This past Thursday, nearly fifty grown men and women from across the Commonwealth met in a gymnasium at the Cabbage Patch Settlement House in Old Louisville. After improvising a fake talk show where the topic was “the shrinking ecosystem of the big foot,” they passed an imaginary ball around a circle while screaming, “whoosh,” “erk” and “bridge.”
I was one of them.
Some might call this kid’s stuff, tom foolery or even nonesense, but these were part of the hands-on, sample activities during the annual ArtsReach seminar. For two days every March, community groups, social service organizations, juvenile facilities, artists, arts organizations and anyone else who wants to bring arts into the lives of underserved people, meet to make connections and learn new ways to meet their goals.
ArtsReach is an innovative two-prong program of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in conjunction with the Kentucky Arts Council. The Kentucky Center partners with community groups in Louisville to provide arts experiences for people who might not otherwise have these opportunities. The long-standing Louisville program serves as a model to ArtsReach Kentucky, which fosters several partnerships between community groups and arts organizations statewide. Ashland, Paducah, Hopkinsville, Frankfort, Elizabethtown and Mt. Sterling all have programs, and the list is growing.
These mutually beneficial programs are invaluable to Kentucky communities, as is the network among the entire program’s particpants. This is why get together every March to share our success stories…and possibly make art from duct tape.
Sarah Schmitt, arts access director