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KSB founder chosen for Governor’s Award in the Arts

By Rachel Adkins,

Curator and founder of the KSB miniature collection at KYGMC, Kaye Savage Browning.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the recipients of the 2022 Governor’s Awards in the Arts, including Kaye Savage Browning.

Since 1977, the Governor’s Awards in the Arts have been given out to nominees annually.

The Kentucky Arts Council seeks nominations and presents awards to recipients on behalf of the Governor of Kentucky. The program’s purpose is to expand and diversify advocacy and promotion of the arts and honor recipients in a recognition ceremony. A ceremony for 2022 recipients will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 10 in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.

Browning was chosen to receive the Milner Award. This award is given to nominees who are considered to be outstanding philanthropists or artists or have made other contributions to the arts. Along with this award, there are eight others. These include the Artist Award, Business Award, Community Arts Award, Education Award, Folk Heritage Award, Government Award, Media Award, and National Award. According to Browning, the Milner Award is a most distinguishable honor.

“I am so overwhelmed and honored. I’m almost speechless,” said Browning as she dealt with the attention she was receiving on social media. “I haven’t slept much at all since hearing the news. I am so overjoyed.”

Browning said she feels honored to stand next to past recipients. According to her, they are all incredible people and part of her inspiration as a curator. Robert Penn Warren, a famous poet, is a name that comes to her mind. After being introduced to him in 1959 by her high school French teacher, Browning has remained amazed by his achievements. She is incredibly touched she is able to share an award with him.

Before being chosen as a recipient of the award, Browning was given the Buffalo Trace Community Leadership Award in 2018 for her contribution to exponential growth in tourism in the area. In recent years, tourists worldwide have come to see the collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center Minatures Gallery, started by Browning 50 years ago.

Browning is the founder and curator of the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniature Collection featured at the museum in Maysville. This exhibit features 1/12-scale miniatures created by artisans from Kentucky, Europe, and many other places. Browning’s goal is to inspire anybody who views her miniatures. No matter what age or background someone comes from, Browning wants everybody to find hope in her collection.

“Everybody’s going to relate to it differently,” said Browning “Each person who walks through the gallery is touched in some way by what they see.”

In her eyes, her collection is one of many ways to relive her childhood. There are vignettes that feature buildings from downtown Maysville, including the Cox building, Russell Theatre, and Bethel Baptist Church. Browning hopes to be able to remind or inform community members of Maysville’s history when viewing the gallery.

Each miniature was hand-made by an artisan. Some vignettes were created by one artist, some were created by multiple artists. Browning is inspired by artisans worldwide and feels she is unable to have gotten to this point without them.

“I could not have done this without all this amazing artistry and these artisans. They are my palette,” said Browning. “There would be no miniature collection without the incredible talent of the artisans involved.”

Browning continuously admires and oftentimes finds herself speechless at her collection. She cannot believe what artisans are able to accomplish in creating miniatures. According to Browning, the art form is just breathtaking. Each piece is able to function as if it were life-size and real. To her, that is remarkable.

Whether it is through music, painting, collecting, or sculpting, Browning feels art is how people can feel connected to each other.

“Any art form is a way to communicate with people. It’s a connection we have to the artist. When we are moved, it is because of the connection,” said Browning.

Browning is eager to attend the award ceremony on Jan. 10, as she claims she remains in utter disbelief she was chosen for the Milner Award.

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