A.I.R. Studio Paducah, now in its 17th year as an artist residency program, is situated in the heart of the LowerTown Arts District, Paducah, Kentucky. Since 2004, creatives from around the country and abroad have passed through A.I.R. doors to make the most of the space and a stretch of undistracted time as envisioned by founder Alonzo Davis, himself an artist.
Drawn to Paducah by the Artist Relocation Program, Davis initially considered LowerTown as the location for a personal studio/retreat. Inspired however by working retreat experiences in California, Costa Rica, Connecticut, Wyoming, Colorado and Virginia, Davis decided instead to establish an artist residency program. Not only would visiting artists benefit, but interaction with a changing influx of creatives from outside could lend an additional dynamic to the evolving LowerTown community. An active residency program would also heighten arts district visibility in the world of artist’s communities nationally and internationally.
In 2004, as soon as renovations at 621 Madison Street, originally the private home of a traveling salesman, a watchman and a laundromat owner successively, were complete, A.I.R. Studio Paducah welcomed its first resident—painter, Pinkney Herbert of Memphis. Soon to follow was printmaker, Maritza Davila, also of Memphis and on her heels, Adriene Cruz, a fiber artist from Portland, Oregon arrived. Other early residents included Benjamin Kelley, sculptor, Dave Malone, poet, the art quilter, Anita Knox, and digital artist, Monica Smith. Paducah area artists and writers also utilized A.I.R. space from time to time.
For most of its existence, A.I.R. residents have been visual and fiber artists, a few photographers and a scattering of creatives in other disciplines. The application process has since expanded and opened up to writers, architects, composers and improvisational choreographers. We are currently attracting and enjoying an influx of writers to the program. Geographically, A.I.R. residents hail from all over the U.S. east, west, north, south and Canada.
A.I.R. Studio Paducah conducts a competitive selection process. Applications are peer-reviewed on a basis of the quality of past work and the applicant’s potential to have a productive residency. Applicants must be at least 21 years old. Collaborative pairs and couples are welcome.
Getting to A.I.R. Studio Paducah
Paducah, Kentucky is served by Barkley Regional Airport with jet service to Chicago-O’Hare (two round trips daily) and connections to 150 domestic and a number of international destinations. Regional hubs include Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, St. Louis, Missouri, Carbondale and Chicago, Illinois.
“Call Blue Dot Taxi: 270-821-8220 for transportation from the airport to A.I.R. Studio Paducah-621 Madison Street. Rates are: $2.50 per mile. Fare between A.I.R. and the airport will range between $20- $25. We recommend you call Blue Dot a day in advance of your departure for Paducah to arrange to be picked up at the airport upon arrival. For more info: bluedotcab.com/taxi.”
A.I.R Studio Paducah Advisers
Deborah Ager – writer/poet, Maryland
Jodi Beder – musician, Maryland
Laura Cole – architect, Oregon
Adriene Cruz – fiber artist, Oregon
Nehemiah Dixon III – artist/curator, Maryland
Robert (Bob) Donahue – artist, Maryland
Itzel Lavenderos Hawes – architect/photographer, Mexico
Dave Malone – poet, Missouri
Andrea Prince – artist, West Virginia
Honor Woodard – artist/photographer, Georgia
“The perks of a residency at A.I.R. Studio include time to focus on getting work done and the chance to work in the close-knit atmosphere of the community, which is generally supportive of artists… the studio space is a large open space which accommodates work in a variety of disciplines.”
Erin Hebert, Residency Coordinator (2011-14)