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repurposed: exhibition recap

"Repurposed" is on display in Kentuck's Museum Gallery and Teer Gallery from March 7, 2024- April 29, 2024. This show features the intricate and thoughtfully designed mixed media works of Penny Dobson, Kerry Leasure, Debra Mager, Betsy Youngquist, Elayne Goodman, Laura Walker, and Diana Vest. These women artists use items and imagery that are traditionally feminine—or associated with a woman’s role as caretaker—such as dolls, toys, love letters, and kitchen items, transforming these objects and images into unexpected pieces of art.


A few of the participating artists at March 2024 Art Night. L-R: Kerry Leasure, Elayne Goodman, Laura Walker, Penny Dobson. Not Pictured: Debra Mager, Diana Vest, and Betsy Youngquist


Elayne Goodman

Elayne Goodman was born in 1940 between the Great Depression and World War II, when the mantra "waste not, want not" was a prevalent part of everyday life.

"I was born into it....It is still the greatest blessing of my life. there are no dull days. There is always something I want to do."

Elayne is one of five siblings, and four of them are artists. She participated in the Kentuck Festival of the Arts for 41 years, and during that time as amassed a great many followers of her vibrant work. You can also purchase her work in Kentuck's Gallery Shop or online at https://shop.kentuck.org/.


Kerry Leasure


Kerry Leasure creates jewelry using unconventional found items, and vintage ephemera, utilizing a combination of collage, sculpted epoxy resin, and layering techniques. She places emphasis on the meaning of the objects and their relationships to each other, much like a poem or a novel, to create a cohesive storyteller piece.

"Taking objects and relating them together. That's where the story begins."



Laura Walker


Laura Walker taught art classes and managed an art studio in Cullman, AL. She has been doing art festivals and gallery shows in the the southeast for a decade. Her work is about emotion, meaning, and soul. She says,

I am interested in painting emotion. It's the reason I make art, it's the reason I collect art."

She loves to repurpose objects and has a strong obsession with texture in her mixed media work.

"It feels like love when people give me bags of junk."



Penny Dobson


Penny Dobson knew that she was an artist since the age of 10. She retired from teaching in 2020, moved to Alabama and is now a full time artist.

"I find myself working 12 hour days because I just want to keep creating."

She has been making art and taking it to shows for 27 years. When she was an art teacher in an economically disadvantaged area, having little funding for supplies made her look at things differently. She was always trying to supplement her supplies with whatever she could find.

"So, I think it comes naturally to see everything as a possibility for art."



Diana Vest


In 2016, a breast cancer diagnosis altered the course of Diana Vest's life. Following 13 surgeries in a single year, and a challenging recovery, she found solace and inspiration in creating something extraordinary – her first robot.  She called them “Junkyard Bots.”


Leaving behind a 20 plus year career, she embarked on a new path fueled by creativity and whimsy. Her artistic medium of choice is antique treasures and the art of assemblage.

"My art is a celebration of nostalgia, a reminder of simpler times when childhood memories were made with timeless toys."

Diana lives a nomadic lifestyle with her Great Dane, Deacon, traveling across the country to share her creations at art shows, including the Kentuck Festival of the Arts.



Debra Mager


Debra Mager's professional experience includes account management in advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments. Although she worked around creative people, being an artist never entered her mind until she discovered mosaic art about 13 years ago.  

"I got the hang of it and never stopped...For me, mosaic art is my refuge.  It’s my therapy.  It’s my joy.  It's my escape."

Her work represents a departure from the stress of everyday life.  It is uplifting, fantastical, pretty, and even funny. She strives for beauty, fascination, and joy in all her work.



Betsy Youngquist


When Betsy Youngquist was a child, her family took an airstream camper trip throughout the Northwest US and Western Canada, introducing Betsy to First Nations, Indigenous American and Inuit artwork and people. Betsy attributes her love of beads, and the power to incorporate mythological and spiritual understandings through art, to that early encounter. To this day, Betsy admires cultures where art is a sacred creation, and a bridge between the spiritual with the mundane.


Betsy is known for her innovative beaded mosaics. Creating through the narrative lens of surrealistic anthropomorphism, Betsy’s sculptures explore the magical connection between man and the natural world. When creating her embellished objects, Betsy collaborates with sculptor R. Scott Long in designing and constructing the forms. Many pieces starts as a unique carving. The techniques Betsy uses are self-taught.

"The creative process is an awareness shift. It takes us into a realm of experience where we are greater than we know."


--- This exhibition opened on March Art Night, and several of the participating artists gave an artist talk about their work. See it below!



Visit Kentuck's Museum and Teer Galleries to experience this one-of-a-kind show, open Monday - Friday 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday - Sunday 12:oo pm to 4:00 pm. Please call Kentuck at 205-758-1257 or email mnelko@kentuck.org to inquire about purchasing any available works.


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