Spencer’s Coffee House hosts special WKU art exhibition

Works of art will be on display inside the store until mid-March.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Spencer’s Coffee House is known for exactly that – their coffee.

But there’s more than meets the eye with this java joint.

Step inside the shop and you’ll see a variety of pieces of artwork covering the brick walls.

“We’ve been happy to host artists from the community and the region for many years now,” said Justin Shepherd, owner of Spencer’s Coffee House.

The pictures that currently adorn the walls aren’t from professional artists, though. They were made by students of Western Kentucky University’s Printmaking Club.

“Customers seem to love it,” Shepherd said. “Students love having it hang in such a prominent place in the community. Works out for everybody.”

WKU Faculty Adviser for the club, Marilee Salvator, said she reached out to Shepherd to see if her own students could display their work in the coffee shop.

“I approached them and asked if they’d be interested in showing some of the work we were doing, and they were really excited about it,” she said. “It’s a great partnership.”

The artwork, named the “WKU Student-Jury Printmaking Exhibition,” was assessed by a panel of three judges, with the winning pieces being displayed in the front of the store.

“It ended up being quite the undertaking because we had about 150 entries,” Salvator added.

The exhibit featured projects with themes including mental health, environmentalism, dreams, memory, nostalgia, and identity.

“Lots of different things that people are interested in and working on,” said Salvator.

Salvator said she tries to set up opportunities like this to giver her students public exposure and the chance to display their artwork in a professional setting for the first time.

“It’s essential for them whenever they’re going out in the world,” she said. “They’ll have this experience, and then it will be easier for them to get jobs because they had this diverse experience.”

The exhibition also creates a chance for dialogue about the nuances and intricacies of printmaking.

“Printmaking is essentially about community,” Salvator said. “It’s really important for us to be able to make connections with the community.”

“We want to highlight the community as much as we can,” Shepherd said of Spencer’s mission. “Whether that’s in the products that we serve or the things that are hanging on the wall.”

The works of art will remain on display in Spencer’s until the middle of March.