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Art Inc. Kentucky awarded $75,000 for series of new art installations honoring Lexington’s East End


Community Ventures, via its artist incubator – Art Inc. Kentucky – received a significant federal grant award for a series of new art installations honoring Lexington’s historic East End.

The National Endowment for the Arts announced over $84 million in awards to organizations across the country, including several Kentucky arts-based organizations. A total of 1,144 grants were awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements with all U.S. state and regional arts agencies.

“These awards demonstrate the continued creativity and excellence of arts projects across America and the nimbleness of our nation’s arts organizations in the face of a national crisis that shuttered their doors for months” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Art Inc. will use its award to create and install a number of historical memorialization art projects at the MET, Community Ventures’ newest development project, a mixed-use commercial/residential project located at the corner of Third St. in Lexington’s East End. Art Inc. has engaged with a number of local artists from the East End, or those that have ties to the East End, to create a collection of art pieces that pay homage to the history and culture of the community.

Frank X. Walker, Kentucky’s first African American poet laureate, will create three poems about the East End that will be illuminated on the side of the building. Other memorialization projects include the creation and installation of a timeline on the sidewalk encircling the building that will highlight important events in the community’s history and a high-relief wood panel word cloud featuring historic East End’s street names.

“We are extremely honored to be chosen as a recipient of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town funding,” said Mark Johnson, President of Art Inc. Kentucky. “And we are just as honored, as a result of this funding, that we will be able to commemorate and help preserve the legacies of East End Lexington’s historic people, places, and events.”

Art Inc. Kentucky, launched in 2018, provides Kentucky artists with the tools, education and resources necessary for them to build their businesses, gain exposure and sell their art work. It also provides live-work homes with attached working studios for artists at the Artists’ Village, which broke ground in 2019 with its first resident’s home – Frank X. Walker – completed at the end of 2019.

The Our Town grant is the first grant Art Inc. and Community Ventures have received from the NEA, although the NEA previously recognized the work of Art Inc. on a national scale. In 2019, members of Art Inc. Kentucky and staff from the Mayor’s Office in Lexington were invited to Washington to participate in the Local Leaders’ Institute on Creative Placemaking, a leadership initiative of the NEA in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

The MET is currently under construction and is expected to open to the public in the Summer of 2020.

For more information about the Art Inc. Kentucky, contact Mark Johnson at (859) 231-0054, ext 1023, or mjohnson@ArtIncKentucky.org.

From Community Ventures

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