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Casey Countian Crystal Wilkinson: Arts Council's Featured Artist

By Tom Musgrave

Frankfort, KY - Crystal Wilkinson has been selected as the Kentucky Arts Council's Featured Artist for March and April. The poet has written three award-winning novels, and received a Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship for literary arts in 1997.

"My writing is rooted in the rural experience and all its complexities, anchored in the landscape itself. I write with an eye and ear on the curative powers nature holds in black lives both historical and contemporary," Wilkinson said. "Black Appalachians are invisible to a generation that wrongly sometimes conflates 'black' with 'urban' and 'white' with 'Appalachian.' I want readers to see us, hear us and, in the process, learn something about themselves."

Wilkinson currently resides in Lexington, but has strong roots in Casey Co., KY. From her Wikipedia page:
Born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1962, Crystal Wilkinson was brought to her grandparents' farm in Indian Creek, Kentucky (about three miles east of Middleburg, Kentucky) when she was six weeks old. The only African American family in the area and like many farmers in Appalachia, Silas Wilkinson grew cash crops of tobacco and corn and produced sorghum molasses; and, given the few jobs available for African-American women in eastern Kentucky, Christine Wilkinson cleaned and cooked in the homes of the local schoolteachers of Casey County. Wilkinson wrote that she "lived an enchanted childhood" and that her grandparents "gave me the freedom to explore the countryside and to write, to dream, to discover." She wrote about her childhood and her upbringing in her award-winning book, Blackberries, Blackberries.


Wilkinson's tenure as Featured Artist will include April, National Poetry Month, the celebrated birth month of American Poet Laureate and Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, who was born April 24. That day is traditionally celebrated as Kentucky Writers' Day.

Wilkinson is currently featured on the arts council's website at artscouncil.ky.gov/KAC. The page currently includes a story about Wilkinson and contact information for the artist.

More information about Wilkinson is available on Wikipedia: wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Wilkinson.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.


This story was posted on 2018-03-08 09:55:45
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