About the Exhibit

During the winter of 2016 the Norton Center put out a call for submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for EAT: A Literature + Photography Installation. We sought pieces about eating in all configurations: literal, figurative, experimental, dark, nostalgic, satirical, etc. The literary works, alongside a photographic interpretation of each piece by noted Kentucky photographer, Sarah Jane Sanders, were displayed in the Norton Center’s Grand Foyer.

Artist Statement

Food is a universal language that often bridges cultural boundaries.  My fascination lies within the stories that unfold when this conversation begins.

EAT is a collaboration between literary works and photography.  This collection was developed by an eagerness to create a body of work that ultimately heightens the senses, occupies the viewer’s attention, and triggers memories and experiences built around food, causing a conversation to begin. Each photograph offers a suggestion in understanding the writer’s tone as well as my own perspective of the piece.  In the exhibited literary works, certain signifiers caused a flood of sensations that stimulated my own personal language built around food.  This language is the core of each photograph in this collection.

In the exhibition, EAT, I aim to invite viewers to interpret each piece in their own voice furthering the growth of this collaboration.

– Sarah Jane Sanders, photographer

Read an article about this exhibit on WEKU.fm.

Please click the title of the work to view the complete piece from each author, as well as a peek at the photograph by Sarah Jane Sanders.  Full photographs were available in the Norton Center Grand Foyer.

“Blueberries” by Elizabeth Austin
“Topics over Tea” by Judith Cody, 2001
“Gather” by Don Fleming, 2016
“Aubade” by Garielle Brant Freeman, 2015
“Wine and Wild Mushrooms” by Kathleen Gunton, 2010
“Jalapenos” by Ed Higgins, 2005
“Lunch at Corafaye’s” by Daniel Klawitter, 2013
“The Magician’s Trick (Pears)” by Joan Leotta, 2015
“Love at First Bite” by Alice Lowe, 2011
“The Lingering Flavor of Rice” by Dale Ritterbusch
“Hock Messer” by Wendy Mannis Scher, 2014
“She’s Hungry for Something But She Don’t Know What” by Bianca Spriggs, 2015
“What Blue Tastes Like” by Michaella A. Thornton, 2016

Sarah Jane Sanders is a Lexington-based food and editorial photographer. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a focus on New Media at the University of Kentucky and later received the W.P.P.I Hy Sheanin Memorial Scholarship. Sarah Jane is particularly drawn to the full circle of food as a lens for focusing on culture. From origin, to processing, to the table, food is a universal language that bridges cultural boundaries. She is compelled to make photographs that tell stories, answer questions and express beauty, and aim to produce photographs that spark connections, build and recall memories, and celebrate daily life.

Her work has illuminated the pages of many publications nationwide, including Cake & Whiskey, The Local Palate, Eating Well, Chevy Chaser, and numerous blogs, including BraveTart, hosted by Stella Parks, whom Food & Wine magazine named one of Americas’s top five new pastry chefs in 2013.

Sarah Jane has also collaborated with many female Kentucky authors, helping them develop their published story visually: Nora Rose Moosnick (Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity, University Press of Kentucky, 2012), Stella Parks (Sweet Truth, Norton, forthcoming), Rona Roberts (Classic Kentucky Meals: Stories, Ingredients, & Recipes from the Traditional Bluegrass Kitchen, The History Press, 2014), and Maggie Green (A Taste of Kentucky, Far Country Press, forthcoming.) 


The “EAT” exhibition provided many layers of potential collaboration and transformation:

  • Organic – select a regionally-based artist known for her vibrant and iconic photographs, many of which depict food or the food process.
  • Communal – by asking people throughout the state to write based on a single and personal topic, pull together a common – yet diverse – thread of content that represents a cross section of the commonwealth.
  • Blend – challenge the selected artist to create works influenced by, and in the context of, the selected works of Kentucky writers.
  • Consume – share this complete integrated body of work with the public to consume, interpret, discuss and explore.
  • Transform – leave patrons inspired based on their experience.
  • Create – provide activities to encourage artistic expression from participants of all ages to create their own work based on the installation (patrons can write their own story based on the photograph and/or make a photograph or drawing based on the selected stories).

While the following works were not selected for final inclusion in the EAT exhibit, the jury did select these pieces as honorable mentions after reviewing over 155 entries:

“Bacon Fat” by Jan Ball
“If Dinner Let Me Down, Will Death” by Tricia Marcella Cimera
“Blood Orange” by Tasha Cotter
“Photo From a Travel Magazine” by Lemuel DeMoville
“Pass the Salt” by Liz Dolan
“Sketch of a Food Artist” by Linda Garbis
“Wishes for Breakfast” by Tonya Howell
“Bhater Mondo (Rice Balls)” by Doyali Islam
“Eating Persimmons” by Michael Kellichner
“Egg Cup Memory” by Denise Mostacci-Sklar
“But First, Dessert” by J. Louise Nelle
“Synesthesia” by Iris Orpi
“That Other Elvis” by Jami Powell
“We’ll Always Have Tea” by Rajendra Shepherd
“Caseus” by Kim Roberts
“Selenium” by Kim Roberts
“Churrascaria” by Lauren Scharhag
“Burgers and Fries” by Jasper Sedgwick
“Follow the Recipe” by Jada Yee

This exhibit is now closed.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports EAT: A Literature + Photography Installation with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.


“You Eat What You Are: The Act of Eating as a Form of Self Expression”
Gallery Talk
Monday, October 24, 2016
Norton Center Grand Foyer

Moderated by Executive Director Steve Hoffman
Panelists Included: Dr. Azita Osanloo, Associate Professor of English at Centre College; Sarah Jane Sanders, featured artist and Kentucky Photographer; Dr. Daniel Kirchner, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Centre College; and Dr. Kaelyn Wiles, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Centre College

This program addressed the process and act of eating in terms of ethics, sociology and creativity and how it is a cultural practice. Eating is a daily process very often taken for granted. While it is something we, as humans, must do to survive, the process of eating also is used as a form of self-expression.

This event was free and open to the public and presented with support from The Kentucky Humanities Council.