What started as a way to honor the accomplishments of Paducahans during Black History Month has evolved into a colorful creative experience. The West Kentucky Community & Technical College (WKCTC) Student Art & Design Club invites you to discover the legacy of African Americans who have and continue to define Paducah!

Defining Paducah Exhibit

The Defining Paducah display debuted in Historic Downtown Paducah.

Presented by WKCTC Student Art & Design Club

As one of the top community colleges in the nation, WKCTC is widely recognized for its creative initiatives, faculty and students. The Student Art & Design Club attracts many of the creative thinkers and doers currently enrolled in programs on the main campus and at the Paducah School of Art & Design (PSAD) campus in the Lower Town Arts District.

PSAD Visual Communication Instructor Emily Esau and PSAD Painting and 2D Instructor Tanya Neitzke lead this “interdisciplinary group of students with creative passions” as the Club’s co-advisor. In 2019, the students envisioned a new way to honor local legacies during Black History Month, creating an installation of painted portraits of prominent local African Americans in Historic Downtown.

“[When] the inaugural event was planned and launched, we had no idea what we had created! We always see the same figures celebrated during Black History Month, like Dr. King and Rosa Parks, yet we have people in this community's history who made significant impacts as well and they deserve the same level of recognition.”

Color Portraits of Famous Paducah Figures

The Defining Paducah exhibit debuted in Historic Downtown with 22 colorful portraits of famous figures from Paducah and the surrounding area. The original exhibit expanded to 36 completed portraits in 2020 including local entrepreneurs, activists, entertainers, athletes, faith leaders and elected officials past and present.

“What started as a small way to honor local legacies during Black History Month has turned into a massive community endeavor. We hope Defining Paducah not only becomes the kick-off celebration for every February to come, but that that we continue to influence change, growth, and education throughout the year.”

The Student Art & Design Club recently comprised the images into a portrait coloring book that extends the celebration of Paducah’s past to inspire its future.

Download the Defining Paducah coloring book for even more printable portraits, each with a description detailing noteworthy accomplishments. Print and color a selection of coloring pages below to explore these stories and the places around our Creative City that represent them today!

Fate Marable

Learn more about local river music connections at Inland Waterways Museum!

Maggie Steed Hotel Metropolitan

Tour Hotel Metropolitan, a landmark in Paducah’s Uppertown neighborhood!

Stuart Nelson Paducah

Visit Stuart Nelson Park named for this famous Paducahan in the 1940s!

Connect with @studentartdesignclub on Instagram and Facebook, and share your colorful portraits using the hashtag #PaducahCreativeCity!

Coloring pages shared with permission of WKCTC Student Art & Design Club.