Bourbon Barrels Prized As Artistic Canvases

Sep 6, 2013

Bourbon barrels are on the auction block, not for their contents but as objet d’art.   The barrels are decorated and then sold during the state Barbecue Festival in Danville.  33 bourbon barrels are entered in this weekend’s fundraiser.

Barrels arrive for 2013 Bourbon Barrel Art Project.
Credit Kentucky Barbecue Festival

Decorating a bourbon barrel offers all kinds of thought provoking opportunities for artists.  Susan Hensley, who coordinates the Bourbon Barrel Auction, says during their first auction lots of ideas were played out on 30 barrels.

“Last year caterpillar did what we called the party wagon, which was a cooler on wheels, made out of a barrel.  And then we had one that was painted, it was called Go Picasso Horses ok with the Van Gogh, I mean it is incredible,” said Hensley.

There was also a barrel painted pink and given the legs, tail, and face of a pig.  

Every barrel’s starting price is 250 dollars, but last year’s winner of the judges’ choice award earned 25-hundred dollars.  The proceeds will again go to the Heart of Kentucky United Way.  Hensley says the decorated barrels are used in various ways.

“People have actually put them in their kitchens and used them as an extension of their island.  We’ve had them where they’ve had little benches, bar stools and use them like that,” added Hensley.

Hensley says there’s lots of energy behind this second Bourbon Barrel Art Project.  She’s says some Danville residents are already talking about a third year.

“I thought that this would, we would probably have stepped the energy on this one, but I’ve had several of my sponsors this year say, ‘Oh Susan, we know what we’re gonna do next year and I’m thinking oh well, I wasn’t planning on doing that,” explained Hensley.

If not barrels, Hensley believes some type of similar event would likely be a part of the next barbeque festival.   The doors open tonight at seven o clock at the pit master warehouse and bidding begins at eight.