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Three Arts Club brings ‘Rosie the Riveter’ to life

May 18, 2019

The Three Arts Club of Ashland, Kentucky is one of the oldest organizations in the community. It was organized in 1920 and is celebrating the end of its 99th year this month.

Judie Fannin, president of the group said, “Next year we will be celebrating one hundred years of service to the Ashland community.”

The club’s original purpose was to furnish intellectual stimulation to Ashland women but it became much more. Their original constitution said the club’s mission was to provide, “intellectual improvement and cultivation in the three arts and to establish a home for the public library in Ashland.” Over all these years, they have accomplished the goal by challenging the women of Ashland. The library was established through their efforts and culture has bloomed within the group. Those who have membership in the group are to help present three programs a

year in either drama, art or music. In their final presentation each year all three venues come together for one presentation before the community.

Fannin said about this year’s theme, “Each spring the club votes on a theme for the coming year. This year’s being ‘The Influence of World War II on Art, Music and Drama.’ In keeping with that idea their final May presentation was a play written and directed by member, Loretta Payne. ‘Rosie the Riveter’ was inspired by Loretta Payne’s life.”

“I lived it! My family owned a dairy farm yet I had family that worked in the factories and a father that went off to war. This play is my memory of the war as it affected us at home,” Payne said.

The story line of the play revolves around a family grappling with running a farm during the war, their need to contribute to the war effort and changes to society as a result of the war. Rosie played by Alicia Katterheinrich was the unifying force through the play. She was the farm wife and mother whose husband enlisted, the factory worker doing her part and the modern woman wanting to work outside the home after the war.

Integrated throughout the dramatic presentation were songs from the World War II era with special emphasis on the Andrew Sisters. Songs like “Over There,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” and “Rum and Coca Cola” were recreated by a trio (Amy Crooks, Heather Whitman and Kim Whitman) representing the Andrews Sisters playing the vaudeville circuit. Judie Fannin provided the background and accompanying music on the piano.

The final scene was a rousing rendition of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” sung by Rosemary Lawson. She is a relative newcomer to the organization however feels totally blessed to part of the group and this particular cultural event.

Lawson said, “I was an army brat born during World War II and grew up hearing stories about all this.”

Period make-up and costumes were well represented in the play with kerchiefs tied around 1940′s hair-dos, dresses paired with period thick heeled shoes and women wearing bright red lipstick. Even an army uniform found its way into the flag waving presentation. The ladies of the Three Arts Club presented a wonderful history lesson to friends, family and the community.

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