My name is Ruth Baggett. I’m a visual storyteller. My work is uniquely American and specific to Kentucky. I explore the power of language using the Southern vernacular of storytelling. I combine strong cultural symbols, such as totems or prayer flags, with carefully orchestrated stories, that emote the human spirit, inviting personal reflection, and spawning conversation.
With generations of family and my own experiences living in Paducah, Kentucky, I have a personal connection to the history, culture, people, and places of this special part of the country. My distant relatives built the 3rd cabin on the banks of the Ohio river at the foot of Broadway. The same river flooded our family home on 6th street in the catastrophic 1937 flood. Grandfather Jones sold his meat in the Paducah Market House, the same building where today I have been involved with the Yeiser Art Center since I was sixteen. I must have Western Kentucky barbeque sauce coursing through my veins!
My work is meant to inspire people to talk and “trade tales”. Storytelling was part of growing up at my grandparents’ house on Harrison Street. My family stories convey our southern expressions and culture yet represent universal themes. Through my work, I invite my audience to that small living room on Harrison Street where one can feel a sense of community, family, love, loss, and laughter. With dwindling civility and almost nonexistent oral traditions, these precious interactions between people help to create tolerance and understanding. Like a good story being told and retold many times, my art reveals new discoveries and remains entertaining with each repeated viewing.