Corianne Egan | The Sun
By Corianne Egan
Walking into the Wastelanders’ exhibit in an ancient building on the corner of 10th and Park Ave. in Paducah is unlike walking into most art exhibitions in town.
First off, you are greeted with a life-size human figure made entirely of gourds. A quick look around the walls and it’s clear: These aren’t your average artists.
The Wastelanders host their first of their two annual shows this weekend at the building that used to house Joe’s Market in Paducah. The building, like the artists exhibiting there, is part of Paducah’s historical landscape.
“We are different people with different personalities,” said Kristi Hanson, a member of the Wastelanders. “But at the end of the day, we are all friends and we all support each other.”
The show features art by 10 artists of different media. Along with traditional paintings, there is three-dimensional art, handmade furniture, ceramics and gourd art.
“My work takes about 20 to 30 hours for each piece,” said E.J. Abell, an artist exhibiting with the group who works on assemblage pieces. “They all have a lot of meaning behind them. Every piece has a story.”
The Wastelanders formed in 2006 after the Sun quoted a fellow artist as saying that Paducah’s art scene was a “wasteland” before the Lower Town district became the arts hub of the city. Most of the members had lived in the area and weren’t always included in the Lower Town discussion.
“Working with these people really reminds you not to dilly-dally and to keep your ideas fresh,” Abell said. “Being part of the Wastelanders means there is always a show coming up.”
Now, twice a year, the Wastelanders get a chance to hold events. Their events usually turn into more of a party, with food, live music and a lot of socializing.
“Art is meant to be fun,” Hanson said. “It’s our reason to throw a party, our gift to the community. We celebrate it.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.