Steve Sawyer has lived all over the place. Despite his Lexington, Kentucky upbringing, he is lived many places, from New York City to LA, and he has visited places all over the world, from Paris to Beijing. Being an artist, a place of residence is a strategic decision. Living in a place that both inspires you artistically and provides you with opportunity can be a difficult line to walk.
Versailles, Kentucky. I have always wondered why Steve chose to have his gallery here. His work is known worldwide, so a Versailles, Kentucky art gallery and class location seemed odd. Although, being in the space and coming to class every week, it makes sense.
Art 4 God is located just off Main Street Versailles. Driving past it, one can see the courthouse and a large church just ahead. Across the street is the First Christian Life Center. The window in the upstairs studio overlooks Sassy Nails and everything just feels, small town. It feels small town, but it feels… historic.
What I asked Steve what he likes about small town, that is one of the first things he said, he loves history. Versailles, Kentucky has a lot of history, and with the building being at least 100 years old, Art 4 God certainly feels a part of that. The front door is chipped, with layers and layers of paint showing through, almost a work of art in and of itself. Areas of the building show the original lath and plaster making the walls. The woodwork is all original. It is the perfect backdrop for the beautiful large canvases that are showcased there.
There is a chalkboard in the student studio that is covered with “Steve-isms,” interesting or funny things Steve or one of us have said in class that we just have to write down. Being in class really makes you feel a part of something, I think part of that is the fact that the class is in a small town.
This past class we talked about the religious aspect of Versailles. Kentucky is definitely in the Bible belt. There is a church on every corner here, in most of Central Kentucky. However, it seems, from what Steve has observed, most of the churches in Versailles are cooperative and friendly with one another. Steve said that he has a lot of respect for that, for being comfortable enough in what you believe that you don’t speak poorly of or look down on others who may have a different view. Being most well known as a Christian Artist painting Jesus paintings, I thought this perspective was interesting and insightful.
Having an art class in Versailles, Kentucky is really the perfect setting, there is history, there are horses, there are historic buildings, there’s culture. I guess if it is the perfect place for an art class, it would make sense that it would be a perfect place for an artist.