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Keeping a culture alive

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PRINCETON, KY -  A new retail art gallery is open in Princeton, KY. Galleria 107 opened last week on Main St. in Princeton's downtown.

It houses artist like Jannette Parent who uses her paintings to help preserve the Cherokee language and culture.

Parent said she has Cherokee ancestry and started learning the language 10 years ago.

“I have three, possibly five women in my lineage,” Parent said.

She became so passionate about it, she decided to use her artwork to help her remember the Cherokee language.

“It was so fascinating with the history in the stories and they're so colorful and they create imagery as you're reading them and I just was inspired to paint from that. Painting the words across was a teaching tool for me, but I figured if it works for me, maybe it will help someone else,” Parent said.

She said the language can be hard to master.

“In the Cherokee language, there are syllables represented by symbols rather than an actual letter like in the English alphabet,” Parent said.

However, having learned the language, she now feels a responsibility not only to paint it, but share it.

“Most of the speakers are over 50. So, in this generation it will be lost if something isn't done,” Parent said.

This passion has led her to keep reading and now learning to sing it.

“When you lose a language, you lose a culture,” Parent said.

Parent said she's determined to continue using her craft, to keep spreading a rare culture.

Parent's paintings and jewelry are on display and for sale at Galleria 107.

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