Arts & Culture

Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts Begins This Week at UK, Doubles in Size

The 35th Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts kicks off this week on the University of Kentucky campus. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 10, 2022) — The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) kicks off its 35th anniversary class this summer with a class doubled in size from previous years thanks to supplemental funding from the Kentucky Department of Education. Growing from 256 students to more than 500, the tuition-free program will take place over two consecutive three-week sessions (session 1: June 12-July 2; session 2: July 10-July 30) with students divided into each. Both sessions will take place at the University of Kentucky this summer.

“Education continues to be the key to ensuring the future of Kentucky remains bright. Investing this supplemental funding into GSA is a positive step toward ensuring that education and cultural opportunities reach students in every community throughout the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “I encourage more students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to develop diverse, lifelong friendships and explore your artistic talents through education and the arts.”

“This is a transformational moment for GSA, but also for the entire state,” said UK alumnus Nick Covault, executive director of GSA, and 2002 GSA alumnus (vocal music). “This increased investment not only means more of Kentucky’s creative youth will be empowered, validated and affirmed as artists, it also means the Commonwealth will benefit even more from the powerful skillset of our next generation of creative leaders: artist-citizens who bring innovation, connection, joy and healing to various sectors of our communities.” 

GSA was approved for $2,850,000 from the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Summer Enrichment funds (Office of Teaching and Learning) to be awarded over a three-year period. Federal ESSER funding was provided to state education agencies as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act). The $2,850,000 ESSER grant covers 43% of the expanded GSA program, with an additional 32% ($2,121,746) financed by private sources, and the remaining from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky Performing Arts and program administrators are working to secure additional funding, including fundraising, to allow for the program to accommodate 500 students after the three-year grant term ends.

“We are proud to partner on this effort to expand GSA to encompass additional students,” Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said. “This program is a powerful and life-changing learning experience for Kentucky youth. I am excited that a greater number of our creative and artistic students will benefit from the GSA experience.”

GSA brings student artists from all regions of the state together on a Kentucky college campus for an immersive program of daily seminars, creative projects, master classes and lectures. Instruction is offered in nine disciplines: architecture and design, creative writing, dance, drama, film and photography, instrumental music, musical theater, visual art, and vocal music. Students, educators and administrators have often noted the peer support learning element of the program, with attendees connecting with like-minded peers and often leaving with new lifelong friends. Visiting guest artists include Martha Redbone, the Affriliachian Poets, Flamenco Louisville, Mutual Dance Theatre, Harry Pickens and a variety of other artists from various fields/mediums. They will entertain as well as interact with students.

Alumni of the program are eligible for scholarships at nearly 30 colleges and universities. 93% of the GSA 2021 class said they felt more prepared to attend college because of their GSA experience, while 75% said they felt GSA helped make college a more accessible option for them.

To learn more about the program, including ways you can support GSA’s mission, visit or the Kentucky Performing Arts website.

About GSA

GSA is a public/private partnership established in 1987 by the Kentucky Center (now Kentucky Performing Arts), the Commonwealth of Kentucky and numerous private supporters. Today, the vital funding required to make GSA a reality is provided by the state through the leadership of the governor’s office and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, as well as the Kentucky Performing Arts Foundation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and more than 300 corporations, parents, educators, alumni and friends of GSA. 

About the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts

The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts offers Kentucky’s broadest collection of visual and performing arts academic programs with four academic units. The college also is home to the Singletary Center for the Arts and the UK Art Museum. The College of Fine Arts declares that the arts are essential to the life of the individual and the community and expresses commitment to the arts through dedication to teaching, scholarly research, artistic experimentation, performance, outreach and exhibition. 

About Kentucky Performing Arts

Bringing world class performances to Kentucky, connecting artists with the community, and providing arts education opportunities, Kentucky Performing Arts lives its statewide mission of building lifelong relationships with the arts. As an integral member of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, Kentucky Performing Arts, along with the other agencies, seeks to preserve and promote the history, heritage and arts of the Commonwealth.

Three locations in Louisville make up the family of venues under the Kentucky Performing Arts umbrella:

  • The Kentucky Center at 501 W. Main St.
  • The Brown Theatre, 315 W. Broadway
  • Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, 724 Brent St.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.