Midway News and Views
Midway News Woodford County Barrel Project The Woodford County ‘Sense of Identity’ Barrel Project is in full swing, with the bourbon barrel chairs painted by local artists now on display in Woodford County. Some of these barrel chairs are in Midway – one is outside Damselfly Gallery. It was sponsored by Woodford Reserve and painted by Midway train enthusiast Christy Reaves in the design of a train. The other was decorated by local popular artist Enrique Gonzalez – whose work is available in Damselfly Gallery to purchase – and his barrel chair is on display outside City Hall, owned by the City of Midway and the Midway Business Association. A trail of these chairs with their locations can be found at leaflets located in Midway and Versailles in local merchant’s stores. The barrels will be auctioned off on Friday, Aug. 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Versailles after being on display for six weeks. Reminder for Heritage Day on July 27 The Chesapeake and Ohio steam locomotive 2716 will be visiting our hometown as a highlight to a day of live music, food vendors, historical displays, walking tours of Midway downtown, African American heritage celebrations, nature walks in Walter Bradley Park, Midway Christian Church tours at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., children’s’ activities at the Midway Branch Library and of course, a chance to get close to the visiting 400-ton train. The train will eventually set up residence at the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center in Estill County. The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, a 501 (c)(3) is hoping to revitalize the Appalachian economy in that region through the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center. Several train-related activities will be presented, including the dedication of a revitalized model train layout of downtown Midway, a vintage train exhibit and a trackless train ride through town. All events are free and open to the public. The locomotive is expected to be in Midway from around 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The schedule is subject to change. Both Kentucky Railway Museum and Kentucky Steam Heritage will have booths at the event to promote rail tourism.
Midway Views Damselfly Gallery – beautiful art by local artists, right here in Midway Damselfly Gallery has been a popular store in Midway since 2005. Originally owned by jewelry artists Eric and Mary Thoreson, the store was named by Mary and has been a thriving hub for local artists ever since. New owner Rob Mills bought the store from farm neighbors Eric and Mary in 2017, after they retired, and he has continued to showcase work at the Gallery from more than 200 local artists. Art that you can see there includes pottery from Cindi Cusick and Julie Hagood; paintings, prints and gifts by Ellen Skidmore; art by Norma Finger; art by Dagmar Steiner and Enrique Gonzalez; jewelry, leather goods, wood turned items, prints and locally made accessories and home décor. Mills, originally from Pennsylvania, came to Kentucky to go to college and never left. After graduating with a degree in Dramatic Languages and History, he turned to his first love – horses. He is a horse person essentially, with a big passion for local artists and for our town of Midway. Mills serves on the board of the Midway Renaissance committee and is part of the affordable housing task force for the Midway City Council. Mills even recruited his mother to move from Pennsylvania to help in the store two days a week. Mills will tell you, “She runs the shop better than I do!” Both Mills and his mother have an equestrian background – his mother competed in endurance riding and Mills’ passion is dressage. Mills came to know the Gallery through his sale of wood-working items in the store over the years. This is a hobby for Mills that he cultivated after studying industrial arts in high school. When Eric and Mary decided to retire, the opportunity to take over the reins of the gallery was one Mills couldn’t resist! “Most of the paintings are on consignment, but we own most of the items we showcase on the floor – from jewelry and pottery to leather goods and home wares,” said Mills. “About 80 percent of everyone who comes in here are tourists from out of town. We sell mainly to horse tourists and bourbon tourists. … They are here for the Horse Park or Keeneland. The show jumpers come in, the eventers, the Saddlebred people are in right now for the Junior League Horse Show at the Horse Park. We see horse people and fans. They come in wanting to take a piece of Kentucky home.” Mills chatted to several customers as we talked in the Gallery and spoke with one about the “Midway to Love” movie that was just filmed here in Midway (free showing coming up at the Kentucky Theater on July 23 by the way). “They took a long time to film it. I was amazed! They were filming a scene one night at the coffee shop. They had to pull up in a car, get out of the car and go into the coffee shop. They must have filmed that scene 9,000 times! I sat here and watched them. Drive up, get out, go in. Over and over again!” The same customer had bought an Enrique Gonzalez painting from Damselfly Gallery the previous summer (Gonzalez painted the mural on the side of the Gallery and the barrel outside City Hall). Visitors to the quaint local art gallery are often impressed by the high quality and wide range of art available. Artists are sourced from local art fairs by Mills and those who bring their work to the Gallery for possible inclusion. The Damselfly Gallery has gained quite a reputation over the years for high quality art pieces by well-known Kentucky artisans – and Mills notes several repeat customers who return to collect another piece of art by the same artist, or to take another piece of Kentucky home with them. One Gallery artist, Dagmar Steiner, paints many of the Old Friends retired Thoroughbred racehorses and currently hanging in the Gallery is an exquisite painting of Kentucky Derby-winner Silver Charm, which is one of the paintings featured in a new coffee table book called “The Art of Old Friends.” Mills recalls one customer who came in to buy a large framed print of Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah showing the horse’s Triple Crown wins and win tickets. “Yes, a lady came in one day and liked it and bought it. She said, ‘Wrap it and ship it and have it in San Diego before I get back’!” Mills said. “No problem, we do that kind of thing all the time, but this was big and heavy and glass, but we did it.” “Then another lady came in right after and said, ‘My friend just came in and bought a big American Pharoah framed print. Do you have another one?’ So, I said ‘I can get you another one.’ And then sure enough. Three times! Three people from the same group of people all wanted the same framed print!” laughed Mills. Local artist Joe Bonomi explained the draw of the Damselfly Gallery, “The damselfly is close kin to the better-known dragonfly. But it is smaller, more colorful, and some would say more elegant. In much the same way, the Damselfly Gallery is a quaint gem in the heart of the Midway business district. As an artist, I love being represented by this gallery. I love being amongst other artists who support and challenge one another.’’ Church News Midway Presbyterian Thanks to all who helped make the Midway Community Vacation Bible School (VBS) a success. July blessing box collection is tuna. A Christian education meeting will be held this Sunday at noon in the Fellowship Hall. Girl Scout Troop 1913 is publishing their Midway Community Garden Cookbook and sponsors are needed. The cost of the publication and printing is $660. Donations may be made to Midway Community Garden and donors will receive a free cookbook.