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Rural Blog: CBS feature shows Appalshop as kind of business that would be hurt by cuts in arts’ budget


In response to President Trump’s proposed budget cuts CBS News’s “Sunday Morning” looked at how one rural community in Kentucky would be hurt. The same story could be reported in many other communities.

Letcher County, Kentucky, which has been hurt by the loss of coal jobs, is also the home of Appalshop, a non-profit media, arts, and education center that relies largely on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would all be de-funded under Trump’s proposed budget.

Appalshop is a non-profit media, arts, and education center that relies largely on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (Image from Rural Blog)

“Applashop was a seed that grew out of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in the 1960s,” reports CBS. “Programs were established in impoverished areas to encourage young people to develop new skills in the arts, like filmmaking. The film workshop has grown into a diverse and thriving arts center, where picks and shovels have been replaced by picks and bows.”

“With grants from the NEA, Appalshop filmmakers have turned the local culture into indelible images,” reports CBS.

Its success has given Whitesburg renovated buildings and a 15,000-watt radio station.

Some people in the arts favor Trump’s cuts, however.

David Marcus, artistic director for a theater company in Brooklyn, N.Y., told CBS, “For 20,000 years human beings have been making art. That streak is not going to end in 2018 if the NEA goes away.”

But he acknowledged that might not happen in Letcher County.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.`


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One Comment

  1. Judith Oetinger says:

    Most ridiculous move..to eliminate funding to the arts and to the economies that are directly affected.

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