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apply for kentuck

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts has a 53-year history as a hub of creativity nationally recognized for its quality, diversity, and celebration of artistic styles ranging from folk to contemporary arts and traditional crafts.

In 2018, the Kentuck Festival of the Arts was ranked 5th in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine in the category of Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows. 

 

This year's Festival will take place on October 19 and 20, 2024, rain or shine, at Snow Hinton Park in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

JUST ANNOUNCED: Judges for #Kentuck53 are Gilda McDaniel, Director of Weddings and Special Events/Co-Coordinator of Fearrington Folk Art Show, and Teresa Hollingsworth, Director of Traditional Arts at South Arts. Read more about the judges here.

Sign up for our artists' email list HERE and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on news, deadlines, and more. 

*Applications for the 53rd Kentuck Festival open March 1, 2024 and close June 2, 2024 at 11:59pm CST.

**Please note that this application is easiest to complete on a computer, not a mobile device. 

general information

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts is a juried show in its 53rd year that attracts ~15,000+ visitors from across the United States. Along with more than 270 exhibiting artists, the Festival features educational demonstrations, interactive arts areas, children's arts activities, music, storytelling, craft beer, and food trucks.

This year, the Kentuck Festival has a NEW location: Snow Hinton Park at 1000 Hargrove Road East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405. Less than 5 miles from Kentuck Art Center and centrally located in the Tuscaloosa area, this park is undergoing renovations to provide accessible pathways and new restrooms, allowing those with mobility challenges to safely navigate the park, and more than two-thirds of artists to have their booths along a paved path. Click here to download the festival map. If you have any questions about the location or your festival application, please do not hesitate to email or call Kentuck Art Center! We are happy to help!

In 2018, the Festival was named 5th in the nation in the category of Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows by Sunshine Artists Magazine, recognized by AL Department of Tourism as one of the top-ten events to attend in Alabama, and by AL Magazine as one of the “Best of Bama" in 2018 and 2022. The U.S. Library of Congress has named the Festival a "Local Legacy." Kentuck has also been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Southern Living, American Style Magazine, & National Geographic Traveler.

Festival proceeds help support the funding of next year’s Festival and the year-round programming of Kentuck Art Center (a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization) in Northport's historic downtown district, where resident artists' studios, exhibition spaces, a community clay studio, and gallery shop are situated around a courtyard and sculpture garden. Kentuck Art Center presents regular exhibitions, showcasing southern folk artists as well as traditional and contemporary American craft by both established and emerging artists.

Kentuck strives to showcase work of exceptional quality and creativity by artists in a variety of areas: contemporary art and sculpture, contemporary craft, traditional/heritage craft, and folk/self-taught artists.

location

Snow Hinton Park
1000 Hargrove Rd E
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405

The Festival is open 8am* - 5pm on Saturday and 9am - 4pm on Sunday. Festival attendees pay $15 per day, children 12 and under are free.

*Participants in the Festival VIP Program at the Benefactor level ($550) have early bird shopping privileges from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Saturday. The park opens to the public at 9 a.m.

Please click on the map to enlarge the image. Having trouble? Download a PDF here.

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Please click on the map to enlarge the image. Having trouble? Download a PDF here.

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who are our artists?

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts is a celebration of artistic style ranging from folk to contemporary art and traditional craft. Throughout the years, many "undiscovered" artists who have exhibited at Kentuck are now in textbooks, galleries, and museums, such as the High Museum in Atlanta and the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. 

See past festival archives here.

the jury process

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts is a juried festival. Artists who apply are numerically scored by a jury panel of 4 arts professionals on the basis of Kentuck's standards of quality, originality, and creativity. Kentuck's jurors change yearly to maintain the anonymity of the jury process and to ensure a balanced breadth of artwork to keep our patrons coming back every year. 

 

A limited number of artists per category are accepted to provide a diverse and balanced show. A score-based waiting list is maintained in each medium, and cancellations are filled with the highest scoring artists in that medium. Artists will find out their jury status on July 5, 2024 by 5:00pm CST

 

The Kentuck Staff has no influence on jury scoring or artist selection. Regardless of how many times you have exhibited in the past, all artists* must apply and jury into the ~250 available spots at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. 

 

*The only artists who do not have to jury in are a few select Program Artists: Guest Artists, Demonstrating Artists, or the previous year's award winners. Artists who do not jury in are not eligible for judges’ awards.

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categories

Artists may in apply in up to 3 categories, but a separate application must be completed for each. Questions about where your art fits in? Please visit our application page on Zapplication for definitions of each category. 

  • Clay

  • Fiber

  • Glass

  • Jewelry

  • Metal

  • Mixed Media

  • Natural Materials

  • Photography

  • Printmaking

  • Sculpture

  • Two-Dimensional

  • Wood

what do i need to apply?

 -4 professional quality images of your work. Images 1-3 show the range of the work you will be displaying. Image 4 is what we call a "booth shot," an image that shows how you plan to display your work at the festival. Please blur out/cover up all signatures or business names in the images. Our jury process is anonymous. 

 

-Fill out the application on Zapplication. Questions on the application include basic questions like your name, your contact information, and your website/social media accounts (if you have them). There are also questions about your process and materials. By submitting this application, you consent to and authorize the use of any and/or all images of works in promotional literature and other promotional endeavors by the Kentuck Museum Association including but not limited to brochure, print, billboards, television advertisements, and internet display. Kentuck will keep all images of accepted work for publicity and Festival archival files.

 

-Pay your non-refundable application fee. Artists who apply before May 15 get the early bird application rate of $35. Applicants who wait until after May 15 (May 16-June 2) get the regular application fee of $50.  Remember, booth location requests are filled by time of application.

The Kentuck Staff has no influence on jury scoring or artist selection. Regardless of how many times you have exhibited in the past, all artists* must apply and jury into the ~250 available spots at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. 

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artists' amenities

  • $12,200 in awards: Best of Show, 2 Awards of Distinction, and 12 Merit Awards. Award winners are automatically invited to the 2025 Festival.

  • A new jury panel every year. Jurors are selected from arts educators, museum curators, art business executives, collectors, and artists not applying to the Festival. 

  • Qualified buyers. Admission per day is $15, with children 12 and under free with a ticketed adult.

  • Booth sitters. Text the number in your artist packet to request a booth sitter.

  • Bottled water available at check-in.

  • An artists' hospitality tent at the Festival. Fresh doughnuts and hot coffee are available at 7:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning. Drinks and snacks are served throughout the Festival. 

  • Drive up unload/load for the majority of booth spaces in Snow Hinton Park. Drive In load/unload is available in all rows EXCEPT for sections F and H. In sections F and H, city employees will be present with ATVs to shuttle artists and their equipment to their booths.

  • Onsite Security during the Festival is provided by City of Tuscaloosa Police Department from Thursday-Sunday. Additionally, the City of Tuscaloosa is installing a new camera system throughout the park.

  • Flat booth rate (no commission).

  • ATM on site. Credit card processing is also available for a 6% processing fee at the Information Booth. (Taxes are NOT charged by Kentuck while processing credit cards. Any artist processing a credit card at the Information Building will need to include taxes in the price given to your customer to be processed, and the artist is responsible for paying taxes to the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, and the state of Alabama)

  • VIP program featuring pre-paid Kentuck Bucks that can only be used to purchase art from artists at the Festival.

  • An artists' party with dinner and live music Saturday night at Kentuck Art Center located less than 5 miles from Snow Hinton Park. Judges are introduced, and awards are announced.

flat booth fees

We have flat booth rates—no commissions! You will be notified of your jury status July 5, 2024, and your booth assignment will be sent to you via email a few days later. 

Booth Fees:

  • $275 for a standard (not on a paved pathway) booth 10’ x 12'

  • $325 for a premium (on a paved pathway) booth 10’x12’

  • $385 for a premium corner booth 10’x12’

Double Wide or Double Deep Booths

  • $460 for a standard double deep booth 10' x 24' ($510 for a premium double deep)

  • $550 for a standard double wide booth 20' x 12' ($650 for a premium double wide)

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will be informed of your booth space, the type of space, and the booth fee due a couple of days after you receive your acceptance e-mail.

Business Licences:

  • County and State license:

    • A combined license from Tuscaloosa County and the State of Alabama ($35) are required. Information will be sent to participating artists after their acceptance. 

  • City of Tuscaloosa business license​:

    • Kentuck Art Center will purchase a Transient Merchant License from the City of Tuscaloosa in lieu of each artist purchasing an individual license. This comes at no cost to the artist.​

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accomodations

There are numerous hotels/motels in the area; however, they fill up quickly. We strongly recommend that you book a room when you apply. Click here to go to Trip Advisor for available hotels in the area. 

If you can't find or can't afford a hotel, Kentuck will attempt to find host families in the area. Applications for the Festival Host Program are available here. These applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. 

The weekend of the 53rd Kentuck Festival of the Arts is NOT a home game weekend for the University of Alabama football team.

need help?

As always, the Kentuck Staff is here for you and can assist you if you have questions regarding your application. Please give us a call or send us an email. Check out the resources below if you're wondering how to craft your application. 

-Make Your Application Stand Out by Amy Amdur; Sunshine Artist Magazine

-How to Get Accepted To More Art Fairs, an article by Artwork Archive

-How to Photograph Sculptures and Other 3D Artwork

-How to photograph 2D Artwork

-Common Mistakes When Photographing Your Artwork With An iPhone & How to Fix Them

-How to take a better booth image, by Larry Berman

-If you want feedback on how to improve your images, post them in this facebook group for tips and tricks from career art show artists.

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summary of important dates

  • March 1, 2024: Applications for #Kentuck53 open with $35 special early bird application rate

  • May 15, 2024; 11:59pm CST: Early Bird Application rate ends 

  • May 16, 2024; 12:00am CST: Application rate increases to $50 for last minute applicants

  • June 2, 2024; 11:59pm CST: Applications for #Kentuck53 CLOSE FOR GOOD. 

  • July 5, 2024: Artists notified of their jury status

  • August 2, 2024: Last day to pay booth fees to secure your spot in #Kentuck53

  • August 9, 2024: Deadline to cancel and receive a 100% booth fee refund

  • August 16, 2024: Deadline to cancel and receive a 50% booth fee refund

  • September 30, 2024: Tuscaloosa county business license deadline

  • October 18-19, 2024: Artist load in (11am-5pm on the 18th; 5-7am on the 19th)

  • October 19-20, 2024: The 53rd Kentuck Festival of the Arts

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are you ready to apply?

Applications for the 53rd Kentuck Festival will open March 1, 2024. 

If you have any questions, please call us! Our staff is happy to help.

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