PADUCAH – West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Paducah School of Art and Design opens its exhibition “Paducah, Our Legacy, Our Future - Paintings by Joan Dance,” with a reception Jan. 16.

Our Legacy, Our Future showcases the paintings, past and present, of Paducah native and noted African-American folk artist Joan Dance. The reception, which is free and open to the public, will be hosted in the Bill Ford Gallery from 5-6:30 p.m. The gallery is located in Paducah School of Art and Design’s (PSAD) 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street.

The exhibition is accompanied by “Dystopia,” an exhibition of photographic works by PSAD photography students interpreting the themes and events of Ray Bradbury’s novel “Fahrenheit 451.” “Dystopia” is presented in collaboration with the Carson Center for the Performing Arts and its National Endowment for the Arts funded Big Read program. The Big Read connects themes in “Fahrenheit 451” to relevant current day topics through reading, discussions, and artistic impressions of the text and real world implications.

Joan Dance is a self-taught artist who began painting in 1964 following a period in her life when she looked to poetry as a means of self-expression. Her first drawing of her church led to other churches in her work, the addition of people and children and the development of a bold and colorful expression of the lives of women and their role in sustaining family and community.

Significant recognition for Dance’s work includes the 1998 Kentucky Folk Art Center exhibition African American Folk Art in Kentucky and inclusion in its permanent collection. She is also featured in “Kentucky Women: Two Centuries of Indomitable Spirit and Vision,” authored by Eugenia Potter and published by Big Tree Press in 1997.

“PSAD is pleased to recognize Joan Dance with this first institutional exhibition of her work in close to a decade,” said PSAD Director Paul Aho. “This show of close to 70 paintings and mixed media works on paper includes works from her studio as well as Paducah collectors who have embraced her vision and distinct mix of humor and storytelling to convey a history and culture of Paducah otherwise largely unseen and untold.”

The exhibition will remain on display from Jan. 16 - Feb. 25. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.