Kentucky Arts Council

Kentucky Arts Council Awarded $746,500 in Funding

Jun 7, 2016
Kentucky Arts Council

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to the Kentucky Arts Council.

A news release from the state council says its funding is included in the latest round of state partnership agreement grants and is for the 2017 fiscal year budget. The $746,500 award represents a 5 percent increase from 2016 funding.

The federal agency will award $125,000 to several Kentucky projects.

They include $70,000 to the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman for two projects, $10,000 to Western Kentucky  University's Kentucky Folklife Program and Cumberland Gap National Park to place a folklorist in the park, $20,000 to Appalshop in Whitesburg, $10,000 to Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington and $15,000 to Pioneer School of Drama in Danville.

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When Gov. Matt Bevin offers his first state budget proposal on Tuesday, it’s unclear how much money — if any — will be set aside for the Kentucky Arts Council, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Rumors have swirled on social media and in arts social circles during the past couple days concerning the future of the state agency.

Arts Council board member Wilma Brown of Frankfort sent an email to friends and supporters on Thursday, saying Bevin would seek to eliminate funding for the agency and asking recipients to contact their state representatives in protest.

“It is not clear whether an alternative agency will be formed or whether the arts will be folded into another agency,” Brown wrote. “In either case, oversight of the arts will become political with changes in personnel and programs with each election.”

Requests for information from Bevin’s office went unanswered. Lori Meadows, the Arts Council’s executive director, directed inquiries to the governor’s office.

Larnelle Harris

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.