Arts on the Green

Mixed media artist Mueller is returning
to Oldham County art fest

He will join fellow artists in 19th annual
event in La Grange

Arts on the Green

• June 2-3 around the Oldham County, Ky., Courthouse Square. Presented by the Arts Association of Oldham County
• 10-5 Saturday; 10-4 Sunday
• Information:
(502) 222-3822 or visit www.artsonthegreen.com

LA GRANGE, KY. (June 2018) – Sometimes we don’t find our callings – our callings find us. Mixed media artist Robbie Mueller can attest to that. After a 28-year career as an elementary and middle school teacher, Mueller suddenly realized his inclination and talent for folk art. Now he’s a successful artist who holds gallery space in La Grange, Ky., and participates in art events around the country.
Mueller and his artwork will make a return to the 19th Arts on the Green Annual Fine Arts & Crafts festival, organized by the Arts Association of Oldham County. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on Oldham County’s Courthouse Lawn.
At 61, Mueller said he is looking forward to being back at Arts on the Green after a six-year hiatus due to scheduling conflicts. As a mixed-media artist, his festival display will hold a combination of sculptures, paintings, print work and linoleum cut and print pieces.
“Almost all of my art has some salvaged component,” Mueller said. “I often paint on wood or metal. I like the idea of giving something new life and using something old whenever possible.”
Mueller holds a keen interest in folk art. That comes from the inspiration he finds in the simplicity of daily life. Lately, he’s been focusing on African-American folk art.
“They had so much influence on folk art because of their everyday life experiences,” he said.
Mueller also finds inspiration from where it all began – his students. “I often create art based on my classroom experiences with kids.”

Robby Mueller

Mueller, who was born in Louisville, attended Transylvania University to obtain a teaching degree. After graduating, Mueller began his teaching career in Oldham County, where he continues to live. At the end of Mueller’s teaching career, he began building rustic, primitive-style furniture that he started taking to art shows and antique stores. There, his art career began a bit unexpectedly.
“To set the scene for my furniture at these shows, I would create these ‘accessories’ to highlight the furniture – things like sculptures and painted pieces. People came up and started wanting to buy these accessories, and I told them they weren’t for sale.”
Mueller laughed as he recalled a friend telling him that these “accessories” were actually sculptural art. “No wonder people wanted to buy it!” he said.
This discovery led to Mueller’s art career evolving into what it is today. “I finally realized that the art I was doing had value,” he said. “Much to my wife’s chagrin, I have a large collection of, well, she calls it junk. I like to call it future treasures.”
Mueller continues to participate in around three art shows a year, including a national show called Kentuck Festival of the Arts, which takes place in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He said he is looking forward to returning to Arts on the Green and being a part of his local art festival once again. Show chair and Arts Association member Mary Klausing describes Mueller’s work as “out of the box. He brings uniqueness to something so simple.”
Arts on the Green organizers are expecting around 10,000 visitors this year. The festival, which began in 1999, has seen large growth since its grassroots days. “We started with 15 booths, but this year we’re up to 125 booths and artists,” said Klausing, now in her ninth year as Show Chair.
The artwork on display at Arts on the Green consists of nine categories: photography, painting-drawing, glass, craft art, consumables, jewelry, sculpture, fiber, and print-book binding. Mueller will be featured in the sculpture, painting and craft art categories.
Klausing noted that jewelry is one of the most popular categories at Arts on the Green, as well as outdoor and garden décor created by glass artists. “Everything is so bright and makes you feel good. These categories are very popular in summer.”
One of Klausing’s goals when she began as Show Chair was to change Arts on the Green from an art show to a festival. “That’s when we started adding music and food vendors. We add things every year and try to make it better every year.”
Foods ranging from traditional fare to healthier fare like salads will be available. For those who are interested in adult beverages, there will be designated sections of the festival where attendees can taste-test craft beer or homemade sangria.
There will also be live music at Arts on the Green from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The acts are coordinated by Oldham County’s Parks and Recreation Department. Red Steel, a percussion group from Owensboro High School, will be returning this year with a performance at 10 a.m. Saturday.
One new feature of Arts on the Green will be the introduction of a Community Arts section. Residents of Oldham County will be able to showcase individual artwork that represents their businesses and organizations.
“This will give members of the community the opportunity to show how they use art in their professions,” Klausing said. Oldham County Singers and Kosair Charities are two of the groups that will be displaying in the Community Arts section.
Several art students from Oldham County High School will have their works on display at the festival. “We want them to get a feel for what it’s like to be in an art festival,” said Klausing. Arts on the Green will also host a Kids Art Center, where children attending the festival can create notecards that will be entered into a contest. Two winners will be selected, and their artwork will be hung in the Arts Association’s Gallery 104.

• For more information, call (502) 222-3822 or visit www.aaooc.org.

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