Tucked away on Berea Exit 77 off the Interstate Highway 75 is a gem of a travel center, a place of respite and art. Perfect for Christmas gift shopping when looking for the unique.
Art Is A Lifestyle
Washroom flowers show off artisan pottery
Rest Stop Or Gallery Hop?
When I first stopped at the Kentucky Artisan Center I was on my way to Cleveland, Tennessee, where my daughter was attending Lee College. I was delighted by the well landscaped building, and generous parking spaces with the air of an art gallery that is geared towards giving a sense of Kentucky’s hospitality.
Everything about the place shows the attention to excellence that craftsmen give to their creations, and it makes a welcoming stop for travelers. Everything has a handcrafted feel, including the stone walkways and outdoor patio. The story of Berea’s famed handcrafts and the early native inhabitants are displayed through the entry, starting in the parking lot.
Within the spacious building are two parts, one dedicated to a gallery hop of Kentucky artisan offerings, while the other holds a cafe with plenty of seating, and the best, cleanest restrooms in the nation. They even have seasonal flower arrangements that give the atmosphere of a hospitable inn.
Homespun Crafts Make Great Gifts
There are all sorts of baskets, fabric arts, wooden wares that make unique gifts.
Arts And Crafts Displays
The Gallery of Arts And Crafts
My favorite part of the stop is to stretch my legs walking through the gallery of art, and looking at tastefully displayed crafts on shelves within the shopping part of the Artisan Center. I have purchased unique gifts for the family on my trips to Atlanta, and treasures for myself. From beautifully crafted wood items to oil paintings, finely carved and painted gourd art, horsehair pottery, handthrown pottery, prints, photography, glass art, there is a well curated array of the types of crafts that the artists of Berea can produce.
From inexpensive to fine art that is worth every penny,with each trip I attempt to buy something that catches my eye. I have some fine handmade baskets, pottery mugs, and several paintings that adorn my own home, all thanks to my stops at this place. I love it, and it is actually one of the highlights of my trips. In fact, one of these days I wish to travel just to Berea to further explore their art community, but in the meantime, this stop by the side of the road has provided a peek into a rich and varied legacy of the Appalachian culture.
Things to know
open 9:30am – 3:30 pm
open 9am – 6pm
open only during center hours
serves Kentucky cuisine
showcases Kentucky products
clean and modern
Open during the hours shown, daily | closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
Have You Been There?
- There are some walkways and trails, although I haven’t had opportunityÂ to follow them.
- There are selections of music CDs available, books, food items, all Kentucky based in flavor and inspiration.
- A friendly information desk attendant greets you as you enter the main door.
Christmas Time Trips
Christmas Goodies -along the way
Berea Has An Artful History
Berea,Kentucky began its existence as an Abolitionist town from rural beginnings. As time progressed and laws in Kentucky dashed the original hopes of an integrated society, the town became known mainly for its college and its lumber industry. Then began an interest, in the wake of the Arts and Crafts Movement, in reviving the culture and traditions of Appalachia. Although some of the highest ambitions of the visionaries of Berea were not realized, it did become a hub of the American Crafts Revival.
As An Artist
I not only enjoy viewing and buying art by other artists, I learn by seeing the wares that are displayed. What kinds of frames are the best for a painting? What do gourd art methods look like up close? What interesting ways do artists combine materials to produce something useful?
Whenever we visit gallery exhibits it tells us something, and this gem of a display refreshes my spirit . It tells me that art is alive and present in our daily lives. The surprise of fresh flower arrangements that adorn a clean bathroom is as much art as the big oil painting on the wall with spotlights. That teaches me something, and speaks volumes to the way our lives are enriched.
When roadwork was done in the area, the name of the address changed, but the center is still located in the same place it always was. Once listed as a location on Walnut Meadow Road, its road is now known as Artisan Way.
Look For Exit 77, off of Route 75
Gallery of arts and crafts, including handmade jewelry, with a cafe and well kept restrooms. Be sure to have some money and space set aside for gifts
Road Name Has Changed
- 13 Things To Do in Berea, Kentucky
Berea Things To Do: Reviews and photos of things to see in Berea, Kentucky from real travelers and locals.
- Early Black Berea–Berea’s History
Abolitionist beginnings of Berea, Kentucky
- Kentucky Artisan Center Facebook Page
Get all the news and connect on facebook
I love the clean restrooms, don’t you?
Â© 2016 Ilona Erwin