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HomeArts/LeisureIn Paducah, the world revolves around art

In Paducah, the world revolves around art

Daytrips and Weekenders. As the summer months and the vacation/travel season approaches, we offer you, our readers, ideas for day trips and weekend excursions to places and events that can be done in a day, or maxed out over a weekend. Time and the high cost of gas fuel our efforts to find local entertainment and activities. This column will appear each Thursday through Labor Day.

Paducah, Kentucky, is about a two hour drive from Clarksville. The town rests on the Ohio River where it is joined by the Tennessee River. Its prestigious past speaks out in the ornately designed houses and buildings.

Except for the great flood in 1937 where 95% of the city was flooded, this town prospered on the edge of the world’s greatest highway — the river, and had a flair for wealth and diversity. Trains later replaced river travel for goods; semis replaced trains. But since the 1900’s, barges carry goods up and down the river once again. One barge carries as much as 23 railroad cars.

Paulette Mentor is ready to do some work in her art room/gallery. Her house is a perfect example of creativity in re-design of a gallery house. — Debbie Boen photo

If you throw enough money at it, you can do anything, says Carol Gabany about Paducah’s Downtown revival. The Paducah bank has been throwing money at artists offering 300% loans to buy up old rundown houses, fix them up, and open art galleries throughout the downtown area. Esteemed artists from all over the US have been drawn to this exceptional deal in Paducah.

This town is a great weekend getaway. We stayed at the Egg & I Gallery, which rents out two (giant) rooms. Our wonderful host and president of the art association, Carol Gabany, carves breathtaking designs into eggs. She makes use of the three layers in an egg shell. Egg and I web site: http://www.eggandiarts.com

Across the street was etcetera, a coffee house where locals hang out.

The second Saturday of every month is an art walk where downtown gallery’s throw open their doors to the public.Visitors can view and purchase some of the most progressive art. Some may get a demonstration of how some art is made. Always is found a friendly face. Maps of the art walk are available in town.

Downtown hosts a street party every Saturday during the summer. The main downtown street was closed to traffic and three bands played at different areas. The Paducah Symphony happened to be playing outside also. Horse drawn carriages combed the streets, vintage cars were shown off while families, elders and teens met and hung out. Teens hung out. I don’t see that in Clarksville, the town rated worst place to raise children.

We’ve done the Paducah weekend trip two times now. The first time we were there on the second Saturday art walk.The inspiration I got from it was beyond description. Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, talks about the importance of getting out to see what art is out there in the world, what other people are creating. It inspires us and feeds us like some kind of “other” food.

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”~ Rene-Franciois-Ghislain Magritte

This time we missed the galleries but saw the Quilt Museum. Designs pop out of the material giving it a 3D look that isn’t done with painting. I have never been interested in quilts, but both my husband and I were so amazed by the quilts on display. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at traditional quilts but others did. Many couples enjoyed the museum while we were there. To protect copyrights, I wasn’t allowed to photograph quilts in the museum but even the pictures of children’s quilts in the lobby show what a beautiful art form this is.

Caryl Bryer Fallert (at left) won Best of Show, three years in a row, at the Quilt Museum for her quilts. She gave me permission to use photos from her web site at: www.bryerpatch.com

So many great choices of restaurants invite visitors to pause, dine and savor. This time we dined at Whaler’s Catch and C.C. Cohen’s and had excellent food.The menu at C. C. Cohen’s speaks of a mischievous ghostly inhabitant who died in 1980 but still seems to want to own the place.

“The restaurant was locked up secure for the night. I’m the manager, the only one with the key. I came in to open up the restaurant and all the salt and pepper shakers were open and dumped out,” says Jackie Lipham.

A small but upscale River Heritage Museum downtown has well done (and expensive) displays and a short movie. The movie space is used by the museum during the day and as a separate movie house during the late afternoons and evenings. Kids were lined up outside to see The Goonies.

Sundays are quiet downtown, a good time to sit by the river. A flood wall (above) protecting the town shows art scenes depicting the history of Paducah.

Take a break. Stay at a bed and breakfast. Enjoy art. For all the information you need to plan your trip to Paducah, go to Paducah at http://www.lowertownartdistrict.com/index.php

A few choices of places to stay:

1857 Bed & Breakfast: 1-800-264-5606

The Egg & I: 1- 270-443-6323: www.eggandiarts.com

Gallery 5: 1-270-444-2020

The Guest House of Paducah, LLC: 1-270-331-5548 or www.theguesthouseofpaducah.com

Paducah Harbor Plaza: 1-800-719-7799 or www.phplaza.com

Fox Briar Inn at RiverPlace: 1-877-FOXINN 1 or www.foxbriarinn.com

More Debbie Boen Photos capturing images from Paducah:

Carol Gabany (top left; Paducah welcomes art enthusiasts to visit the city’s many galleries.

Paulette Mentor’s gallery, www.mentorhousegallery.com

Jackie Lipham of C.C. Cohen’s (left); street scene in Paducah

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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