About Artcroft

Our Name

The term croft comes from the Scottish word for craft. Craft and trade people were an essential part of agricultural estates and were known as crofters. They lived and practiced their skills for the smooth operation and agricultural and commercial success of the community. The aesthetic principles of John Ruskin (1819-1900,) and the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, led by William Morris (1834-1896) in the latter half of the 19th century, were an effort to reestablish that relationship between art and community, which is also exemplified by the Roycroft Movement, led by Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) in East Aurora, New York, in the 1880s, in the United States.

William Morris was a poet, artist, and social reformer who urged a return to the medieval traditions of design, outstanding workmanship, and community. His work in both poetry and the applied arts was characterized by an emphasis on decorative elements that he thought were characteristic of the Middle Ages. Through many of his writings, he attempted to correct the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution by suggesting a form of society in which people could return to the joys of master craftsmanship and simplicity of expression. He perfected the use of woodblocks for printing wallpaper and textiles. The idea of the house as a total work of art, with all of the interior objects designed by the architect, emerged from his studio and remained standard practice throughout the Arts and Crafts movement.

Brother Rabbit Chintz Designed by William Morris, 1882.

The Brother Rabbit pattern was inspired, according to May Morris, by the ‘Uncle Remus’ stories which her father was reading to the family at their Hammersmith home, Kelmscott House. It was one of the first textiles to be printed at Merton Abbey, where Morris & Co. moved its workshop premises at the end of 1881.
return to top

Our History

Robert Barker

The seeds for the Artcroft concept grew from the discussions of Robert and Maureen Barker and Florence Thorne as to the ideal use of 400 spectacular acres in rural central Kentucky. The three friends were guided by an appreciation of the unified continuum of work, craft and art supporting community life and the larger culture.

Maureen Barker

With their strong interests in the arts and humanities, developing a retreat where individuals could do creative work in a rural, agrarian setting held great appeal.

Florence Thorne

The friends realized that there were already several precedents for this concept; the McDowell Colony in New Hampshire is a fine example. Using these ideas as the foundation for developing an artist’s retreat, Robert, Maureen and Florence generated a long-term plan in 1999 and began implementation. Artcroft is striving to manifest those ideas, with enthusiasm and excitement, benefiting from the renewal that comes from living close to the land.
return to top

Mission Statement

Artcroft’s mission is to provide direct support to individual  artist and the community. The residency program allows literary and visual artists a rural and serene environment in which to work creatively without distractions. Support to the community is via arts programming, collaborations, small venue presentations, and partnerships.

Elbert Hubbard


The delight of creative work lies in self—discovery you are mining nuggets of power out of your own cosmos, and the find comes as a great and glad surprise.

—Elbert Hubbard

The Notebook of Elbert Hubbard, 1927


Artcroft Creative Center/ Millersburg Ky

In 2010 Artcroft purchased  509 -519 Main St.  with a long-term plan to develop exhibition Galleries ,ceramic, painting , and print making studios. Housing for Artcroft Residents is planed for 519 Main St. with six two room units. After several years of planning and stabilization of the  five commercial buildings we were able to host our first Exhibition of Ken Swinson’s Prints and Paintings in October 2014.

Work to rough in basic  structure and services has begun on the studio building with it four painting  studios on the second floor and the ceramic studio ready for work on the first.

For greater details of our exhibition schedule please follow the link……..

To view the gallery facilities follow the link……..


return to top