Seeking Monroe Art for Exhibit

by | 16 Mar, 2010

The worldwide bluegrass community will celebrate the Centennial of Bill Monroe, The Father of Bluegrass Music, in 2010 and 2011. Events will be held internationally, as bluegrass has a following in dozens of nations with a total fan base in the tens of millions. There will be films made and concerts, special exhibits and events taking place, many centered in this region, especially in this museum and at the Bill Monroe Homeplace in nearby Rosine, KY.

The Monroe Centennial Exhibit – The Project

As a means of organically celebrating art-with-art, we are inviting visual artists to create a special Monroe Centennial Exhibit that will remain on display in this museum from 23rd Jun 2010 through to 11th Sep 2012. This equates to one year before and after the 100th anniversary of Monroe’s birthday on 13th Sep 2011. Each artist will create a painting based on an original Monroe song. The exhibit will include song lyrics on a plaque beside each painting. Recordings of Bill Monroe playing these songs will emanate throughout the Exhibit. The resulting art will be professionally photographed, and DVDs of the exhibit will be made available to bluegrass festivals and events. (Their uses could be many, esp. as an onstage slide show behind musicians performing at festivals.)

Sale of the Artwork

All the works will be for sale after the exhibit is dismounted. It is planned that artists will receive 60% of the proceeds from the sale and the museum will retain 40%.

Project Director

The museum is partnering with Rex Robinson, a well-known Kentucky artist who has a native’s in-depth knowledge of Monroe as a folk legend. He will work with artists as necessary to get their works ready for display, and he will help curate the exhibit. Robinson is a Monroe enthusiast and has mounted several exhibits inspired by Monroe and bluegrass music.


Robinson will work with a panel of jurors, making certain that Monroe’s ethos is present in the artistic renderings of his songs. He will select a panel of jurors, provide them with criteria, and lead the selection process. He will help museum staff and volunteers hang the exhibit in the most artistic way.

International Publicity

The museum will send press releases to the 169 bluegrass associations around the world for inclusion in their newsletters. We will promote the exhibit in our newsletter, on our website, and on the museum’s radio station, RBI: Radio Bluegrass International. Just prior to the Exhibit Opening on 23rd June at ROMP, we will send a press release to our extensive media group and our email blast list of members and bluegrass fans.

Benefits to Artists

Artists working on the project will benefit from being included in a prestigious international exhibit. Bill Monroe was a consummate artist who painted with lyrics. If selected, the artwork will be on display in a major cultural institution – The International Bluegrass Music Museum – as well as on stages throughout the nation and hopefully in many other countries during the Monroe Centennial. In this way, the art will be viewed by millions who are predisposed to view it favorably. The art work will be included in the overall sale of the exhibit created during this project, with a standard commission being paid to the artists.

For more information visit the International Bluegrass Music Museum, me********@bl*************.org">Email Gabrielle Gray or call Rex Robinson at 270-729-4147.