There is on the map of Kentucky a blank spot – a white patch – without markings:

No roads, towns, rivers, or anything else except the steep rising mountains going straight up, and the small hamlets that dot their slopes.

Places with one or two log cabins, a smokehouse, a crib for the small gardens that feed people and stock, and often a tiny path that leads down and out to a world outside.

Lera Baker Smith

And the people who inhabit this special place are perhaps a breed apart, independent by nature, self-reliant and resourceful in that unique American way.

This is the heritage of Lera Baker Smith.

And perhaps the impetus to the strong, straight, and noble figures she creates with great dignity as they also stand alone and upright, as symbols of humanity.

And when as a young girl Lera moved with her family, her country went with her, part of the large mass migration of Southerners who made up three-quarters of the population of Detroit and gave it its, then, unique flavor.

It was this same country with its traditions and values that stayed with her while building her adult life, once again in Kentucky:  college, teaching, marriage, music, writing, and sculpting.

Living in Ohio, Iowa, California – where her sculpting took root – has added detail and breadth to her life and bronzes, figures that tell us how to resist the cold and windy mountain mornings in the world, how to provide the comfort and hope of the stalwart and the resourceful, and that this is how you embrace the day.