Saturday, March 28, 2009

Paducah, Kentucky! Who Knew?

FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2009

Never even heard of Paducah before All About Us was selected for the Southern Circuit Tour.  I didn't know what to expect but my Google searches indicated that the town was rejuvenated by artists from across the United States who were offered run down buildings by the city for only $1.00.  The only caveat was that these artists had to move there, renovate the dilapidated buildings and turn them into artist studios or restore them into the beautiful homes they once were decades before.  Well, this enticing offer got more than a few artists' attention.  If you ask them to build it...they will come (for a buck!).

Yesterday's visionary master plan has paid off tremendously today.  Paducah is a very charming, quaint and impressive city full of beautiful buildings, an arthouse movie theater, great restaurants, art galleries galore, an impressive downtown, the popular coffee shop and most importantly a very large and eclectic group of artists who now call this close-knit community on the banks of the Ohio River their home.

I met my especially kind hosts, Sue and Harvey Sadow, at their home before we headed to dinner where I would meet a sampling of their awesome friends (and Paducah "movers and shakers").  After dinner, we headed to the town's arthouse movie theater and the place was packed!  The post-screening Q&A was very informative and entertaining, if I must say so myself.  After the All About Us screening Sue, Harvey and I chatted with and enjoyed full-bodied glasses of red wine with the world-renown quilt maker (no, really world renown!) Caryl Bryer Fallert at her lovely home (artist mansion), where I stayed for the night.  

I discovered during my visit that Paducah is the quilt capitol of the United States and is #2 in North America!  In fact, Paducah boosts the top-notch National Quilt Museum that I visited before leaving town.  The museum's executive director, May Louise Zumwait, attended our screening and was kind enough to offer me an informative private tour of the museum's inspiring exhibits.  Ruby Dee's All About Us character is a quilter and I received numerous comments about our movie's quilt connection.  Wise quilter "Ms. Ella" was a great character to have in a movie round these parts.  Today I have a greater appreciation and even more respect for quilters.  

Paducah is a community I will visit again...the next time with my wife, Christine, and our four children.  Paducah, Kentucky...who knew.  -Michael Swanson