FRANKFORT, Ky. (November 19, 2004) – When citizens of Cynthiana, Kentucky, wanted to document and celebrate their local traditions and art forms, they found a valuable resource in the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Community Scholars training series. On December 4 and 18, a group of dedicated Cynthiana citizens will complete the last of six sessions in a series designed to train community experts in conducting cultural surveys. The goal of the program is for Community Scholars to apply what they’ve learned to enhance heritage tourism efforts and educational programs in their communities.
On December 4, the Cynthiana Community Scholars class will hold its fifth session at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort, where they will tour the collections and discuss interpretation and presentation of living traditions. This session is also open to all who have taken Community Scholars training.
During their final session on December 18, the group will present their research projects at Maysville Community College in Cynthiana and join the growing network of certified Community Scholars in Kentucky.
Similar training programs have been held in Estill County, Paintsville, Hazard and Covington. Participants discover how to:
· conduct oral history interviews and use the techniques and ethics of folklife fieldwork
· interpret fieldwork data
· present artists in public programs
· develop effective cultural heritage programs in their communities
“The purpose of this program is to help communities discover the diversity of traditions that exist in their own backyard,” said Bob Gates, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program. “Kentuckians are passionate about their cultural traditions and local history, but they may not know how to identify and present those traditions that are unique to their communities.”
The program moves community scholars groups through six day-long sessions over the course of three to four months. Sessions are supplemented by a folklife distance-learning program maintained by Western Kentucky University’s Folk Studies Department.
“What I love about the program is the emphasis on authenticity,” said Mary Reed, a Community Scholar from Estill County. “We’ve been able to add exciting interpretive programming to our local festival and hands-on activities that celebrate the roots of our community traditions.”
An interagency program of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Arts Council, the Kentucky Folklife Program strives to increase awareness of the state’s folklife through diverse cultural programming. The signature event for the program is The Kentucky Folklife Festival, scheduled for September 2005. The event brings more than 30,000 people, including approximately 10,000 students, to Frankfort to learn about and celebrate the state’s traditions. For more information about how to bring the Community Scholars program to your area or learn more about the Kentucky Folklife Festival, contact Bob Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 502-564-1792.
An agency of the Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Historical Society, since 1836, has provided connections to the past, perspective on the present, and inspiration for the future. KHS operates the Old State Capitol, Kentucky Military History Museum and its five-year-old headquarters, the Kentucky History Center. Since 1999, the thirty-million-dollar History Center has welcomed almost one million visitors. For more information about the Kentucky Historical Society and its programs, visit the Web site at http://history.ky.gov or call (502) 564-1792.