FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Arts Council has been awarded $746,500 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the federal agency’s latest round of state partnership agreement grants.
State partnership agreement funding is awarded annually to state-level arts agencies nationwide. The arts council is the only agency in Kentucky designated to receive state partnership funding from the NEA.
This funding is for the arts council’s 2017 fiscal year budget. For the 2016 fiscal year, the NEA awarded the arts council $708,500, which represents a funding increase of five percentage points from 2016 to 2017.
“NEA funding is integral to our mission of encouraging Kentuckians to participate in the arts in their communities,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “This funding helps support nonprofit arts organizations throughout the state, which provide arts education opportunities for children and stimulate the economy through local arts marketing and programming.”
This year, the NEA will award more than $82 million to 1,148 projects across the country, including $125,000 to seven projects in Kentucky.
The Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman received $70,000 in grant funding for two projects: $20,000 to support the Hindman School of Luthiery and $50,000 to support SPARK Knott County programming in tool making and artistic blacksmithing.
“We are deeply honored to be recommended for these awards,” said Jessica Evans, Appalachian Artisan Center director of programs. “It is exciting to see the creativity and diligence of the people of this region rewarded and our rich cultural heritage conserved through the continuation of the artisan trades. NEA funding adds a huge boost to our endeavors.”
A proposal from Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Folklife Program and Cumberland Gap National Park was one of 51 selected in 27 states as part of the NEA’s Imagine Your Park grant program celebrating the centennial of the National Parks System. The folklife program and the park received $10,000 to place a folklorist in the park to identify and document different folk artists in the surrounding area, and plan public programming highlighting those artists.
“For more than 25 years the mission of the Kentucky Folklife Program has been one to ‘document, present and conserve the traditional arts and cultural heritage of the Commonwealth,’” said Brent Bjorkman, program director. “Not only does this grant allow us to go out and interview current tradition bearers, but the researcher will also be responsible for creating park programs for community members and park visitors alike, again sharing back the rich traditions that abound in the area.”
Other Kentucky projects that will receive NEA funding are: Appalshop, Whitesburg, $20,000; Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Covington, $10,000 and Pioneer School of Drama, Pioneer Playhouse, Danville, $15,000.