I was on the Arts Council. They’re everywhere, and they’re doing things with them. And by doing that, you know, arts are growing there. So, they’re needing arts support, and they’re…they’re beginning to form the cou…their councils. The Kentucky Arts Council has changed its whole…whole program, for giving to make room for how much Lexington has grown, because Lexington now…LEXARTS, in the last couple of years has topped a million dollars a year for funding. Well, some of us, going all the way back, never dreamed in the ‘70’s, when we were starting the council, that by this time…and it’s high time…but, by this time that we really would have a 47:00funding mechanism that was bringing in over a million dollars a year. That’s growing in all the rest of the smaller towns, it’s gonna keep on that way. The…the governors, and the legislator of the Senate and the House of Representatives, are gonna have to cough up more money. I worry about the National Endowment for the Arts, because America has finally come into a full appreciation of the arts. And, when there’s that, and there…there’s all this love for it. Their needs…there has to be more money. There just has to be. Organizations like the big ones have to be able to melt fabulous, fabulous things, to attract the ballet lovers, the opera lovers. The…the orchestras 48:00have to do fabulous new compositions, and so forth. All of that takes money. And, it’s gotta keep coming. I…I’m not sure in our present state, on the national level, with everything’s that’s gone wrong with…with our…I would say, just everything that’s gone wrong. The tremendous debt we’re in, and having to work our way out of it. I don’t think the National Endowment for the Arts, you know, is going to be able to grow as fast as it should be able to grow. I don’t think that…I don’t think that, until we get our whole economic system back into some kind of focus, and some kind of control, we’ll see, you know, a huge growth in things like The National Endowment for the Arts. 49:00But, heaven forbid if political entities really ever bow to serious threat, and actually able…are able to do away with these, because it will be a dark day. We’re…we’re really in these. The last couple of decades have really only just begun to be the kind of art supporters that Europe has been for centuries. You know, we’re…we’re newcomers in America to everything. We’re just a few hundred years old.

WILLIHNGANZ: Do you think that, though, that some of the difficulties with the National Endowment for the Arts has come, because of the shift to a more conservative political approach?

MOOSNICK: Well, of course. But, you know, I was not gonna…I guess I was not gonna say that. But, whenever you have a conservative power in…in power, then 50:00it is going to…it’s going to be tapped out. I don’t know that current state governments or the federal government could actually take a serious…I mean you know just to, just to cut things off at the root. But…but they are…they’re tapped out. But, as a…as a life long liberal, I will say that it takes the liberals. It takes the people who…who really know that if you don’t have art and you don’t have artists, you don’t have the beautiful crafts, and you don’t have craftsmen. You’re no place. You know, the life…life goes out of everything. So I think it’s…it’s just…it’s true. And, I guess, I will go ahead and say it, that liberalism breeds 51:00wonderful art and conservatism keeps it tapped out [Both laugh].

WILLIHNGANZ: Well you’re on tape now, I’m telling yah.

MOOSNICK: Might as well. What can they do to me [Both laugh]?

WILLIHNGANZ: Probably not much. Well. I’ve been traveling across the state here, doing these interviews with a lot of different people, looking at the different ways that this whole process has grown, and changed. And, the diversity, you know. Last week was the first time I’d ever set foot in The Artisans’ Center and it’s tremendous…really wonderful, yah.

MOOSNICK: Ah, you see, I mean it’s just a…

WILLIHNGANZ: It’s just; this is great stuff we’re doing, just hoping that the support for that sort of thing continues.

MOOSNICK: Oh well, we, as long as we have people like…I have to tell you that it’s…we’ve missed Mike Maloney very much in the Senate, but we have to hope that there will be other people. And…and we’ve got some…some marvelous people who are coming up for Senate that I hope we’re gonna find in there. And, we’ll know that they will be good. And, Harry Moberly and…and 52:00a whole raft of wonderful people, you know, really do…they care…they care about the arts.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. Anything else you’d like to add?

MOOSNICK: Well, no. Was there anything else you were going to ask?

WILLIHNGANZ: No. I think I’ve probably run out of questions, but thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

MOOSNICK: I’m so glad. I had no idea how long we’ve talked.

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh. It’s been almost an hour.

MOOSNICK: Well, alright.

WILLIHNGANZ: About 50 minutes.

MOOSNICK: That’s plenty.

[End of Interview]

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