Kentucky Knows founder Tony Davis hopes to instill self-worth in teenagers through his Teen Barrel Head Art project.
An American Veteran, Davis failed 7th grade three times. “If it was not for the Lexington Public Library and the school library, I really do not know where I would have been today.” After getting his GED and graduating from college, Davis joined the Marine Corp. After that, he applied to work for the federal government. During his free time, Davis works on the various Kentucky Knows products. All products are made from Buffalo Trace Distillery bourbon barrels. These products include cutting boards, Ale-8 bottle openers, easels, grilling char as well as other products people request, such as a wedding guestbook, where Davis burned the couple's initial into the barrel head and wedding guests signed the barrel head.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to give back and that’s one of the reason I donate many of my products. I have donated a lot of product to non-profits throughout the year," Davis explains. "I thought that one way I could give back to the kids in my neighborhood and the community was to have a project that promotes learning without promoting bourbon was through the Teen Barrel Head Art project.”
In many schools today, there is no woodshop. The handcrafted side of learning has almost disappeared. Davis wanted to promote self worth through craft and a signature item. Which is why the barrel heads were chosen; barrels are signature to Kentucky because ninety-five percent of all bourbon is produced in-state. At the Teen Barrel Head Art project, teens will decide if they want to spray paint their initial or name onto the barrel head. After spray painting the barrel head will be sealed with shellac.
The Lexington Public Library hopes to have a family day where the barrel heads will be on display and the families can come admire the work of the teens. “I want to be able to inspire kids, who may have a great life, but there’s just one thing missing, and that may be that they need to work with their hands. It’s always about your hands, whether you are a girl getting ready to put makeup on or a guy at the base ready to hit a home run, without the use of our hands we would almost be like animals. Our hands create a lot of self worth for us.”
The Teen Barrel Head Art event is free and will be on December 12, at the Beaumont Branch of the Lexington Public Library from 6:30-9pm.