The Kentucky Arts Council boasts many accomplishments for 2004 in areas of economic development, business training, marketing enhancement and national recognition for Kentucky as an arts rich state. Beginning in February, Kentucky Crafted: The Market, a four day wholesale/retail show featuring craft and related Kentucky cultural products produced over $2 million dollars in annual sales. Craftspeople from Kentucky also participated in the Kentucky Crafted booth at the New York International Gift Fair in January and August, which hosts over 45,000 buyers. Both sales events are sponsored by the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program, a division of the Kentucky Arts Council.
In March, Governor and Mrs. Fletcher honored 13 outstanding individuals, organization and businesses including the Judd family — Naomi, Winona and Ashley, for exemplary leadership and accomplishments in the arts. Coordinated by the Kentucky Arts Council, the Governor’s Awards in the Arts are the most prestigious arts awards in the Commonwealth.
Beyond grants to arts organizations for operational support and leveraging private fundraising efforts, the Arts Council also connects professional artists to businesses, communities and schools through its adjudicated programs. The Craft Marketing Program’s juried participant list currently boasts 419 small businesses eligible to participate in wholesale and retail marketing activities, and the Program has delivered product development, marketing and business consulting seminars to craft businesses across the Commonwealth. The Performing Arts Directory includes 80 artists, ensembles and groups that are ready for booking and touring in Kentucky. Classical and contemporary dance, storytelling and theatre, and the full complement of music genres including bluegrass, Americana, gospel, orchestra and choral are available or were showcased at Kentucky on Stage last September, along with technical assistance and business training for both performing artists and performing arts presenters. The Arts Council’s Arts Education Roster of Artists has selected 41 artists that are qualified to work in Kentucky schools to demonstrate their art forms through artist residency programs and deliver professional development to teachers in the classroom. Additionally many of these artists have been trained to work in early childhood education environments or juvenile detention facilities and alternative school settings.
With the new positioning in the Commerce Cabinet, the agency has begun cross marketing and promotion of Kentucky cultural products and services in Welcome Centers, the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, and state operated gift shops including those in state resort parks. “Great things have been happening this year,” says Arts Council Executive Director Gerri Combs. “The arts are definitely an asset for economic and tourism growth in Kentucky. We also emphasize the important role they play in our children’s education and developing the workforce of the future.”
The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet. Working in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Council invests in programs that develop vibrant communities, provide lifelong education in the arts and support arts participation. Every $1 in grant funds awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council helps grantees secure $15 in earned income and matching funds from individuals, philanthropic sources and other levels of government.
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