Red Hot Roasters hosts ‘Steel Magnolias’-themed art show by Caroline Wilson

Red Hot Roasters hosts ‘Steel Magnolias’-themed art show by Caroline Wilson

Feature Image credit, Above, “Get Off My Bench” by Caroline Wilson

“Steel Magnolias” is a film some of us quote at least monthly, especially when the topics of taking your juice or jogging to Texas come up. The 1989 film had so many backhanded one-liners and sassy Southern characters, it’s hard not to stop and watch when you’re flipping through channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The film starred a young Julia Roberts, along with veterans like Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis.

Sondra Powell, the owner of Red Hot Roasters, has always been a big fan of the film, and when she was scrolling through Instagram and saw one of Caroline Wilson’s paintings inspired by the movie, she immediately reached out.

“Steel Magnolias” by Caroline Wilson

She recalls seeing Wilson’s depiction of Annelle carrying Easter eggs with the quote, “Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.”

“I was already a fan of Caroline’s art, how her minimalist style is able to convey so much feeling,” says Powell. And after seeing Wilson’s recent post, she “had forgotten what a funny and amazing movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ is, and I immediately knew I wanted to have a show on the walls based on the movie.”

Powell opened the second location of Red Hot Roasters — in the words of Truvy, “I’m a chain!” — about a year ago in the Butcherblock area of East Main Street. This will be the coffee shop’s first art exhibition, and it’ll open fittingly on the First Friday Hop on Friday, Dec. 7.

Wilson tells Insider she was thrilled that Powell reached out and asked for a print of the art, and then a few days later, she says Powell asked if she’d be interested in a “Steel Magnolias”-themed art show. Wilson immediately was on board.

“I love this film. It’s something I grew up watching,” the Louisville-based artist explains. “It’s just so epically funny and epically sad, and the writing is really memorable. Ouiser is probably my favorite character. I think I could’ve done a whole show on just her outfits. I like her not because she’s mouthy — which I think is why most people like her — but because of her friendship dynamic with Clairee, who loves her even though she’s awful and doesn’t take her seriously.”

Powell also loves the film because of its theme of friendship. And while the show may be lighthearted and fun, she hopes it reminds people of the importance of friends in their lives.

“We need good friends to get together and laugh (or cry) with,” says Powell. “The women in ‘Steel Magnolias’ have the friendships I aspire to maintain in my life.”

Wilson says she’ll have about seven pieces in the show, some framed and some matted. And she’ll have about nine postcards for sale as well. She moved to Louisville 15 years ago and works for a financial advisor in Prospect as a full-time gig. It’s in her off-time when she returns to her passion for art, which began in middle school, she says.

“I remember getting interested in drawing,” recalls Wilson. “I don’t remember how I found Brian Froud’s art — likely just from loving the movie ‘Labyrinth,’ which Froud did the conceptual art for. But his book ‘Good Faeries/Bad Faeries’ is what got me drawing figures and faces.”

Detail of “Steel Magnolias” by Caroline Wilson

Wilson didn’t realize it was the first exhibit for Red Hot Roasters, but she says she’s got more ideas up her sleeves — ’80s and ’90s films with all-female casts like “9 to 5,” “Sister Act” and “A League of Their Own.”

We suggested our favorite Julia Roberts ’80s film “Mystic Pizza.”

After Googling it, she says, “It looks like an excellent film and would be a really important show to do. I think the jackets Julia Roberts wears in the film are enough reason to do it. And I love Lili Taylor. I would start on that today.”


“Steel Magnolias Art Show” opens Friday, Dec. 7, with an artist’s reception from 5 to 9 p.m. It’ll be on display throughout December. Red Hot Roasters is located at 1007 E. Main St.

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