Posts Tagged With: Kentucky

Your input: We need it!

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then we know you like to stay up to date and informed about what’s going on in the arts in Kentucky. We have a couple of opportunities for you to be involved with large projects we are currently working on. Your participation will be of tremendous help to the Kentucky Arts Council. In fact, you’ll be helping to shape the future of the arts in Kentucky!

 Right now, we have two online surveys from which we are seeking public input. One is for artists – and we mean that in the broadest sense – who make all or part of their income through their artwork. The other is for the general public, essentially anyone who cares about the arts in their community and in our state.

 The survey for artists will be used to gather data for our Creative Industry study. That study should be available in early October and will give a snapshot of the artists and businesses that collectively comprise the Commonwealth’s creative industry. One person who takes this survey will win $100! So don’t delay! When you’re finished, please send the survey to other artists in Kentucky who you think would be willing to help us out in collecting our data.

 We’ve received great feedback so far from Kentucky’s artists. We’d love to see all 120 counties included. Right now we still need responses from artists in the following counties: Ballard, Bell, Breathitt, Carlisle, Carroll, Clinton, Crittenden, Fulton, Gallatin, Grant, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Henry, Hickman, Lee, Lincoln, Livingston, Magoffin, Marshall, Martin, McCreary, Meade, Menifee, Monroe, Morgan, Muhlenburg, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Robertson, Russell, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Trimble, Union, Wayne and Webster.

 Take the Creative Industry study survey for artists here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KY_Artists_and_Creative_Freelancers.

 The general public survey will be used to gather feedback for the arts council’s strategic plan. Our upcoming strategic plan, which will be submitted to the National Endowment for the Arts later this year, will guide our work through the next six years. We want to know how you would like to see the arts take shape in Kentucky during that time period. Again, we ask that you share this survey with as many people as possible so that we can gather feedback from all areas of the state.

 Take strategic plan survey for the general public here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KAC-StrategicPlan.

 Have questions? Contact us at kyarts@ky.gov and let us know how we can help.

 Emily B. Moses, communications director

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Five baby steps to starting an arts business

For artists trying to turn their craft into a profitable business, the beginning steps can seem daunting.  Whether you’re just looking to share your work, or actually trying to make a living off of it, there are a few things that are universal. In celebration of National Small Business Week, May 12-16, we’ve come up with five baby steps to get your arts business off the ground.

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 1. Name your business

First, if you’re really new at this, you need to name your business.  While funny or  interesting        names might be unique, naming your business something offbeat might  send you into murky   waters with trademark and copyright issues.To avoid the  mess, find a way to incorporate your own  name into the business name. This will  ensure the name’s not already taken, and will help people  easily recognize you as  the face or artist behind the project.

 2. Establish a business email

Creating a separate business email ensures that one, people will be able to contact your business,   and two, their emails won’t be lost in your general junk folders. The email domain should include your business name and should be used for business communications only. The last thing you want is to lose customers because you didn’t see their email among the 50 others in your inbox.

3. Build a Facebook page

Creating a second Facebook page to use specifically for your business will help give credibility to your work. Much like your new email, a new Facebook page will give customers and friends a direct way to connect with you about your work without having to fight through other personal posts or family pictures. This separate page will also help you establish a professional identity for your brand. Fill your new page with examples, pricing and information about your upcoming events and exhibits.

4. Open a checking account

Trust us on this one. Opening a business checking account will save you from an enormous headache come tax season. Distancing your personal money from your business account will also help you keep a clearer picture of the expenses and income for your new business.

5. Start a website

Starting a website sounds scarier than it is. With services like WordPress or Blogger, designing and managing a website is actually fairly simple these days.  By creating your own page, you can make it easier for people to find your work and, more importantly, share your work.  The site can also serve as a central hub for information regarding your business. Here, you can list your new business email, links to your social media accounts and a little more of your background and story as an artist.

With small steps, creating an arts business becomes less daunting and more fun. Keep an eye out for posts throughout the summer for more artist tips and ways to build your blooming business.

Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

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From brass to bourbon: Celebrating the arts at Kentucky festivals

In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, and because we’re excited about these warmer temperatures, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Kentucky festivals to not miss this summer. This festival guide will be your ticket to celebrating Kentucky arts and culture all summer long.

Lowertown Arts and Music Festival

May 16-17, Paducah

Recognized in 2012 and 2013 as one of the Top Ten Spring Festivals in Kentucky by Kentucky Tourism, the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival celebrates the cultural richness found in western Kentucky and the surrounding areas. The festival is free and features regional music, art, theater and food.

 Francisco’s Farm

May 17-18, Midway

 Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival is a juried art show that takes place at Midway College May 17-18. The festival features about 80 high quality artist booths, family and children’s activities, food, music and entertainment. This year, admission and parking are free. Although the location has varied in years past, this year’s festival will return to the Midway College campus.

 

Great American Brass Band Festival

June 5-8, Danville

The Great American Brass Band Festival, an internationally renowned music event, turns 25 in June. To celebrate the important milestone, the festival is inviting back brass groups from previous years. Joining former performers for the retrospective look back will be new ensembles and a range of band personalities and scholars. Dr. George Foreman, the founder of the Great American Brass Band Festival, will share stories and thoughts on the last 25 years and is expected to preview a future book on the GABBF. 

         

Maysville Uncorked! Wine and Art Festival

June 14, Maysville

Maysville Uncorked! draws thousands of visitors to Maysville each year on the second Saturday in June. Held in the historic downtown area, Maysville Uncorked! features Kentucky wineries from across the state as well as local and regional artisans. The event is hosted by the Maysville Players, one of the Commonwealth’s oldest theater companies

 

ROMP

June 26-28, Owensboro

Going on its 11th year, the ROMP festival is a “Bluegrass Roots and Branches” music festival in Owensboro, Ky., at Yellow Creek Park.  Romp stands for the “River of Music Party,” because of the festival’s previous location by the river, and is a joint effort of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro. The festival draws in upwards of 20,000 people every year.

 

Festival of Learnshops

July 11-27, Berea

Select a workshop from more than 100 choices to pursue your interest in sustainable living, culinary arts, collage, painting, Appalachian crafts, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, storytelling, literary arts, theater, music, dance, Native American folk arts, bonsai, woodworking, or professional development for educators. Workshops vary between two hours and five days and all are family friendly.

 Forecastle Festival

July 18-20, Louisville

 The Forecastle Festival in Louisville is fast becoming one of the state’s most popular festivals. Started in 2002, the three-day arts, music and activism event is held in Waterfront Park downtown. This year’s lineup includes big names like Beck, Jack White and Outkast as well as many other up and coming bands. The festival will also feature a Bourbon lounge and a Kentucky Landing area, a spot that will feature Kentucky-based creations, local craft breweries and food trucks from all across the Commonwealth.

Roots and Heritage Festival

Sept. 5-7, Lexington

The Roots and Heritage Festival is a celebration of African- American culture and achievements. The annual event has earned recognition as one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast named by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival offers educational/cultural programs as well as a diverse group of food, clothing, music, literature and art vendors.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Sept. 16-21, Bardstown

 Started in 1992, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival offers a chance to celebrate Kentucky’s favorite spirit! The festival showcases the bourbon-making process and the incredible history behind the bourbon industry in Kentucky. Visitors can also enjoy distilleries’ tents and local artisans on the lawn of Spalding Hall. Participating bourbon makers include Barton Brands of Kentucky, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Bullit Distilling Company, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Michter’s, Wild Turkey Distillery and Woodford Reserve

St. James Court

Oct. 3-5, Louisville

St. James Court is a juried fine arts and crafts show that hosts around 750 artists from around the country. The show is celebrating its 57th year and was founded in 1957 as a way to help develop and support St. James Court, one of Old Louisville’s most renowned neighborhoods.

For more information about upcoming events, festivals and Kentucky summer adventures, visit the Kentucky Department of Travel at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/

Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

Categories: Arts Organizations, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Other, Performing Arts, Visual Arts | Tags: ,

Berea artist brings diversity and color to Frankfort classrooms and hallways

Walking through the halls of Frankfort High School (FHS) these days, you might notice things look a little different. That’s because, with the help of teaching artist Alfredo Escobar, students in Spanish and art classes at FHS recently designed and painted a tradition-inspired mural on the once drab walls outside the school’s cafeteria.

The mural, completed in early February, was the culminating project of a two-week artist residency with Berea graphic and fine artist, Alfredo Escobar, a teaching artist in the Kentucky Arts Council’s Teaching Artists Directory. FHS and Escobar partnered to create the mural through a 2013 Teaching Art Together grant from the arts council. The painting is made up of images that uniquely represent the school and the community of students’ within it. The mural was inspired by Escobar’s work “Mi Vida,” an acrylic piece that depicts the artist’s life from childhood to adulthood. Escobar worked with multiple classes over the two-week period to brainstorm concepts and incorporate those ideas into the mural design.

“I never tell the students exactly what they should paint; I lead them into their own decision-making process through which they choose their own content, spatial organization and color scheme,” said Escobar. “The emphasis of this project is not on the realism of the final product; rather, it is on the students’ expression of themselves and what is relevant to their lives.”

The full-time artist completes residencies much like the one at FHS with students and schools across the state. Using his own career and creative process as an example, Escobar strives to teach students how to creatively express themselves, whether through art, writing or other career paths. Parents, teachers and fellow students were invited to view the finished product.

The Teaching Art Together grant allows teachers to collaborate with practicing, professional artists on the design and implementation of residencies like Escobar’s. Ranging from one to four weeks, the residencies provide teachers with the tools to continue to incorporate the arts into the curriculum long after the artist is gone. In Frankfort High’s case, Escobar’s residency has allowed teachers to incorporate more art concepts into Spanish classes because the students have a better understanding of the steps and processes involved.

“The mural project was a great way to bring our student body together and give them something to be proud of,” said Tabatha Doyle, one of the teachers involved in bringing Escobar to the school. “The students take great pride in their work and our mural has motivated them to continue art projects throughout the entire school.”

Schools and teachers may apply for the next round of Teaching Art Together grants until April 15.

Alex Newby, program assistant

Categories: Arts Education | Tags: , , , , , ,

Students shine at Poetry Out Loud Finals

After months of preparation, the Poetry Out Loud state championship took place March 13 in Frankfort at the Capital Plaza Hotel. The winner, Taryn Syck, of Pike County Central High School, will travel April 28-30 to Washington, D.C., for the National Poetry Out Loud Championship to represent Kentucky. While she was a tough competitor through the first two rounds, it was Syck’s third poem, “The Great Blue Heron,” by Carolyn Kizer, that put her on top.

I love the moment when everything comes together: The words, the delivery and the passion. Before I became the arts education director for the Kentucky Arts Council, I was not overly impressed with the Poetry Out Loud program. I did not appreciate the value of reciting poetry written by other people. I have seen some very powerful performances at high school poetry slams. So I believed having students perform their own poetry would be much more effective.

Today, I understand the value of this kind of poetry recitation. All 14 school champions were impressive. I am so glad I was not a judge. Each student in the program had been coached by one of the arts council’s teaching artists. They won their school competitions to advance to the state finals. All competitors recited two poems and then five finalists made it to the final round.

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Mary Hamilton, one of the teaching artists that worked with the champions, attended Thursday’s championship and later shared some of her thoughts about the day with me.

“There were three specific performances today that, if they would be available for Kentucky Poetry Out Loud programs to view, would provide excellent examples of very specific performance successes,” she said.

“Beautiful Wreckage” — recited by Titus Carter — “That recitation was stunning, absolutely stunning. He so captured the emotion of that poem. A video of that performance would provide a wonderful demonstration of how thrilling and amazing a recitation can be when the student allows their emotional connection to the poem to come charging through.  So many young men tend to be exceedingly reluctant to allow feelings to show. I think providing his recitation of ‘Beautiful Wreckage’ as an example of an emotional connection to a poem would especially encourage young men to give themselves the permission he clearly gave himself for that recitation.”

“I Remember, I Remember”  recited by Gabrielle Thompson  “That recitation provides a fantastic example of how pauses are not empty, but full. The spaces between the two ‘I Remembers’ at the beginning of each section were handled superbly. Sitting in the audience we could feel strongly that all memories are not remembered the same way. Her face, voice, and especially her communication during pauses, were wonderful to behold.”

“Famous”  recited by Haley Reed  “This is a lighter poem, and Haley did a marvelous job of clearly conveying the lighthearted nature and even the humor within the poem. There was also a clear change from when she was talking in third person and in first person. I considered it a wonderful example  well worth providing for future Poetry Out Loud students.”

Each of these performances, as well as Taryn Syck’s recitation of the “Great Blue Heron,” will soon be available on the arts council’s website. I invite you to visit our website to view these amazing performances by high school youth. And, next year, I hope other teachers and schools across the state will give their high school students the opportunity to participate in the Poetry Out Loud program.

Jean St. John, arts education director

Categories: Literary Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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