Arts & Culture

Art Museum Receives NEA Stimulus Funds

Written by Brittany Meyer and Dorothy Freeman

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2009) – The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in recognition of the arts industry as an important sector in the economy.

Funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are targeted to preserve jobs in the not-for-profit sector that might be threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support.

The Art Museum applied for funding for part-time positions that are supported by grants and donations, including positions held by students who work as gallery attendants and the museum's Teacher Outreach Coordinator, Sonja Brooks, who currently works to build relationships with regional and rural schools.

The outreach component is imperative as it serves 19 surrounding counties with teacher workshops, school outreach presentations, and programs that relate to arts and humanities in Kentucky’s core curriculum. According to the 2007 Kentucky Core Content Test Scores, 43 percent of Kentucky fifth graders scored below proficient level in the arts and humanities section of testing. The score represents the lowest achievement level in any of the subjects tested.

Only institutions that had been previously funded by NEA were eligible to apply, yet the endowment was still inundated with thousands of requests.

"This funding ensures that the Art Museum, as the only accredited art museum in this region, can continue its outreach and service functions," said museum director, Kathy Walsh-Piper, who has enjoyed a long career in arts education. "Our goal has always been to enhance arts education in this region."

UK provides for the Art Museum’s building and staff, while all exhibitions and programs are funded by gifts and grants.

The current featured exhibition at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky is "Kentucky Folk: Art from the UK HealthCare Collection," which consists of more than 80 folk art figures and sculptures, paintings and canes by Kentucky folk artists, ranging in date from the 1970s to the present. The exhibition runs through Sept. 20.

The museum is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday, the museum is closed on Mondays and university holidays. For more information, call the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky at (859) 257-5716 or e-mail.