Kentucky Food+Art+Health Dialogue

This March, the Kentucky Arts Council, Owensboro Health, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, the Rural Policy Research Institute and Art of the Rural hosted a statewide conversation in Owensboro, KY about the dynamic intersection of food, art and health. Hosted at the RiverPark Center in downtown Owensboro and Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, the agenda included a series of brief presentations offering a broad understanding of the work happening at these intersections from all across Kentucky, with presenters addressing the impact of food + art + health on economic development, advancement of the arts, social cohesion, tourism, elder care, health, education and more. The sessions wrapped-up with a reception and jam session brought to you by the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra and the RiverPark Center, and a networking social at CYO Brewing. The second day of the convening included guided art walks, Q&A opportunities with the presenters and an informative session on how to find funding for innovative projects.

Read the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer article.


1:00 p.m.                   Welcome
Mayor Tom Watson
City of Owensboro

1:15 p.m.                   Arts + Health  

Valerie Horn
Appaltree Farmacy Project, Community Farm Alliance
Link to Powerpoint

Jeremy Crowder, RN
Manager, Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation, Owensboro Health
Link to Powerpoint

1:45 p.m.                   Local Impact: Owensboro Dance Theatre

Link to Video

2:00 p.m.                   Arts + Elder Care Communities  

Andee Rudloff
Community Artist, TimeSlips KY Project
Link to video
Link to Powerpoint

2:15 p.m.                   Arts + Food + Tourism 

Mark Brown
Kentucky Arts Council, USDA
Link to Powerpoint 

Glenn Baker
Owsley County Arts Council
Link to Powerpoint 

Amy Potts
Communications Coordinator, Kentucky Department of Tourism, Arts, and Heritage
Link to Powerpoint 

2:45 p.m.                   Break

3:00 p.m.                   Art + Workforce Development Panel

Jessica Evans & Doug Naselroad
Culture of Recovery Project
Link to Video
Link to Powerpoint

Brenda Richardson
Art Behind Bars
Link to Powerpoint

3:30 p.m.                   Art + Armed Forces

General Nolen Bivens
Former U.S. Army General and Advisor for Creative Forces
Link to Powerpoint
Link to Video

3:45 p.m.                   Arts + Social Cohesion  

Virginia Siegel & Nicole Musgrave
The Kentucky Folklife Program “Bosnia Project”
View Powerpoint

Carla Gover & Yani Vozos
Cornbread and Tortillas project
View Powerpoint

Michelle Howell
Bowling Green Community Farmers’ Market
Link to Powerpoint

4:30 p.m.                   Arts + Education Panel: Building a Culture 

Nick Brake, PhD
Owensboro Public Schools
Article about arts integration at Owensboro Independent Public Schools

Nick Covault
KY Governor’s School for the Arts
Link to Powerpoint

Sarah Campbell
Berea College Partners for Education
Link to Powerpoint

5:00 p.m.                   International Bluegrass Music Museum Reception & Jam Session
Brought to you by the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, the RiverPark Center and the International Bluegrass Music Museum

6:00 p.m.                   Dinner on your own

8:00 p.m. –               Networking Opportunity: Karaoke Night at CYO Brewery


Sandi Curd moderates a panel focused on funding creative cross-sector projects. From left to right, Sandi Curd, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation; General Nolen Bivens, Creative Forces; Tony Watkins, Community Foundation for Western Kentucky; Robi Fauser Fink, United States Department of Agriculture; Bob Reeder, Rural LISC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Chris Cathers, Kentucky Arts Council.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital
1201 Pleasant Valley Road
Owensboro, KY 42303
Central Standard Time

8:30 a.m.                   Light Breakfast

9:00 a.m.                   Art Walks                                    

9:15 a.m.                    Welcome
Greg Strahan, President & CEO of Owensboro Health

9:20 a.m.                   Q&A with Conference Presenters

Moderators: Sandi Curd & Debbie Zuerner Johnson  

Panelists:                   Gen. Nolan Bivens      Brenda Richardson

Nick Brake                  Nick Covault               Virginia Siegel  

Sarah Campbell          Valerie Horn                Carla Gover

Michelle Howell           Andee Rudloff             Yani Vozos     

10:00 a.m.                Break

10:15 a.m.                Funding Food + Art + Health

General Bivens, Creative Forces
Tony Watkins, Community Foundation for Western Kentucky
Robi Fauser Fink, United States Department of Agriculture
Bob Reeder, Rural LISC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Chris Cathers, Kentucky Arts Council

11:30 a.m.                Upcoming Opportunities
Savannah Barrett, Art of the Rural and RUPRI 

Link to Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange website
Link to Next Generation website

11:40 a.m.                Next Steps
Sandi Curd, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation

What will you do in your community as a result of this conversation?

This event developed as a result of the 2016 Next Generation Rural Creative Placemaking Kentucky Working Group, and is spearheaded by Sandi Curd (Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation), Debbie Zerner-Johnson and Erica Wade (Owensboro Health), Joe Berry (Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation), Chris Cathers and Todd Cremeans (Kentucky Arts Council), and Savannah Barrett (Art of the Rural/RUPRI).

Reflections on #kyrux2017: Bowling Green

By Nicole Musgrave

This year I’ve had the joy of representing the Kentucky Folklife Program as the regional host coordinator for the 2017 Bowling Green Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange community intensive.  In this role I planned a variety of experiences with people and places around South Central Kentucky that represented the region’s history, culture, economy, and landscape.  It was fun to have the opportunity to host RUX members in Bowling Green and to share the things I find exciting about living in South Central Kentucky.

The experiences that I chose for the weekend reflected the stories about the region that I felt were important to highlight.

One thing I knew I wanted to showcase was Bowling Green’s immigrant and refugee communities.  Bowling Green is a refugee resettlement city, a designation which has helped enrich the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity.  As the graduate assistant at the Kentucky Folklife Program (KFP), I had strong connections to Bowling Green’s Bosnian community.  For the past two years, KFP has been working on the Bowling Green Bosnia Oral History Project,learning about the traditions that are important to members of this community, like Bosnian coffee.  We planned a Bosnian coffee demonstration, hosted by Sanida Palavra and Dzenana Kadric at the Bosnian Islamic Center of Bowling Green to learn about the significance of coffee in Bosnian culture.  Through their demonstration, we learned how coffee expresses the importance of hospitality and slowing down to enjoy the simple pleasures of life (or čejfas one would say in Bosnian).

In talking with RUX co-founder Savannah Barrett about the vision for the Bowling Green community intensive, she noted how she always conceived of Bowling Green as a rural city — a place with many of the amenities of urban life, and a strong connection to rural culture and economies.  With this is mind, I wanted to show the way in which Bowing Green interacts with the rural areas that surround the city.  On Saturday evening we went to Need More Acres Farm in Scottsville, KY where we were hosted by Michelle Howell.  Howell shared about her work connecting people in Bowling Green with fresh, Kentucky-grown produce.  After taking a tour of her farm and getting a sense of how Howell’s work is a back-and-forth between rural and urban, we sat down to a farm fresh meal and some live music by Franklin, KY’s Dead Broke Barons.

I also planned for the group to spend Sunday in Horse Cave, KY about 40 miles northeast of Bowling Green.  I loved the thought of bringing RUX members to Horse Cave because the city is really emblematic of the landscape of the region.  South Central Kentucky is known as “Cave Country,” with a karst landscape defined by limestone, sinkholes, underground rivers, and caves.  Horse Cave is unique because there is a cave right in the middle of their downtown.  In fact, the city was built around the cave Hidden River Cave.  We toured the area above and below ground, hearing cultural, historical, and ecological stories about the community.

While serving as the Bowling Green regional host coordinator was an opportunity for me to connect RUX members with South Central Kentucky’s diversity, it also ended up being an opportunity for me to connect more deeply with my community.  It’s easy to take the place where you live for granted, to put off going to the places you’ve yet to visit, to put off talking to the people you’ve yet to strike up a conversation with.  This opportunity was the push I needed to take those leaps, and as a result I feel a much greater sense of rootedness in this place.

Click on the links below to see more:



Reflections on #kyrux2017: Lexington

By Nicole Musgrave

On June 23rd, roughly 70 people from all across Kentucky gathered in Lexington for the first community intensive of the 2017 Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange (RUX).  As a first-year RUX member and a relative newcomer to Kentucky, I was eager to spend the weekend getting to know a new city and a new group of people.  I was also self-conscious about living in Kentucky for less than a year and not yet developing an identity as a Kentuckian.  I wasn’t sure how I would fit into the conversation.

Over the course of the weekend, I developed a better understanding of Kentucky as I listened to my fellow RUX members tell stories about their connections to this place that we share.  Hearing how other people identify with their home gave me an opportunity to reflect on how I view my own relationship to Kentucky.

I also gained a greater familiarity with Lexington.  I had the chance to hang out in a variety of bars, breweries, and arcades, experiencing Lexington nightlife while getting to know RUX members.  I ate at a number of restaurants – such as Sav’s Grill and Third Street Stuff – that I probably wouldn’t have made my way to had I just ventured to Lexington on my own.  I got to hang out at the Justice House, a community space near downtown that’s the home of RUX members Christian and Tanya Torp.

I also learned about different aspects of Lexington’s history and landscape, such as the Davis Bottom neighborhood, a racially diverse but economically depressed area near downtown that recently became a community land trust and has been rebuilt as Davis Park.  I learned how Lexington’s horse country heritage is embodied in the urban areas of the city – by street names such as Race Street and Oliver Lewis Way – and in the rural areas outside the city – by the surrounding farms with rock fences and grazing horses.  I also had the chance to hike around McConnell Springs where I realized that the karst landscape that’s familiar to me as a resident of South Central Kentucky also extends up to Lexington. (I also learned the word ‘karst’ for that matter).

Since this first weekend in Lexington, my identity as a Kentuckian has strengthened.  I feel more connected and anchored to this place, and can now say that I have friends all over the Commonwealth.  I have a better understanding of how the different regions of Kentucky are perceived and how they’re experienced (and how at times there’s a discrepancy between the two).  I know a bit more about the state’s challenges and points of pride.  And I also had fun!  I heard my fellow RUX member Tim Morton describe RUX as a “fieldtrip for adults,” and it’s kind of like that.  Without having to do any of my own planning or research, I was able to have an exciting and diverse introduction to Lexington.

Through the connections I made over the weekend, I was able to visit Lexington again a few weeks later to interview people who were associated with some of the spaces that we spent time in during the RUX weekend.  I visited with Pat Gerhard, owner of Third Street Stuff; Kenneth Demus, a resident of the Davis Park neighborhood who made the transition from Davis Bottom; Ashley C. Smith, formerly with the Lyric Theatre; and I was able to drop in on a Heinz Breakfast hosted by the Torps at the Justice House.  To learn more, click on the photo essays below.

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