Knox County Arts and Culture
People in Knox County express pride in the county’s history as a site of American Indian heritage, trails and settlements of early American pioneers and Civil War battlegrounds.
Visitors can learn about this history through public murals in downtown Barbourville, a tour of the Knox Historical Museum or Dr. Thomas Walker State Park, or attending events such as the annual Battle of Barbourville Reenactment and the week-long Daniel Boone Festival. Every October, this signature festival features a parade, food, music, art and craft vendors, historical reenactments, and more. The festival aims to educate youth about ancestors who crossed the Cumberland Gap and about Native American tribes who were here before them. Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation are honored guests.
At the annual Redbud Festival in April, local and regional artisans demonstrate their skills and sell their goods. The festival features food, music, arts and crafts workshops, quilt exhibits, storytelling and other celebrations of traditional Appalachian culture.
The Knox Arts, Crafts and Humanities Council provides networking for local artisans and brings partners together to serve the community creatively through programs like their annual Kids College Art Camp held at Union College. The first college established in the mountains of Kentucky, Union College celebrates its Appalachian heritage and serves as a strong asset and partner to the city of Barbourville, providing programming, event space and backbone support for local initiatives.
The Knox County and Barbourville Tourism and Visitor Center sponsors many community events and showcases the arts through displays of local art in the center, outdoor performances at their gazebo, and a weekly “Brown Bag Special” Facebook Live event that features musicians and other guests every Friday at noon.
View photographs and listen to place-based poetry written by fifth graders at Barbourville Elementary School with visiting artist Judy Sizemore. Their poems are modeled after “Where I’m From,” a well-known poem by Kentucky poet George Ella Lyon.
Listen to the Barbourville High School Choir perform My Old Kentucky Home.
Click here to view historic photographs of Knox County and listen to an oral history interview conducted by students at Barbourville High School.