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Bet Ison quilt exhibit opens Aug. 1 at KFAC

news-thumb-bet-ison.webpAn exhibition featuring the work of folk artist Bet Ison will open Aug. 1 at the Kentucky Folk Art Center (KFAC).

The exhibit contains ten quilts from self-taught quilt maker Bet Ison and 20 adjunct pieces that inspired the quilts.

Ison started quilting as a teenager in the 1970s. Living in rural Rowan County, Kentucky, Ison continues the Appalachian tradition of quilting with scrap material.

"After I married and came to Rowan County to live, I was surrounded by people who made quilts, and it just seemed like a natural thing to do. I've always liked to use scraps to make something new," she said. "When I was in my 40s, I started to make quilts differently, to tell stories, to say the things I wanted to say."

An opening reception will be on Thursday, Aug. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through Oct. 20.

The Kentucky Folk Art Center (KFAC) is one of Kentucky's unique places. Located in the historic Union Grocery, the Center offers much more than a typical museum experience. KFAC houses a permanent collection of nearly 1,400 pieces of self-taught art. Dozens of works from the collection are displayed on a rotating basis in the Center's first-floor gallery, and visiting exhibits are hosted throughout the year in the second-floor gallery.

"My experience with these quilts is that people find their own lives and questions, their own history and heritage in these quilts and their stories," Ison said. "The extra pictures and writings exhibited with the quilts let people explore those stories more deeply, maybe think about some of these topics a little differently. I hope this exhibit expands people's thinking about quilts. Lots of folks are used to thinking about quilts as common homemade things that are not art. So, it's good to see quilts and understand that they can be art. You definitely don't have to be a quilt maker to enjoy this exhibit."

For additional information, contact KFAC Administrative Coordinator Tammy Stone at 606-783-2204 or email

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