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Kentucky Foundation for Women awards grants for arts-based activities for girls of color

The Kentucky Foundation for Women has awarded nine grants ranging from $2,629 to $7,500 for individual artists and organizations in Kentucky who are engaging girls of color, ages eleven to eighteen, in arts-based activities.

The grants are part of an effort to elevate the voice and vision of girls of color across the state.

Groups or individuals who are focused on the creative expressions, stories and perspectives, strength and spirit of girls of color through art making were encouraged to apply. KFW received 23 applications for the 2018 Special Grant.

The complete list of grantees is below:

La’Shelle Allen/ Sistah LaLa Productions (Lexington): $7,250 to engage girls in a songwriting, arranging, and audio/video production workshop addressing the impact of sexual violence on a personal and societal level. Participants will explore voice and activism through music and video creation. They will develop communication, presentation, and leadership skills both in the context of small peer group work (artistic collaboration) and in promoting their art in the community.

Hannah Drake (Louisville): $3,500 to work with middle school girls of color to use art and poetry to transform school bathrooms with words of encouragement and positivity. The girls will be able to read words from their fellow students that are uplifting and encouraging, transforming a negative space into space of affirmation. Participating in the project will empower them to reclaim this space and take control of the stories, images and messages they encounter in their everyday lives.

Regina “Pega Pega” Harris (Lexington): $3,300 to engage girls in an eight-week Capoeira program, in partnership with Grupo Balanca Capoeira Of Lexington, during which girls will tell their stories through movement, combining martial arts with dance. The program will allow participants to connect with one another and express their individuality through movement. Those who complete the program will go into their communities with increased confidence and tools with which to create change.

DaMaris B. Hill (Lexington): $7,500 to provide a writers workshop for young women of color, led by black feminist writers. Participants will create non-fiction works using artistic practices associated with remix and pastiche. The workshop will encourage black girls and young women of color to use their voices in a 21st century context. The work they create will be a catalyst for social change in Kentucky and beyond.

La Casita Center/ Latina Teens Program (Louisville): $7,500 to provide opportunities for Latina teens to explore their identity, recognize societal demands and expectations, and nurture their creativity through dialogue and craft-making. The program, ASI SOY YO (This is who I am), will be led by Latina artist Ada Asenjo. Program participants will work with peers and mentors who look like them. The work they create will inspire other Latina teens to share their voices so they can be heard by adults in their communities.

 The Upper Town Heritage Foundation/ The Hotel Metropolitan (Paducah): $2,629 to conduct a series of art workshops to highlight the stories, voices and artistic expression of girls of color in Paducah. Participants will learn about women leaders of color in their own communities, and develop and perform skits based on the topics that affect them. Through this process they will gain the confidence and skills they need to become future leaders.

The Louisville Urban League (Louisville): $7,500 to engage middle school age black girls in weekly workshops focusing on cultural heritage, identity, and creative expression, culminating in a book which will highlight the uniqueness, complexity, and validity of black girlhood. The workshops will provide an outlet for black girls to shift the narrative and tell their own stories. The book will provide a tool through which their voices can be heard and honored in the community.

Portia White (Louisville): $7,500 to engage middle and high school age girls in the collective creation of a dance piece that incorporates contemporary, hip-hop and African styles, in response to the question, “Why is my voice necessary?” The dance will be performed at multiple locations in Louisville’s Shawnee neighborhood. The project will provide a space for girls of color to explore their own voices through dance. The performance will provide a platform for their voices to be heard and inspire others in the community to speak as well.

Arcea Zapata de Aston/ Young Latina Leaders: Voces en Acción (Owensboro): $7,500 to engage young women and girls of color in art activities including music, painting, dance, photography, and creative writing, in partnership with EDUCA (Educational and Cultural Advancement for Latinos) and the Owensboro Museum of Science and History. The program will provide opportunities particularly for young Latina women and girls to connect with one another, explore their voices through creative expression, and develop the skills needed to mentor and support other girls and young women of color in their community.


“These vital projects elevate the voices and lived experience of girls of color through artmaking as a catalyst for personal and social change. We anticipate a broad impact from these projects through the dynamic voices that lead the way to our future,” said Sharon LaRue, Executive Director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

The Kentucky Foundation for Women is a private foundation formed in 1985 by Louisville writer Sallie Bingham.  Its mission is to promote positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts. KFW is committed to making grants accessible to all, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, educational level, economic condition or geographic origin.

The Kentucky Foundation for Women

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