2 Kentucky organizations receive ArtPlace America grants
FRANKFORT, Ky. — ArtPlace America has awarded grants totaling $730,000 to two Kentucky arts organizations. Letcher County’s Appalshop received $450,000 and Roots & Wings in Jefferson County received $280,000. They were among 38 recipients across the nation to receive funding from ArtPlace America.
ArtPlace America is a collaboration of foundations, banks and federal agencies that exists to position art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical and economic fabric of communities.
“This is a real boost for Kentucky, a confirmation that we have great things going on in the arts that are worthy of national attention,” said Lori Meadows, Kentucky Arts Council executive director. “I’m looking forward to seeing the good works that will come from this tremendous funding opportunity.”
Appalshop will use its investment to increase arts, media and technology training opportunities for Appalachian youth, strengthen longstanding cultural institutions in Letcher County and contribute to diversifying the county’s economy by helping develop tourism opportunities celebrating place-based traditions. The group will also create conditions that can support entrepreneurs building creative businesses in Letcher County.
Roots & Wings will use its funding to link Appalachian, West African and urban arts in Louisville’s “Zones of Hope,” culminating in a theater production that will exhibit local cultural assets and heritage and engage young people as advocates for equitable development in those neighborhoods.
“It is significant that two grassroots, artist-led efforts in historically disinvested Kentucky communities – west Louisville and Appalachia – are collectively bringing $730,000 in new, national investment into our state’s creative economy this year,” Appalshop and Roots & Wings wrote in a joint statement. “For two Kentucky projects to be chosen among ArtPlace America’s 38 grantees for 2015 is an indication of the growing influence of the voice of Kentucky-based artists within the national creative placemaking conversation. We look forward to supporting each other in these transformational projects over the next 18 months.”
The 38 ArtPlace America grantees were selected from nearly 1,300 applicants across 48 states and the District of Columbia. Grant amounts ranged from $50,000 to $500,000, with an average of $265,000.
“Each one of these grants supports a geographic community: a collection of people who live, work and play within a defined circle on a map,” said F. Javier Torres, ArtPlace America director of national grantmaking. “In each case, a community development challenge or opportunity was identified by local stakeholders, and these 38 grantees are serving as conduits for their communities’ desires by leading arts-based solutions through their projects.”
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The arts council, along with the NEA, is celebrating 50 years of service in 2015, which the arts council is recognizing as the Year of the Arts in Kentucky.
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