Oral History Interview with Susan Goldstein, March 20, 2013

Kentucky Historical Society


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2:09 - Early Life in New York / Exposure to the Arts

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Keywords: Elementary Education; George Washington Bridge; Knitting; Math; New York; Newburg; Scenic Hudson; Storm King Sculpture Park; Urologist; Vermont

9:27 - Education / Becoming An Artist

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Keywords: Arrowmont; Boston; Ceramics; Denver, Colorado; Gatlinburg; Kentucky; Lexington Art League; Psychology; Tennessee; Tufts University; University of Kentucky; University of Vermont

14:58 - Developing an Artistic Style

19:36 - Process

23:25 - Involvement in Arts Organizations

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Keywords: Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen; Lexington Art League; MetroLex Gallery

29:22 - LexArts and KY Guild

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Keywords: Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen; Mary Stuart Reichard

33:22 - KY Guild Concerns

35:55 - Helping Revive the KY Guild

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Keywords: Allison Kaiser; Cheryl Stone; Eastern Kentucky University; Gin Petty; Jane Stephenson; Steele Reese Foundation; Tim Glotzbach

42:47 - Efforts Rewarded at the KY Guild / Exhibits

46:57 - Raising Money / Recording Arts History

52:21 - Documenting History of the Guild

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Keywords: Craft Luminary Project; Mary Reed; Phyllis Alvic; Richard Bellando; Tim Glotzbach

62:22 - Kentucky Craft History and Education Association

64:14 - Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

67:06 - New Mexico

70:57 - Looking to the Future


Gates: This is Bob Gates and I'm interviewing Susan Goldstein. And this is sponsored by the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association and funded, in part, by LexArts, here in Lexington. And the date is May 20th and we're at Susan's house, right? Beautiful house.

Goldstein: Right. Thank you.

Gates; How long have you lived here?

Goldstein: I've lived here since 1987. We built the house.

Gates: You designed it and everything?

Goldstein: Yes.

Gates: Where were you born?

Goldstein: I was born in Newburg, New York, which is on the Hudson River near West Point, about 60 miles north of Manhattan.

Gates: Okay. Did you grow up there at all?

Goldstein: Yea. I grew up there. I was there until just before my 18th birthday when I went off to college in Vermont.

Gates: And that's how you got some of your exposure in the arts was in Vermont?

Goldstein: Oh no.

Gates: Well, tell us about that ( ).

Goldstein: I would say there was no exposure to the arts in Vermont and I was actually, initially a math major and then switched to elementary education. So there was not intent to study art or to be an artist or to be involved in the arts at that time. I did get some exposure to the arts, just simply by living, you know, an hour from the George Washington bridge. But from early childhood, I just loved doing things with my hands. I can remember making things out of mud. I can remember probably from junior high on knitting and going to a knit shop with my older sister. I can remember that at summer camp my favorite, you know, activity was arts and crafts, but as I said, I really didn't take it seriously as something that one would use professionally. Okay, I kind of came from a family where all women were teachers and that was kind of the safety net, in order to, you know, provide a living.

Gates: So that's kind of why you went into education.

Goldstein: Yea, it was just a natural thing to do.

Gates: What did your dad do and your mom?

Goldstein: My dad was an urologist, but he was a farmer at heart, so even though we weren't far from New York City we lived in the middle of 100 acres. And my main contacts were with my cats and dogs and horses. And so I would describe myself as having been a tomboy and really still, I can get very high on nature. I love outdoor activity.

Gates: Did you have to feed the pigs or things like that?

Goldstein: No. In my early years I do remember my dad having chickens, but then from probably age 12 . . . At 12 my dad bought me my own horse and I think on occasion in the winter when the water pipes froze I would carry water to the barn and, you know, feed the horses when he was getting home late.

Gates: This was a small, kind of, farming community outside of New York City?

Goldstein: It was not a farming community.

Gates: Oh, it wasn't okay.

Goldstein: We were very unique in the way we lived, okay? So. Yea. Very unique.

Gates: Is that your name . . . your last name, your maiden name?

Goldstein: My maiden name is Bockar.

Gates: Bockar.

Goldstein: Uh huh. Right.

Gates: Where does that come from?

Goldstein: I'm not sure. My grandparents were, you know, Austrian, Hungarian, Russian, you know. Typical Eastern Europe who migrated here later 1800s and early 1900s.

Gates: So you were talking about your childhood, you liked to make things?

Goldstein: I always enjoyed making things. I always enjoyed ( ) creating with my hands.

Gates: And you said the George Washington Bridge that means you were close to Manhattan?

Goldstein: That's correct. The George Washington Bridge is, to me, the northern entrance, you know, into Manhattan.

Gates: So did your family go down there a lot?

Goldstein: We went on occasion. I went on occasion with my mother. My father disliked, you know, big cities. They said his passion was to come home from work and get into the gardens, clean the stalls, okay?

Gates: He did that every night I guess.

Goldstein: He did that enough so I remember my mother would get frustrated because she would want to go to the golf club and socialize on the weekends. And I can recall her saying, "Oh, I married a farmer!" You know, because of course he wanted to escape people, he worked 6 and a half days a week.

Gates: Did he work in Manhattan or did he . . .?

Goldstein: No, in Newburg. He had a practice in Newburg. Right.

Gates: Newburg, New York right?

Goldstein: Newburg, New York. Not far from West Point. Right on the Hudson River.

Gates: Sounds pretty.

Goldstein: Yes. There was not art museum there. No such thing. It's historic, in terms of revolutionary history. There is now the Storm King Sculpture Museum.

Gates: What is that?

Goldstein: It's a famous outdoor . . . It's an old estate where someone has turned the grounds into a sculpture museum. Yea, if you get into that area, you need to go see that.

Gates: Is the family house still there?

Goldstein: We sold it about 4 years ago. Actually to an organization called Scenic Hudson. That preserves, I want to say, revolutionary properties. Unfortunately or fortunately, the house has been totally removed. They want the land to go back, you know, to what it was. And it will always be there for the public to enjoy.

Gates: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Goldstein: Yes. I have a brother and sister who are 8 and 9 years older than I am. So I feel as if I became an only child after they went on the school and I always refer to myself as a mistake.

Gates: You were the baby of the family.

Goldstein: I was the baby. Yep. Spoiled and loved by everybody.

Gates: That’s when you got a pony and you got your own horse.

Goldstein: Right. So, and my parents, I think, had a much more relaxed attitude with me being the youngest and I think I was much adventurous and able to travel and explore on my own. Yea. So I was saying, so I went to Vermont. I went to the University of Vermont. I do think in my senior year I took a ceramics course. I think we had to take an art course if we were in elementary education and of course, I loved that. From there, I moved to Boston. I went to graduate school at Tufts. Got a degree in counseling psychology and got my first job in the Boston area. I met my husband there and he was in school, actually in Philadelphia ( ) in Denver. And when I got out to Denver, I was told I could not work for the school system, unless I had three years of actual classroom experience. So I was 24 and I thought, "I'm not sure what I want to do". I had a lot of time on my hands and I signed up to take a ceramics course at the community center and that truly became my passion. So I really . . . I never went back to counseling. I became an artist. I was determined to develop myself as an artist.

Gates: Did you miss that? Not doing the counseling at all?

Goldstein: Oh, no. Not at . . . No I did not. I had such a passion for art and at that point I really wasn't concerned with, you know, having to support myself and it just was no concern. I was just very relaxed about life. We were there for four years and then came to UK because that was Steven's first job . . .

Gates: Oh, he graduated from . . .

Goldstein: Right, he finished up at the University of Colorado . . .

Gates: Was it medical?

Goldstein: Yes. In medicine and we came here, thinking we'd only stay three years. I had no idea where Kentucky was. I did know I was crossing the Mason Dixon line. I assumed there was a fence across it. And was shocked that there wasn't even a marker. Of course, I feel in love with Kentucky. And we have stayed here and raised our children here, but when I came here I took ceramics at UK. And after a year or so I decided I really wanted a studio in my home and I really worked for many, many years in that studio. Developing myself and going to school, such as Arrowmont during the summer and spending a week or two with someone, you know, very special.

Gates: That's in West Virginia or North Carolina?

Goldstein: Neither. It's in Gatlinburg Tennessee.

Gates: Oh it is. Okay.

Goldstein: Okay?

Gates: There's another place . . .

Goldstein: Well, there's Penland. Okay. There's several schools like that. But Arrowmont is definitely the easiest to get to from here. So I got a lot of ideas from people and did a lot of experimentation when I was there. And then when I was in . . . We came here when I was about 30 . . .

Gates: Came to this house?

Goldstein: Came to Lexington.

Gates: Oh, when you were 30, okay.

Goldstein: Right. I've been here a long time and when I was in, I think, my late thirties, I was invited to have a solo show at the Lexington Art League. I wasn't a member. I really didn't know much about it, but I was so excited with the (tape cuts out). Through that I became very, very involved in promoting the arts. Okay?

Gates: Lexington Art League?

Goldstein: Yes.

Gates: When was that when you joined?

Goldstein: I would guess that was probably around, you know, the late 80s. That's what I would guess.

Gates: So your first show, what was it like?

Goldstein: It was exciting. I don't even remember if I made money or not.

Gates: Did you have all your pieces ready for the show?

Goldstein: I had all my pieces ready, but what it really did for me is it gave me an identity as an artist. Up until that point I think I was struggling for an identity. I wasn't quite sure who or what I was. And that really helped establish that feeling. That sense of security and identity. And so I really do treasure what these types of organizations do for artists.

Gates: Had you developed your own style by then?

Goldstein: Yes. Did I by then? I believe . . . You know, I'm not sure of that, because my passion when I started off taking courses in Denver was the wheel.

Gates: Working on a wheel making pottery kind of thing?

Goldstein: Right. So I was throwing, or course, everything was thrown.

Gates: So it's symmetrical . . .

Goldstein: Yes. It was, at Penland, and I'm not sure chronologically, how that falls in, where I went and I was telling you I took a course with a teacher, Gene Otis and the course was on doing inlaid colored clays into slabs. Okay.

Gates: Inlaid colored . . .

Goldstein: Right. So you would make clay in different colors and you would literally cut and inlay the colors into a neutral . . .

Gates: And you call that a slab?

Goldstein: A slab is any piece of clay that's rolled out. You know, yea. Which can be done with a rolling pin or can be done with a slab roller, which is a machine that looks like an old washing machine ringer and you just put, you know, you run the clay through it. So while I was there and had a slab in front of me. I saw a stack of cups on a counter. They were, of course, upside down, the slab was on a cloth like a pillowcase and I just picked that up and I just dropped it over the stack of cups and it formed a beautiful, of course, upside down V shaped vase and I just realized the potential of of taking slabs and shaping them by dropping them into bowls or just anything. Texturing and just putting, you know, using . . .

Gates: Were these like Styrofoam cups or?

Goldstein: Yea. They were Styrofoam.

Gates: They held that slab up?

Goldstein: Oh, sure. Yes. Yes. So I've done, you know, I went through really from there, I went through a phase of working with slabs which is still my true love. I can do anything with a slab. I can recreate clothing, you know do sculpture that looks like clothing. I can do bodies, just by putting my hand underneath and just moving according to what I'm envisioning in my head.

Gates: How thick is the slab when you're doing that?

Goldstein: I try to roll it, get it down to a quarter of an inch.

Gates: Okay. So then you can really mold it then, can't you?

Goldstein: Oh, yes. You can stretch it, right, you can do anything with it. But often when I pick up a slab and I put it into a bowl to shape it, you know, the slab itself will wrinkle and form undulations on its own, you know, that are beautiful.

Gates: And that's what you're looking for is those lines.

Goldstein: Right.

Gates: You don't want it to be consistently . . .

Goldstein: Oh no. If I wanted to be consistent, I would just throw it on the wheel. Okay.

Gates: What did your teacher, your instructor, say when he saw the work that you did?

Goldstein: Nothing. No. I haven't had many teachers who really motivate you or encourage you. I'm not sure why. I did have one in Denver who felt that I was just a breath of fresh air and would stay after class, afterwards talking to me and helping me clean up. But, no I don't recall that teacher being encouraging, you know, with anyone. Okay. I mean, she was there and she demonstrated and she did a fine job, but most teachers don't take that kind of personal interest, unfortunately.

Gates: So you have to supply your motivation yourself?

Goldstein: Oh, yes. And I do. When I create a piece, I mean it's like giving birth. Something coming from nothing and there's something as an artist, there's something very, very exciting about that. I call it the New York rhythm in that I create something . . . it's finished, the form, within an hour or two. And I like that. I like that tangible object coming into existence quickly.

Gates: Quickly, okay.

Goldstein: Right.

Gates: Do you play with it longer after that or is it done?

Goldstein: The main . . . its existence is done, of course, after that it has to dry and be fired and if I want to glaze it, in other words, if I want to put a layer of glass on it. I have to apply that and then re-fire it again. So it takes place over several weeks, but you know that first stage of creating it. Within that first hour or two, you know whether you have something good or bad.

Gates: What if it's bad?

Goldstein: Then I would destroy it.

Gates: Destroy it?

Goldstein: Yes. And I only . . . not only . . . you know, I'm motivated, but I have to be very up and positive to go into my studio. It interests me, I read about artists who go into their studios or do their artwork when they're depressed or angry. I would be incapable of doing that. I'm not taking anything out on the clay. It's a positive flow of energy.

Gates: You're always up when you do, you said?

Goldstein: Yes.

Gates: Have you ever tried it when you're depressed or it just doesn't work for you?

Goldstein: I've never tried it. I'd ready have to to push myself into it, because if I'm depressed, I don't know if I would be believing in myself. Okay. I haven't really analyzed that or tried it.

Gates: So you get up, do you do it in the morning? Afternoon? Or when do you do it?

Goldstein: Well, used to. I haven't done any . . . or I've done very, very little artwork during the last few years. I mean I went through 10 years of disciplined, daily work and as I said, then following the exhibit at the Loudon House, I became involved as a volunteer and for many years, there was a balance, because one of my goals was to sell my work at the Woodland Art Fair in August. So there had to be a balance, which really, almost left me no time, you know, for anything else. But as I became more involved with the art organization eventually and Woodland became a little more challenging, just because of age related issues. The scale tipped the other way, so that 80 or more percent of my time was being involved in art organizations and promoting artists. Okay? You know, one thing just led to the next.

Gates: So your first art organization was the one we talked about earlier? Where you joined the Lexington Art League?

Goldstein: Yea, I joined the Lexington Art League and at that time, it was an all-volunteer organization. Its history came from it being, I want to say, an artist owned and run organization. The pendulum has swung, you know, completely in the opposite direction. But many organizations started with an artist membership and artists . . . and all volunteer. And at that time, we were developing satellite galleries, so we not only had the Loudon House, but we had a gallery at the Opera House and a gallery downtown in the front of a bank. It's called the Metro Lex Gallery and we also had a gallery at the airport. That we were working on and it didn't take long before I became the director of all these galleries. These four galleries.

Gates: Still volunteer?

Goldstein: Oh, yes. I've never earned any money off of my work. That's not my forte.

Gates: How many people were in there when you first joined?

Goldstein: In?

Gates: In the Lexington Art League, I guess.

Goldstein: I don't know what the membership was. It was very, I mean, you know, it was . . .

Gates: You had to work your way up so quickly to be in charge of all the galleries.

Goldstein: It wasn't very difficult in those days.

Gates: Really?

Goldstein: There was usually no competition. If anybody volunteered, they got the job. And it was probably good that . . . I mean, in one sense, it would have been nice to have someone experienced working with me, but on the other hand, if there's no one around to judge you, you're learning the ropes on your own. You know, if you're motivated, you can do it easily. Easily, easily.

Gates: What do you think your challenges were? What did you learn working with that organization that you brought with you later on?

Goldstein: I'm not sure what I learned. I mean, obviously I ended up with knowing what should go in a contract, I wrote out the steps to putting together exhibits. So I developed a lot of materials, where beforehand there was nothing in writing. So I was able to pass on, you know, stacks of files and information. You know, developing an artist base, but I think it's innate in me to take on a challenge, to love a challenge and to . . . I always say I'm not particularly knowledgeable. I don't have expertise in any particular field, but what I'm good at is structuring, alright? And being passionate enough to go out and ask people to do things. So with the . . . I didn't really run the four galleries. I found four people, you know, each person to take a gallery, who had that ability. Okay? And all I really needed to do was, you know, oversee. Just maintain the line of communication and just make sure all the wheels were turning smoothly. And so I did that for three or four years . . .

Gates: And they ran pretty smoothly, you think?

Goldstein: Oh, yes. Everything ran, you know, very, very smoothly. Yea.

Gates: What kind of exhibits were you putting up?

Goldstein: We did solo shows. We did group shows, but it was all based on the artist from the art league. I mean, we were not going outside of our membership.

Gates: Oh, I see. Okay.

Goldstein: Okay? We were working from within. And I know there were hundreds of members.

Gates: Oh, okay.

Goldstein: Okay. I mean I'm the kind of person where if I were to see someone and felt that we could use their work.

Gates: Okay. Was it hard to pick each year who in the membership you were going to present?

Goldstein: I don't remember it being difficult. I think there was a big enough membership and enough out there so that we could do that. Okay. Because of my experience with galleries and exhibits, I was asked to join the Guild board, because the Guild really wanted to develop an exhibit program.

Gates: What's the full name for the Guild?

Goldstein: The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, which is a state organizations. I mean, the Lexington Art League is Lexington based. They wouldn't deny membership to anyone outside of Lexington, but its Lexington based. Where the Guild, although their headquarters are in Berea, the focus is on the state. Okay?

Gates: So you went from the Lexington Art League to the . . .

Goldstein: To the Guild. And . . .

Gates: And how did you make that transition? Were you asked to be on there or?

Goldstein: Yes. Mary Stuart Reichard was the president at the time and I don't even recall when or where, but we must have had a conversation where I told her about my experience with galleries and exhibits. So, I became a board member of the Guild and really just was a fairly passive board member. There was a lot going on in those years.

Gates: Like what?

Goldstein: There was a lot of discontent amongst the membership and so that really was the focus of board meetings.

Gates: What years were these? I didn't get . . .

Goldstein: That was probably, I'm going to guess, the late nineties.

Gates: Oh, really?

Goldstein: Mid-nineties on.

Gates: Okay.

Goldstein: So I really, I don't . . .

Gates: I was in Berea at that time. I was working in Berea for a couple years right next to the Guild's office and I often wondered what was going on up there. I didn't hear screaming or anything . . .

Goldstein: Well, you would have if you had gone to the annual meeting which I think . . . in '98. I went to that meeting. I didn't know that much about the Guild, as I said, I had attended board meetings and listened to a lot of debate and discussion about many issues and I went to that meeting and . . .

Cameraman: Hold on a second.

Goldstein: Air conditioning? Let me get a drink. Because I sound so hoarse.

Gates: So we kind of jumped to 1998. You were with a lot of other organizations weren't you, between that time?

Goldstein: Well, like I said, from about '95, '96 on I joined the Guild board. I was still active with the Art League.

Gates: Oh, you were, okay.

Goldstein: Oh, yes. I was on the Art League board and I was vice president, planning on becoming president, but as I mentioned, I went to an annual meeting for the Guild. There was a huge turnout. There's only a turnout when there's something wrong and people think there's going . . .

Gates: Where was the meeting?

Goldstein: It was in the old Guild Gallery on, is it, Broadway? Across from the historic jail in Berea?

Gates: Oh, okay.

Goldstein: Okay? And the president ended up in tears at that meeting and resigned and before I knew it, I was elected president.

Gates: What happened?

Goldstein: Well, first of all I was elected president only because no one else would of . . . By process of elimination. And I just sat there saying, "I don't really know anything about this organization, but I'll never have an opportunity, you know, to be president of many things, so I'll just sit here and listen". And I remember, just following a fair and I got Magee's to donate a cake and I put the wrong name on it. I put the Berea Fair, which it's . . . I mean, I was . . . that's how little I knew about the organization.

Gates: But you had been on their board.

Goldstein: I had been on their board. Right. But it's kind of like with the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association, you're still unfamiliar enough so it was hard to figure out that name.

Gates: What was the big commotion about at the meeting?

Goldstein: I think there was a concern over whether the office was open routine hours or not. There was also a concern at that time about the retail shop that was in Lexington and where, you know, money was going. The financial situation. So I think there were different thoughts on how the office should be run and whether this gallery should be in existence. And they did end up shutting down the gallery.

Gates: The gallery was in the Lexington and the office was up in Berea on the second floor of that . . .

Goldstein: I think it was . . . I thought it was the first floor.

Gates: Okay.

Goldstein: It was a very big space. So I became president of the Guild and I did not, at that time, also take on presidency of the Art League, which it was my turn to do. That, you know, would have been too much and I never saw the director. She immediately resigned and left Berea within one week.

Gates: Can you tell me who that was?

Goldstein: Her first name was Ann. Okay?

Gates: So you took over at a time when it had a lot of problems. It was challenging.

Goldstein: I had no idea what I was stepping into. We found approximately $40,000 worth of unopened bills in a closet that were up to a year old. We discovered that the organization had not been registered and therefore had not been a 501c3 in enough years to accumulate a $20,000 penalty. Because we didn't pay taxes.

Gates: Oh, okay.

Goldstein: Okay? So, my older sister who worked at the ( ) museum in Atlanta called me and said, "Quick! Get out of there!" And I said, "No, It's my only opportunity!" And I have to say, I must have been born under a lucky star because Cheryl Stone from EKU just arrived like an angel and said, "Restoring the Guild is going to be the assignment of my department. My graduate students are going to work on it. It's going to be my focus". With that assistance. . Oh, she sent Tim Glotzbach to join the board and work on the financial situation. You know Tim?

Gates: Yea.

Goldstein: It was wonderful and Gin Petty who was a darling and very devoted to the Guild. A brilliant woman. Literally, took on a full time, unpaid position of going through the records of getting everything, you know, researching policies, bylaws. Getting everything updated. It was a wonderful experience of teamwork.

Gates: Wow.

Goldstein: Just incredible.

Gates: It just happened? Or did you ask for help?

Goldstein: It just happened. Definitely. I would have never asked Gin for help because I remember when I met her, the first time she came here, she sat right here and she looked at me and thought, I know who the heck is this New Yorker? You know, living in this environment, taking over the Guild and I looked at her and of course, with her country accent and thought, what is this? You know, who is she? And she wouldn't talk to me, because she is very shy in a group situation and because we were both devoted and neither one of us was going to back off, we had to work together daily and I think we were the most fabulous team. I mean, there wasn't a day that went by where we didn't laugh and share and you know, recognize the strengths in each other. Whatever I wrote and I would do a lot of writing in those days, you know, I want to say I was the cover and she was the book, because she would edit and I love help. I accept it and really appreciate it. She was just, like I said, she's the most lovely brilliant person.

Gates: Who are we talking about?

Goldstein: Gin Petty. Who was an artist, a Guild artist, but is a writer. A paper maker and a writer.

Gates: Okay. Was she like a vice president or something or?

Goldstein: No. Gin is too shy to ever be on a board or even a committee.

Gates: But she was a member and she wanted to help.

Goldstein: She was a member and she was not shy of taking over the office and helping to reinstitute and revise the organization, because things were very scattered. You know, she put together a history. She researches, as I said, policies and bylaws, I mean, she was instrumental in re-establishing the organization. She and Tim and a few others. So those were very positive years in getting to know and work with these very, very special people. And through Cheryl, Cheryl asked one of her students to write a grant that I signed, but truly I didn't have to do much more than sign it and, oh, I'm trying to think of her name. She's the founder of the new opportunity school, Jane Stevenson?

Gates: Oh, the president's wife.

Goldstein: Yes. Well, she was the regional rep from a New York foundation called the Steel Reese foundation and we sent the grant there and within a few months, she contacted me and she said to me, "I think I was president for 6 months" so, to me I thought oh this must be routine. I didn't have anything to compare to and she called me and she said, "We're sending you $100,000".

Gates: Wow.

Goldstein: I thought, oh does this come every six months to every organization? And with that money we hired Allison Kaiser and you know Allison. Allison went from being the director of the Guild to being the director of the Philharmonic, the symphony here in Lexington. She's dynamite. And Allison came from Miami, she wanted to come back to Kentucky, because this is where her parents are and she had done fundraising, development with the New World Symphony and the Miami Ballet. And actually, you know, when I looked at her resume I said, "This can't be for real" you know. But she was for real and that's why she's in the position she's in now. And so I got to work with Allison for two years and so you can imagine what a wonderful experience this was for me, working with such talented people.

Gates: So, with the arts and crafts guild, you were president of the board, right?

Goldstein: Yes.

Gates: But, they also had a new director hired.

Goldstein: Yes, of course Gin was in the Guild for about . . .

Gates: Gin was the director?

Goldstein: No. Gin and I basically did everything for about two years until we hired, you know, Allison. Okay?

Gates: So Allison was director for how many years?

Goldstein: I would guess that she was there for three years.

Gates: Do you feel like you helped turn the Guild around?

Goldstein: We did. Oh, my goodness. It didn't take long before Fran Redmon and others began to see the quality and the changes. A year or two. Pretty soon the Guild was able to partner, you know, with Craft Marketing and with the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Yes. It was an incredible period where the Guild grew and developed many outside programs and there were many opportunities to work with other organizations.

Gates: How did you feel about that yourself? Your private life, was that a big achievement for you?

Goldstein: Yes. It sure was. Yes. I felt very, very good about it and actually it was a little challenging when I finished up with my presidency to step away from that. I'm sure that's natural with people, because even though with my work with the Art League, I didn't make a bit of different if anyone recognized what I was doing. When you are part of the Guild and you're working with Allison, people put you on a pedestal. Like anyone else, you get used to it and you know, it's challenging to step out of that, as you know, and try to figure out during that interim what will fill that void.

Gates: I know what you mean.

Goldstein: You know what I mean. And of course, what I did, I had really, you know, the reason I was encouraged to join the board was to develop exhibits. So after I became president, I focused on that.

Gates: Developing more exhibits for the Guild?

Goldstein: Oh, more. We went from almost nothing . . . We had an exhibit on the fairgrounds, we had a fair to doing over a three year period, 28 exhibits. Each exhibit different. We're not talking about a traveling exhibit. Each one was unique and each one was in a different part of the state. Alright?

Gates: How did you arrange that? Get different galleries to sign on?

Goldstein: Yes. I started off by putting together a committee. Looking at a map and finding out where . . . I literally identified how many Guild members there were in each county, where there were exhibits spaces that would be worth working with. Right. Contacting and then, you know, pulling the artists in. I mean, I'm the kind of person who picks up the phone to . . . I don't just send something out and say please apply. I call each person. I call each person to remind them to send or deliver their work. I call them to remind them to pick things up. I arrange it so that I try to make it easy. I can remember Dave Caudill driving a whole trailer load of artwork from here, you know, to Western Kentucky, you know, just coordinating and helping and, you know, babying people, but it's what makes it a success.

Gates: Some artists need that and (Dog barking)

Tape cuts out

Goldstein: Oh okay. The exhibits.

Gates: So you were doing the statewide exhibits. Did the Guild put money toward the exhibits or something?

Goldstein: I raised money. Okay? I've always raised any money that's been spent. I have to say that if I'm in a room with strangers, I'm a wallflower in that I would not have the courage to walk up and introduced myself to someone, but I could easily pick up a phone and call someone, particularly a fellow artist and ask for a donation. I feel that if you have passion and hutzpah and it's the real thing and you're not reading from a script or being paid, you know, it works. It works and you're just sharing your thoughts. So I found the Guild artists have always been very generous. Many times I've called twenty people and asked them each to contribute 100 dollars and they do it readily. Some even more.

Gates: For like these exhibits or for other projects?

Goldstein: Yea. For any project. Yea. So, yes. We were self-funding.

Gates: Well, I know you were known for being able to raise money. Is that how you got into it was through the Guild or were you doing that before?

Goldstein: No, probably through the Guild. You know, it was just a matter of asking fellow artists to help with something that I felt was a project that supported all of us and it was just easy.

Gates: Some people are afraid to ask. They think it's begging or something. I don't feel that way, myself.

Goldstein: I'm not afraid to ask if it's something that helps all of us.

Gates: Did you get that from your father or your family or anything like that?

Goldstein: No. I don't ever recall my parents asking for money. Asking anyone for money, but I do recall them having events at our house, you know, that may have been related to fundraising. I know that my parents were very generous.

Gates: So that helped.

Goldstein: Yes. So I have an expectation and I don't know . . . someone might say it's unfair, but it just works. Yea, it just works. Plus, being that my husband is a very generous person, we often have the opportunity to be out amongst, you know, to events, where there are donors. And so, I see, you know, it's customary. I go to many events for instance, the night before last I was at an event for the Arts Council for, you know, their top donors. So I get to know people and see and the networking opportunities . . . Once you meet someone and you're in the same circle. I think it's very, very easy, you know, to pick up the phone and tell them what you're passionate about. So for three years, I created this exhibit program and then it was really kind of time to retire from that. I found someone to take over and there was . . . I thought, Oh, great. I'll finally find time to read a book. But then I got this thought and I'm just this driven, compulsive person. I had been thinking for many, many years that it was really a shame that we did not have a visual record of people who are instrumental in establishing craft in Kentucky. And that the opportunity was being lost. You know, of course, my focus on that time was Guild history and what I saw were that the . . .( ) There were years where was total negligence and then when I took over as president, I was told that a lot of what had been in the office blew away in a hurricane.

Gates: Hurricane?!

Goldstein: Or a tornado. There was a tornado that had hit Berea at some point. Okay?

Gates: I thought you were being . . .

Goldstein: You know, I thought Oh my lord. I thought this organization is really incompetent, but what I have discovered, it's the same in all organizations. They're very poor in keeping their history, their records.

(Tape cuts out)

Gates: What were you saying?

Goldstein: I don't remember. Let's see where we were. Oh, okay. So I had this thought that I had had for many years and I couldn't get it out of my head and now finally I had a little free time and I thought to myself, I have to find the founders of the Guild. And get them on video. I had never held a camera in my life. I put an ad in the Guild paper saying does someone have a camera to lend me? And I got the advice that I really needed somebody else who had held a camera and I started doing research and what I found out is the Guild was founded, really there were three entities that was instrumental in creating the Guild: the state government, Berea College and the artisans.

Gates: The artists themselves.

Goldstein: And so I looked to see who was alive from approximately 1960, who was involved in that. And I started . . . I created a committee. I was still a member of the board or the Guild. I created a committee and we went to work. Really my coworker was Mary Reed and Phyllis Alvic. We called on her for advice. So I was working as a member of the Guild board on a project to record the history of the Guild. The project was very, very successful and word got around what I was doing and I actually approached Tim Gotzbach and Richard Bellando to assist me in fundraising and it was Tim who really expressed his feelings that this type of project needed to include other art organizations. Really, all art organizations and all people who are instrumental in the development of the crafts, whether they be artists, administrators, whatever. The project became too immense, that the decision was made to form an independent 501c3. And that entity became the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association. And that original board included, you know, Tim and myself and Mary and Lila and Richard and soon Fran joined it and sometime after that Nancy joined it and Philis Alvic, you know, was actively on the board. And Philis was really instrumental in developing policies and procedures and with me being me, I said, you know, "How do we expedite this whole procedure?" And I noticed there was someone who I knew, not well, but, who I had seen him in the community. Michael ( ). Who was on the Lexington Arts Council's board and I thought there was a good chance that being that he was a lawyer and being that he was on that board, he was a supporter of the arts. So I picked up the phone and called him and asked him for help and his firm took over pro bono and within three months we were a 501c3.

Gates: That's pretty quick. That's real quick.

Goldstein: During that period of time, because Tim at that time was working for Berea College, they gave us permission to become part of the college and therefore we could quality as a 501c3, you know, in the interim, to apply for grants or whatever. So it went very smoothly and the first year or so . . .

Gates: When was this do you remember?

Goldstein: I'm going to guess about 4 years ago. And the first, I guess, two years we concentrated on creating a business plan and as I said, policies, bylaws and out here I continued working on interviews so we did approximately forties interviews that's part of what we now call the Craft Luminary Project and this today is actually part of that. But we also, about a year and a half ago, because I went to the exhibit that you sponsored, Made to be Played. Was it the Art of the Luthier?

Gates: Art of Kentucky Luthiers, yes.

Goldstein: Okay. My goodness. That's how he convinced me. So that's the truth.

Gates: So you got money. You wrote this grant and started the Luminary Project and got the 501c3 to be the Kentucky . . .

Goldstein: Actually, we didn't get the money.

Gates: Oh, you didn't get the money.

Goldstein: And so all out project money came from donations from the Guild artists. Okay? And I did do fundraising. Outside of the Guild artists.

Gates: You didn't get the grant or you didn't apply for the grant?

Goldstein: I don't remember. Okay?

Gates: So, a lot of this has been you fundraising and getting . . .

Goldstein: I know we went to meet with the women who had replaced Jane Stevenson, to discuss it with her. And I think she may have talked us out of applying because at that time the economy had taken a dive and basically they were down to funding, you know, the building of a school, you know, the structures and things that were more concrete. Okay? Right. So, KCHEA was born. Like I said, the first year or two was a focus on expanding this project as I mentioned, I went to see the exhibit that you had sponsored, was just taken aback at the craftsmanship of the instruments and the fact that these people not only had such technical ability and artistic ability, but that they were musicians. And applied for a grant to go out and interview luthiers in Kentucky, which you became a part of that project and that's where I've spent the last year, is overseeing, you know, that project. Okay?

Gates: And that was with, who are the other people that were involved? The other interviewers?

Goldstein: The interviewers were Jesse Wells from the Traditional Music School at Morehead State and Amanda Fickey from the University of Kentucky and you. You were the three interviewers and of course, as you know, you all did a fabulous job and we're pursuing the use of these materials.

Gates: Too bad we couldn't get a good videographer. Just kidding!

Goldstein: But the other thing I wanted to quickly mention . . .

Gates: Okay, let's talk about KMAC and what does KMAC stand for?

Goldstein: Okay, do you mind? I want to back up here and just finish one thing off about the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association. We have now moved onto a major project that we are focusing on and that is the development of a Virtual Craft Encyclopedia that covers the history of crafts in Kentucky as well as including, you know, current information and we're talking about the artists who made a difference, the crafts in Kentucky, museums, private collections, just something that will take many years and have a very broad depth of information and we're just starting with the planning phase of that and we're very excited about that, because we consider it a pilot project for all states. No one has really done this and there are many other people in other states who are interested in seeing what we're doing and I hope that not only will it be virtual and accessible to the public educators, academics, but that there will be a hard copy sometime in the future. There will be something that we can hold and hand. That may just be something that my generation still values. But we're very, very excited about this project.

Gates: It sounds great. It's kind of like what I wanted to do with the Folk Life Program is make a lot of the people we presented at our festivals and exhibits, make them more available to educators and things. I hope some of them will be included in what you're doing. Cool.

Goldstein: So you have asked about the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I had forgotten that I did join . . .was asked to join that board. That was 7 years ago and that was a wonderful experience. Louisville is a very, very different place than Lexington or, I should say the Guild or the Art League. When I was working with the Guild and the Art League, the boards were predominantly made up of artists and I always felt that they were very much membership owned organizations. The Guild still is. The Art League has hired professional staff and swung in a different direction and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, KMAC, at least during my period of working with them, has been staff run with a board that does not include artists, but is mainly made up of corporate reps and private donors. So that was a very, very different experience and I was there . . . I came in actually as they were hiring a new director and a year or two ago there was another change and the most current director has really changed the direction of the museum. So it's very interesting to, you know, see.

Gates: And you were on the board with all these corporate organizations? You said you were on the board with . . .

Goldstein: Well, yes, with all these representatives. And that's really where boards are going these days. That's where the LexArts board is made up of. There are very few organizations like the Guild where it's still membership owned and run.

Gates: Why do you think you were invited to be on that board?

Goldstein: Because certain people who were on the board were also part of the Guild and they just felt that I had the qualities that would be an attribute.

Gates: What do you bring into it? Your experience and your fundraising ability and . . .

Goldstein: Yea, fundraising and just general knowledge off the arts and organizations and how they run.

Gates: I guess you've learned a lot doing these interviews over the years, haven't you?

Goldstein: Yes. I've learned a lot. Another thing that's coming into my head that's kind of interesting. You know this past year, I spent more than half the year in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gates: You have another home there?

Goldstein: Yes. And there's something that's outstandingly different between New Mexico and Kentucky and I'd really like to study it. Kentucky is very strong in supporting artists. There are all kinds of grants and opportunities and you know, even there's an entity in the state government that exists just to promote the art and the artists of Kentucky.

Gates: Kentucky Arts Council.

Goldstein: The Kentucky Arts Council. Yes. And they really do, they provide educational opportunities, they have a history of that. They provide sales opportunities. They provide exhibit opportunities. None of that exists in New Mexico. They're at the other end of the spectrum. At least in Santa Fe. A tremendous amount of money is funneled into the museums, into the arts. So it's a population of approximately 70,000, which I believe is less than one fourth of the population of Lexington and yet they have five good sized public museums, you know, active symphony, ballet. Very, very active opera. All kinds of lecture programs. It's just amazing, but they're catering to the public. It's their draw to bring tourists in, okay? It's what the draw is. And retirees. It's really a retirement community.

Gates: But they don't show the same respect to artists, is that what you're saying?

Goldstein: No. Artists get no help. There are no art organizations. I'm sure there's a perfect in between, but I would really like to study both and see what kind of combination, where we need a bit more of that and where they need a bit more of what Kentucky is doing.

Gates: Do you think you'll have some influence there? Are you going to move there?

Goldstein: I'm not sure. I think we'll always maintain a presence in Kentucky, but we probably will retire there at some point. Will I have influence there? I don't know. You know, Lexington, they say, is a small pond and it's easy to be a big fish, you just want to volunteer and you're in. Out there, it's a whole different story. They're very, wealthy, powerful people and it's a whole different story.

Gates: So it might be hard to break in.

Goldstein: It's hard. Right.

Gates: But if anybody could do it, you could do it, right?

Goldstein: I don't know about that, because I can't financially compete with people out there. And I'm sure a lot of the breaking in has to do with what you're donating. And I'm not, I can tell you.

Gates: You're supposed to be able to get on the phone like you've done and talk to people.

Goldstein: We'll see. It'll be interesting because it's a whole different league. Okay. It's a whole different league of people out there.

Gates: So what do you see for the future with you and Kentucky? Working with this program?

Goldstein: I am always going to be available to help KCHEA if they need assistance fundraising or anything else. I'm really not sure, but I'll always be a promoter and an advocate here in Kentucky.

Gates: Anything else you want to say?

Goldstein: No.

Gates: Well, I did want to ask you. Earlier we were talking about how your art dominating what you were doing when you first came here and then it had to slack off, you kind of moved away from it . . .

Goldstein: Right, I became an arts advocate.

Gates: Where are you with your art now?

Goldstein: I have dreams of getting back to it. I don't think I'd ever want to spend a full day in a studio. I really like the diversity and mixture, but I would like to get back into the studio, you know, a few hours a week and create. Create something tangible again. And you know, in Santa Fe, you're exposed to so much art. So there's so many ideas that I have. Yes. Of course, I need to draw them and maintain the idea, because you lose it. You get inspired and then you lose it. So you have to have a camera handy and kind of keep a record of what you're inspired by. But I hope, I'm going to say, within two years to have a studio out there as well as here and be able to work on both ends.

Gates: Do you see a certain direction you're going to go with your art? Or you're just going to kind of see what you see out there.

Goldstein: Yea. I'll start off with what I'm familiar with and see where it goes. I never pre plan. I'm not the type of artist that sits down and draws something. I start off with a vision and then it develops as I see the, you know, as I see the form.

Gates: You've done so much work for artists in the artists Guild and your life. Why do you like to help artists?

Goldstein: Well, it brings so much to me. I feel that it's a pleasure in that basically I'm a shy person, so it gives me the opportunity to meet people and know them. It gives me the opportunity to feel productive. I would say those are the two things. It's so satisfying. I just feel like all of that is gifting me with these opportunities.

Gates: And you like artists too, don't you?

Goldstein: Oh, sure. Yea. They're what I am. So I feel very comfortable. I love art and we share something in common. Promoting artists, they're so appreciative, okay. They really are. In fact, you may have noticed the Steve Powell piece is here. The glass pieces. These are actually not mine. They're here because of two reasons. Years ago I chaired a Guild Gala, a fundraiser and we were going to auction off a piece and Steve Powell brought pieces for me to choose from and while they were here, we sold more pieces, I think than in any gallery where he had his work that year. I mean, totally unexpected.

Gates: Here at your house?

Goldstein: Yea, just from guests. And so I said you're welcome to leave some here. And he has and the pieces on the piano are here because Steve brought an assortment of pieces and I'm a member of the committee that selects the art for the Chandler Medical Center and so the committee came here and selected the work that’s currently there and so these are kind of remaining from that selection.

Gates: I wondered that when I came in here.

Goldstein: I've only smashed one.

Gates: You smashed one, really?

Goldstein: Yes. Well, I came home and one of the pieces was on its side in a hundred pieces. And I have no idea and the dogs couldn't get in and I have no idea and Steve was just as nice about it as could be.

Gates: I'll just make another one, right?

Goldstein: Right.

Gates: Well, thank you. Anything else you want to say?

Goldstein: No. No. Just a pleasure to be able to talk to you.