‘An Inspired Evening’ will celebrate artists and curator


Brady Saylor

Janie Welker, curator of the UK Art Museum, poses for a photo on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, at the UK Art Museum in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Brady Saylor | Staff

Kristen Roberts, Reporter

The UK Art Museum will host a fundraising event on Feb. 26 in the Singletary Center for the Arts. 

Janie Welker, curator for the UK Art Museum, will be honored at “An Inspired Evening,” where the museum will highlight some of her more recent work before she retires in the fall. 

Welker currently has three exhibits on display: “Site of a Dangerous Leap,” “Sinners and Saints” and “Ralph Eugene Meatyeard: Georgetown Street.”

These exhibits consist of photographs, drawings, sculptures and more from multiple artists.

Welker said she has found many eye-catching pieces of art over her 18 years at UK and wanted to showcase some of the things that haven’t been used or seen in many years. 

“Sometimes I’m just going through storage, and I just see things and I make notes, like thinking ‘I’d really like to use this in a show,’” Welker said. 

As curator of collections and exhibitions, she is responsible for planning and executing shows and working with artists or donors to broaden the museum’s collection.

Another big part of Welker’s job is knowing how to place these pieces of art in a meaningful way. She said some of her exhibits were historical and have a deep meaning, while others are made more accessible.

Welker has contributed around 600 photographs to the museum’s collection during her time at UK. She also said she organizes the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series, which allows internationally known photographers or people who write about or teach photography to come once a year and speak to students.

The fundraising event will also recognize many of the artists’ work the museum has used in exhibits over the years, according to UKNOW some of these artists will be attending the event. 

Multiple events that will cover more about Welker’s current exhibits and honoring what’s left of her time at UK will follow the fundraiser. 

Welker said it felt strange but good to be recognized by UK for her years of contribution. 

She said she has been working since she was a teenager and is now ready for retirement.

“It’s not like it won’t be without sadness, but at the same time I’m really looking forward to having a different level of freedom, you know, in my life,” Welker said. 

Tickets for the event are available online for $125 a ticket. According to UKNOW, “all proceeds support the UK Art Museum’s year-round programs and free admission policy.”