The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Aug12Filed under: Balagula Theatre, Central Kentucky Arts News, Classical Music, dance, Downtown Arts Center, fundraising, Kentucky Theatre, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Theater, UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington; Tagged as: 2012 Campaign for the Arts, Community Arts Grants, General Operating Funds, LexArts
LexArts set a new record in its 2012 Campaign for the Arts, raising $1.05 million to be distributed among area cultural groups for general operating support and Community Arts Grants. But LexArts President and CEO Jim Clark said he plans to nearly double that take within the next five years.
Clark said a significantly larger haul of $2 million will be necessary to support the work of a number of groups that are pursuing ambitious goals such as the Living Arts and Science Center, which is undergoing a renovation that will double its space. Clark said campaign goals will likely increase incrementally over the next few years as LexArts works to bolster the donor base with organizations both in and out of Lexington.
“We’re doing national-level work and it deserves national funding,” Clark said.
He said the quality of work by local arts groups has been a big reason why the campaign raised more than $1 million for the seventh consecutive year, despite the recession.
“The product is strong, and it’s attracted strong supporters,” Clark said.
Along with the campaign haul, LexArts announced recipients of general operating support and community arts grants.
General operating support went to:
- Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, $22,500
- Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, $165,000
- Lexington Children’s Theatre, $120,000
- Lexington Art League, $60,000
- Lexington Singers, $9,000
- Living Arts & Science Center, $102,000
Recipients of Community Arts Grants, given for specific projects, were:
- Balagula Theatre Company, $9,000 to support its upcoming season of five full length plays, including a world premier
- Kentucky Ballet Theatre, $9,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, $8,000 to support its Kentucky Great Writers Series
- Chamber Music Festival Festival of Lexington, $8,000 to support its weekend festival and the “July Series,” informal pop-up concerts around town performed by young artists
- KY Women Writers Conference, Inc., $8,000 to support the annual conference
- Central Music Academy, $5,000 to support free music lessons for financially disadvantaged youth ages 8 to 18 years old
- LexingtonChamber Chorale, $5,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Headley-WhitneyMuseum, $5,000 to support its Improbable Baubles art program for middle school students
- Common Good, $2,500 to support a youth arts initiative blending traditional storytelling with digital multimedia design
- KentuckyMighty Wurlitzer Project, $2,500 to support the 90th Anniversary Celebration at the Kentucky Theatre
- Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, $2,000 to support the creation of abbreviated love letters to the city of Lexington, installed as temporary works of street art along Limestone.
The Bluegrass Youth Ballet will host its inaugural Summer Solstice Soiree to raise funds to expand community outreach and tuition assistance programs for the school. The event, June 23 at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, 120 Sycamore Drive, will include live music by Alma Gitana, dinner by Dupree Catering and Events, a performance by BYB dancers, an auction and dancing.
The Bluegrass Youth Ballet, founded and directed by former Lexington Ballet and Kentucky Ballet Theatre dancer Adalhi Aranda Corn, is entering its 10th season.
Tickets for the Summer Solstice Soiree are $50 and available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For years, the theater in the Lexington Public Library downtown has been a venue for plays, films, talks, music and candidate debates.
This month, the renamed Will Stamps Farish Fund Theater at Central Library is reintroducing itself with numerous upgrades, from the dressing rooms backstage to the technology in the control room. The $537,288 renovation to the theater and its lobby, including a $100,000 endowment for maintenance of the 12-year-old Foucault Pendulum and Ceiling Clock, was funded primarily with grants from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation Inc. and the William Stamps Farish Fund, and several other donors.
“In the 12 years I’ve been here, this is the biggest donation to the library that I have heard of,” said media relations coordinator Doug Tattershall. “This was a huge undertaking to do this not with public funds but with private donations.”
Folks will have ample opportunity to check out the facilities thanks to an April calendar full of presentations, from concerts to theater to film screenings and discussions. The list of performers includes local favorites such as self-proclaimed “honky-tonk soul” artists Coralee and the Townies and comedian Etta May, movies such as Coal Miner’s Daughter and several foreign films, and groups such as Accents Publishing.
Library director Ann Hammond says the renovation was done purposefully, with extensive consultations with the arts community about what their needs would be in a new performance venue.
“They wanted the equipment to be more comprehensive, more up-to-date,” Hammond says. “They had, basically, VHS technology. So now we’ve got Blu-ray, we’ve got all kinds of ability to project and to record.”
Jim Chandler, director of support services, points out that all the systems may be operated from iPads, so a technical director could sit in the theater and make adjustments rather than hoping what he or she is seeing or hearing in the booth is the same as what the audience is experiencing.
Hammond said groups also wanted the theater’s heating and air-conditioning systems addressed, both in terms of climate control and noise, and they wanted better backstage accommodations and more stage access from backstage. All of those things have been dealt with, Hammond says.
For the audience, seats have been staggered to allow better stage views, and there are cup holders. Food and drink will be allowed in the theater because a rubberized compound has replaced carpeting on the floor.
“We’re going to be a little friendlier to people who come in and use the theater,” Hammond says.
And in the changing world of libraries, an asset like a theater is very important, she says.
“A library’s greatest place in society is to be that leveling force, that place where you can come and you know you’re going to be welcome and you don’t have to pay an entry fee, and you get help with your information needs, you can attend a program, you can take class, you can come hang out and have a sense of community,” she says. “That’s what we’re hoping to create here. We want to be a welcoming space for the entire community, and with the theater, with the art gallery, with all the other provisions that the library offers, I think we’re doing that.”
LexArts kicked off its 2012 Fund for the Arts Campaign Wednesday morning with a breakfast and champagne toast at ArtsPlace attended by around 150 arts, business and civic leaders.
The campaign aims to raise $1.1 million, equal to last-year’s goal when LexArts had to scramble to make up a 22 percent cut in the Lexington Fayette Urban-County Government’s contribution to the cause.
Unlike past years when campaign kickoffs heavily addressed economic travails, Wednesday’s event struck an aspirational tone with speakers including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Susanne Halmi of Tiffany & Co. touting the arts as a driver of economic growth and community pride.
“We saw a community that invests in itself,” Halmi said of Tiffany’s decision last year to open a manufacturing plant in Lexington that employs 125 people. “We were thrilled to find people talented and creative to support our business.”
Since arriving in Lexington, Tiffany has provided financial and other support to LexArts and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gray cited the arts as a key factor in driving people to relocate to Lexington and touted the campaign saying, “We cannot shrink ourselves to greatness.”
LexArts President and CEO Jim Clark said after the breakfast that he has seen an increased interest in arts support recently and cited projects such as the expansion of the Living Arts and Science Center, the Lexington Philharmonic’s new commissioning program and the growth of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington as recent achievements in arts funding.
“They give us something to talk about, and to show where the support is really working,” Clark said. “The important thing is to keep growing, because as these organizations grow, they will need increased operating support.”
The breakfast highlighted the accomplishments of young artists with a string quartet from the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras performing an original composition by quartet member Dylan Rowe and 16-year-old School for the Creative and Performing Arts student Virginia Newsome discussing HeARTS, an not-for-profit group she founded to support arts education in schools. Since forming last fall, Newsome said her group had given $12,000 to support arts in schools in the United States, Haiti and Kenya.
The Kentucky Foundation for Women has awarded 10 Artist Enrichment Grants totaling more than $24,000 to “Central Kentucky feminist artists and arts organizations committed to creating positive social change throughout the state,” according to a news release. The release says the grants “provide opportunities for feminist artists and arts organizations to enhance their abilities and skills to create art that advances social justice in Kentucky. Applicants may request funds to develop their skills, participate in artist residencies, explore new areas or techniques, and/or build a body of work.”
The honorees are:
Philis Alvic, Lexington: $2,000 to create an exhibition titled Portals, exploring openings, transformations and passages in feminist weaving.
Arwen Donahue, Carlisle: $4,900 to create a book manuscript, with watercolor and ink illustrations, combining memoir, oral history interviews with artist-agrarian women.
Joanna Thornewill Hay, Frankfort: $3,500 to work with a mentor to write a book based on Stories From the Balcony, her oral history project with white and black people who attended the Grand Theatre in Frankfort during the era of segregation.
Rebecca Gayle Howell, Lexington: $3,000 to archive her recently completed body of feminist social change manuscripts, photographs and digital files, and use new and traditional media.
Chialing Hsieh, Mount Sterling: $3,500 to record and distribute a CD of works for viola and piano by contemporary American female composers.
Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort: $1,500 to support a feminist production of The Tempest, focusing on the female characters and led by female artists.
George Ella Lyon, Lexington: $1,000 to complete a CD of original songs in the folk tradition called Every Time You Speak the Truth (You’re Making Justice in the World).
Anna P. Murphy, Frankfort: $1,000 to create and exhibit a series of paintings depicting strong female figures juxtaposed with detailed lace and patterning.
Bianca Spriggs, Lexington: $2,043 to attend a national conference, participate in discussions and network with writers and literary organizations.
Doris Thurber, Frankfort: $2,000 to create batik wall hangings depicting myths and stories that show the roles women play in the physical and spiritual worlds.
Project descriptions were provided by the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
According to an LAL news release, the space will be a satellite of the league’s primary location in the Loudoun House on Castlewood Drive. It is anticipated that the space would increase the league’s annual attendance to 85,000 people a year, enabling it to bring in a wider variety of artists and exhibits from around the world.
The fund-raiser is billed as the Everyone Campaign, teeing off on the league’s slogan, “Art that is for everyone.” Donations can be made at LAL website; by calling (859) 254.7024; or mailing checks, money orders or credit card information (Visa, Mastercard or Discover) to LAL @ Loudoun House, 209 Castlewood Dr., Lexington, Ky. 40505.
The Change for Art involves area artists taking old city parking meters and turning them into works of art that still collect money, now to support art.
At 6 p.m., John Darko’s meter will be revealed at the Kentucky Theatre and he will discuss the piece.
Described as a meter about math, mystery and chaos, Darko wrote in an email, “My work is driven by an obsession with the ancient mystery which lies at the heart of human existence. I hope to provide a counterpoint to the barrage of trivia which constitutes our information-based society and give others the opportunity to experience wordless wonder and quiet curiosity.”
Darko’s meter will bring the total number of meters to four, with others located at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Good Foods Market and Cafe, and Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. To date, the meters have raised $5,500 through individuals and collections from the meters.
Change for Art founder Robbie Morgan, who is also the campaign manager for LexArts, wrote that the project’s, “overall goal is to raise $10,000 to support the ‘Artist Opportunity Fund’ so that we can distribute small project grants to working artists. That portion of the program will be open to musicians, writers, theatre artists and so on. We want to see the end of the term ‘starving artist’ and see financially solvent artists who contribute to the community culturally and economically.”
The project is looking for sponsors and locations for 2012. Contact Change for Art at email@example.com.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich