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judges for the 51st kentuck festival of the arts

New York Times Writer & Longtime Gallery Owner to Judge 2022 Festival

Kentuck Art Center is excited to welcome Claudia Dreifus and Jeanine Taylor as judges for the 51st Kentuck Festival of the Arts on October 15-16, 2022 at Kentuck Park in Northport, Alabama.


Judges award a total of $7,000 to exhibiting artists at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. On Saturday, October 15, Judges will numerically score exhibiting artists based on quality, originality, design, composition, technique, and overall presentation.


about claudia dreifus:

Claudia Dreifus is an award-winning journalist, Columbia University professor, author, and avid art collector. Her journalism career began in the mid-1960s, and during her many decades of political and cultural reporting, she interviewed the Dalai Lama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Toni Morrison, and others. In 1998, she began writing for The New York Times Tuesday Science Section, where she spent more than twenty years interviewing the brightest minds in science, including Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall. Her weekly series, “A Conversation With…” transformed science journalism and made complex scientific and health concepts accessible to the public. 


Dreifus began collecting art when she was traveling around the world, particularly Central America, for her work as a political and cultural journalist. She never bought t-shirts or other classic tourist souvenirs—she purchased art from the community.


Dreifus’ introduction to Alabama art and the Kentuck Festival of the Arts came in the early 2000s when she was on an oral history assignment for AARP: The Magazine. As part of the assignment, she interviewed Civil Rights Movement participants including mixed media artist Bernice Sims and several Gee’s Bend Quilters. This project was how she met Georgine Clarke, Kentuck’s founder.


Dreifus is particularly drawn to outsider art, and Alabama’s art specifically, in part because of her own emotional reaction to the work and her interest in Civil Rights. Dreifus continues to collect art from living artists and proudly displays her collection in her New York City apartment, where she says wall space has become extremely limited and she needs to begin rotating her collection.


Dreifus is a professor at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, where she teaches masters and doctoral students the particulars of science journalism. She is affiliated with Columbia’s Climate School and continues to contribute regularly to The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Quanta. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by The American Society of Journalism and Authors and named an Honorary Member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society, for her transformation of science journalism. She is the author of six books, and her most recent publication, Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—and What We Can Do About It, is co-authored with her husband, Andrew Hacker. Dreifus and Hacker live in New York City with their beloved dog, Elvis, and enjoy visiting the American Folk Art Museum near their home.

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about jeanine taylor:

Jeanine Taylor is a native Floridian from Miami. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Education and taught in the public school system for fourteen years. After a career in sales with a Fortune 500 company specializing in educational technology systems, Taylor created her own business.


A love of Southern art and culture led Taylor to open a gallery in Winter Park, FL in 1999 specializing in the genre.  She steadily developed a strong and loyal group of supporters, encouraging them to build collections rather than “just buy art." In 2005, she moved her gallery to historic Sanford and continues to specialize in contemporary folk art from Florida and the deep south.


Most recently, she was promoted in an Orlando Business Journal article entitled, “Filling Your Business with Original Art”.


One of the best aspects of collecting art, and an important part of her business, is getting to know the artists. Taylor has developed strong relationships with her artists as she travels throughout the south. Her mission has always been to educate the public about the artist’s stories as well as their art.

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