Art of the Rural in Kentucky

Cultural Mapping at the Arts & Democracy Project Cultural Organizing Workshop
Photo credit: Arts & Democracy Project, Javiera Benavente

As a national organization often focusing our work across geographies, we are honored to be partnering with several organizations and communities within the state of Kentucky. Today we share with you some of our recent collaborations with Kentucky’s arts and culture community.

Cultural Organizing for Social Change in Kentucky Workshop

In early May we collaborated with the Arts & Democracy Project, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Alternate ROOTS and many statewide partners to bring cultural organizers across rural and urban Kentucky together for a Cultural Organizing for Social Change in Kentucky Workshop. We gathered in our state’s capital with representatives from all five regions of Kentucky. This statewide workshop convened artists, organizers, activists and policy advocates who believe in the power of art and culture to advance social justice for all Kentuckians. Alongside nearly fifty participants, we mapped cultural assets, gained an understanding of the cultural organizing framework, participated in story circles, discussed opportunities for building a more just economy through arts and culture, and envisioned a more unified and equitable statewide cultural network.

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 Junebug Production’s Stephanie McKee leading a workshop at the Cultural Organizing Workshop
Photo credit: Arts & Democracy Project, Javiera Benavente

We are grateful to have been included in this important endeavor, and will report back with more information on how this network activates Kentucky communities through cultural organizing. For Kentuckians interested in joining this conversation, we invite you to participate in this Cultural Organizing in Kentucky group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/culturalorganizingky/.

Third Thursday Old Time Square Dance Social

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Third Thursday Old Time Square Dance Social in Louisville, KY, USA
Photo credit: Alex Udis

Last week, the Louisville Old Time Squares Association (LOTSA) hosted a benefit cake walk for Art of the Rural at their monthly Third Thursday Old Time Square Dance Social in Louisville, Kentucky. LOTSA approached us with an interest in starting a new partnership program to benefit area non-profits. We had a fantastic time getting to know the square dance community, talking about our work, sharing the cakes, and of course dancing some squares! We look forward to continuing to participate in these monthly gatherings.

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Art of the Rural staff tabling before the cakewalk at the Louisville Old Time Squares Association Third Thursday Square Dance Social

Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange

Art of the Rural is developing a rural-urban exchange program in collaboration with Appalshop and regional partners to facilitate a convening of emerging and established Kentucky community leaders from Whitesburg and Louisville. The exchange effort aims to build understanding, mutual concern, and human relationships between key members of creative communities across the Commonwealth. The heart of this work is a desire to increase collaboration and creative dialogue between urban and rural Kentuckians, and will convene over the summer of the Year of the Rural Arts 2014 in Whitesburg and in Louisville. Stay tuned for more information on this collaboration.