Bluegrass Roots

Keltie Ferris at the opening reception of her exhibit “Keltie Ferris: *O*P*E*N*” at the Speed Art Museum.

By Janice Carter Levitch

The Bluegrass Land Conservancy recently held a farm-to-table dinner at Ashbourne Farms in Oldham County to honor Edward S. “Ned” Bonnie with the Land Conservationist of the Year Award. Surrounded by 2,250 acres, Ashbourne Farms is magical. The rolling hills remind me of a walk through one of Monet’s paintings, especially while watching the sunset light up the horizon and enjoying a glass of fine champagne.

When dinner was announced, everyone found their assigned table (mine was lucky number 13). I had the pleasure of being seated with the dynamic duo of Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. Our conversation was lively as the focus remained on the mission of the evening, honoring Ned and his legacy within the Bluegrass region. The program highlighted the efforts of individuals who make a significant and lasting contribution to land conservation in Kentucky. 

Keith Mountain, president of EAA Chapter 110, welcoming Janice on board for a flight experience on the Ford Tri-Motor airplane.

 Everything about the evening was extraordinary, including the meal that featured several dishes, including a baby kale salad with black-eyed peas and tiramisu prepared with pumpkin mousse and brown butter white chocolate whip.

Earlier in the week the Speed Art Museum held a reception for artist Keltie Ferris, a native Louisvillian now living in Brooklyn, New York. A solo exhibition of works and paintings, “Keltie Ferris: *O*P*E*N*” is an interpretation of what it’s like being an artist in the world today. When I met Keltie and had the chance to discuss her art, it was inspiring to listen to the techniques she used to create her body of work. One print in particular caught my eye. The piece titled, “Prince,” was created by Keltie covering her body in oil, applying pigment to the paper surface and laying her body on top of it to reveal an androgynous form.

Brenda Balcombe, Liz Everman and Rick Haas at the opening reception for artist Keltie Ferris.

Speed Museum Director Stephen Reily along with Curator of Contemporary Art Miranda Lash welcomed everyone and introduced Keltie. Dressed in a colorful suit (which I just adored), Keltie took the time to speak to the group and discuss how it feels sacrificial in many ways to put such a personal mark on her work. The exhibit runs now through Feb. 3, 2019, and it’s definitely one you don’t want to miss.

Another highlight took place this week at the third annual Bowman Field Aviation & Military Heritage Festival presented by Humana. Before the festival officially opened, the C-130 Hercules military plane made a historic landing, and I felt quite lucky to be part of the group invited to witness it. This plane was mammoth in size and had a distinct roar created by the four-engine turboprops (which you wouldn’t want to get caught behind unless you’re tethered to something very, very strong). Rare, vintage aircraft and warplanes were featured at the festival and families could take a ride in the Ford Tri Motor, B-25 and C-45. These aircrafts are beautifully designed. I felt as if I had stepped through some sort of time warp when I boarded the Ford Tri Motor for a flight. Caroline Knop of Simply PR – who has to be one of the most effervescent women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting – held the seat next to me and was in charge of organizing the amazing festival. As the plane took off, we looked at each other and realized we were having one of those moments to cherish. This week was certainly all about Bluegrass roots, from historical warplanes to land conservation and a local artist returning home. Kentucky just has it all. VT


The Ford Tri-Motor airplane at Bowman Field.