WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris is among the winners of the 2014 Governor’s Awards in the Arts. The honorees were announced Wednesday by the Kentucky Arts Council. Harris has won five Grammy awards and is a member of the Gospel Hall of Fame.
The City of Danville will be honored with the Government award for its contributions to the arts. Danville hosts the annual Great American Brass Band Festival each June.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort in October.
The Kentucky Arts Council is examining data gathered by two studies regarding the status of art education across the commonwealth. The studies were conducted by South Arts, an organization that represents Kentucky and eight other states. Lori Meadows is executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.
“Arts education really contributes to the education of the whole student,” said Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council. “In other words, it teaches creative thinking skills and the ability to connect different curriculum and different subject areas together.”
The studies found that a sampling of Kentucky schools is performing at-or-above national averages when it comes to providing access to arts education. But Meadows cautions that only 27 percent of schools in the state responded to the a voluntary survey known as Phase One. But Phase Two, says Meadows, profiled an individual program that has shown success. In Kentucky’s case it was Owensboro Public Schools.
“Children in that district – the students start out and they have the ability to participate in visual art, drama, music and dance,” said Meadows. “And at that particular high school [Owensboro High School] the drama program, known as the Rose Curtain players, is the oldest high school drama program in the state.”
Meadows says community support of arts education is equally important as what is provided by school districts.
The Kentucky Arts Council is encouraging groups to apply for a new round of grants aimed at arts programming for those who are 65 and older. The maximum amount of a grant is $10,000, and it requires matching funds.