Last year’s successful applicants to the Kentucky Arts Council’s Folk Arts Project Grants are as diverse as the geography and communities found throughout the Commonwealth. The approaches were as varied as the traditions and the cultures represented. As the application deadline nears for the FY2006 grant cycle, the Kentucky Folklife Program hopes to receive proposals that further broaden the identification and conservation of Kentucky folk arts and traditions.
The Estill Arts Council—in partnership Irvine’s Mountain Mushroom Festival, the Irvine-Ravenna Women’s Club and the Irvine-Ravenna Kiwanis Club–ran an extensive study utilizing Kentucky Folklife Program Community Scholars to explore the unique culture of local morel mushroom hunters. Through this project they identified the hunters, interviewed and accompanied them on hunting trips, photographed them and documented the tradition including where to hunt, weather and seasonal conditions, harvesting techniques and cooking instructions that have been passed on from generation to generation since early settlement days. This documentation will be shared with the local community and visitors to the Mountain Mushroom Festival through educational display panels, a natural habitat terrarium for displaying the native morels, live interviews with hunters on the narrative stage and a mushroom market and hunting contest.
In Shelbyville, Centro Latino with the support of Republic Bank got to the business of building bridges between cultures through the presentation of Latino art forms and traditions at a Hispanic festival marketed to the greater Shelbyville community. Activities included poetry reading, authentic hand crafts and a Day of the Dead alter with narratives to explain the tradition. Through the arts, the Hispanic community was drawn to the services provided by Centro Latino as well as an affirmation of the value of the various cultures within the Latino community. The English speaking community had the opportunity to interact with and gain an understanding of the customs of the people who are relatively new to the area through both linguistic and cultural interpretations.
Connecting the past to present through the 1940’s documentation of Farm Security Administration photographer Marion Post Wolcott (http://catlin.clas.virginia.edu/shadows/mpw/mpw-top.html) is at the center of the Breathitt County Museum folk arts project. Wolcott’s war-time photos depict families gathered around flag-draped coffins, school children playing and studying inside one-room schoolhouses, church socials, dances and pie suppers. The Jackson Times and the Breathitt County Voice have published notices and run columns asking those who might be pictured in the photographs (or their descendants) to help identify the people in the images along with interviews to capture the memories invoked and the traditions represented. Through this inquiry, the community (across generations) and visitors alike will become more attuned to the traditions lost, as well as present traditions linked to the past.
The Folk Arts Project Grant program helps local communities and organizations in their efforts to identify, document, conserve and present folk and traditional culture. Entities interested in applying for the Folk Arts Project Grant should submit an Intent to Apply form by March 1, 2005 and Application by March 31, 2005. For a complete set of guidelines and instructions, go to http://artscouncil.ky.gov/guide/prog4/fa_gdl.html . For further information contact Bob Gates, Kentucky Folklife Program Director, at (502) 564-1792 ext. 4481 or email@example.com. The Kentucky Folklife Program is an interagency program of the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Historical Society, both state agencies in the Commerce Cabinet.
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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.
EDITORS NOTE: Other Kentucky Arts Council funded Folk Arts Project grants are listed below with contact information:
- The presentation of Japanese Tea Ceremony by Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Berea. (859) 986-3192
- Support for the Southeast Kentucky Folklife Festival coordinated by the Clay County Middle School Youth Service Center. (606) 598-1882
- Traditional acoustic instrument building at Pulaski County High School. (606) 679-1574
- Support for the Berea College Appalachian Center’s Celebration of Traditional Music. (859) 985-3257
- Establishment of a narrative stage for the Stringbean Memorial Festival in Jackson as well as introducing the diverse cultures that are a part of contemporary Appalachian culture. (606) 287-0600
- Showcasing musical genres of black gospel, thumbpicking and dobro playing at the Kentucky Library and Museum at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. (270) 745-4652
- Square dances and string music as taught in settlement schools and mountain colleges produced by the Carcassonne Community Center in Letcher County. (606) 633-7968
- An international performing arts series at the Kentucky Theatre, Louisville. (502) 585-1566
- Presentations of clogging, horse-shoe pitching and storytelling at the Discovery Festival sponsored by the Mt. Vernon-Rockcastle County Tourist Commission. (800) 252-6685
- A folklife performance stage at Bernheim Forest’s Colorfest in Bullitt County.(502) 955-8512
- A database driven website entitled Front Porch which documents, records and shares profiles of traditional musicians in the Appalachian region produced by Appalshop in Whitesburg. (606) 633-0108
- A day of traditional music workshops as an outreach component of Whitesburg’s Mountain Heritage Festival, which includes visits of musicians to nine schools, colleges, community centers, senior centers and a nursing home, also coordinated by Appalshop.
- Establish a Lily May Ledford Music and Heritage Festival by the Gladie Restoration and Preservation Society in Stanton. (859) 881-0472
- Maintain the tradition of thumbpicking style of guitar playing through the support of the Pennington Folk Festival in Princeton. (270) 365-3959