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First Lady Urges Holiday Shoppers To Consider Kentucky-Made Gifts

Economists may be watching the sales numbers coming from the big retailers, but Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear is urging shoppers to think local this year.

You’ve been told to look for the “Made in the USA” label. Well, state leaders want you to narrow that focus to Kentucky this holiday season. Friday, Beshear visited the Kentucky Artisan Center to deliver the message.

"When you see the different products and realize, whether it's food, jewelry, woodworking, or books, it tells the story of who and what we are," she says.

Directly behind the First Lady stands an unmissable statue of St. Nick, every wrinkle in his forehead crafted down to the smallest detail by Berea artist Lindy Evans. She says it’s no small commitment.

"A life-size piece is about three months on and off," she explains. "By the time you start with a pair of boots and you start building all the insides so he stands up, it takes a little bit of time."

It’s those one-of-a-kind gifts that Beshear and arts leaders hope will keep Kentucky’s creative industries vital. A recent economic report found that businesses in creative industries account for more than 100,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.