By Elizabeth Foley and Yvette Hurt
We encourage every community member to support LexArts' mission through financial contributions and participation in its programs. Here's why: LexArts plays a critical role in the vitality, and even survival, of our community's small and emerging arts organizations, as well as our large and established ones.
A healthy community arts scene has a spectrum of organizations, from large professional orchestras, ballets and theater companies, to small volunteer organizations that explore art beyond the edges of mainstream, accepted, more financially robust art forms. As founders of two budding arts organizations, we have received crucial support from LexArts and have benefitted from its guidance, leadership, administrative support, professional development and constructive criticism.
LexArts worked with the late Ross Zirkle, former head of printmaking at the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, and a small group of printmakers to establish the Bluegrass Printmakers' Cooperative. Along with facilitating the donation of a press from the estate of Lillian Boyer, LexArts provided BPC studio space, administrative assistance and expert guidance. In addition, they provided professional development and training on an ad-hoc, informal basis. LexArts continues to support our work through yearly exhibits in ArtsPlace gallery and the Downtown Arts Center gallery.
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The staff at LexArts has also played a key role in the success of Art in Motion, a small, all-volunteer nonprofit that works with Lextran to build transit shelters that combine public art with basic amenities for public transit riders. Studies have concluded that incorporating art into the community transit system infrastructure increases ridership, which leads to economic and environmental benefits for the entire community.
Without the guidance and assistance of LexArts staff Jim Clark, Nathan Zamarron and Alma Kajtazovic, AIM could not have achieved what it has. From guidance on our public design contests and calls to mural artists (along with financial support for artists' honoraria), to serving on our juries, providing meeting space and serving as our fiscal agent, LexArts has been a valuable, receptive partner. Just as it has for the Bluegrass Printmakers' Cooperative, LexArts has organized and sponsored educational exhibits promoting AIM's projects.
The support and encouragement we have received from LexArts have been key parts of our organizations' accomplishments and we are grateful for that collaboration.
LexArts continues to foster an environment that nurtures the growth and development of new initiatives that have the potential to make Lexington a great American city inspired by the Arts.
Elizabeth Foley is a founding member and coordinator of the Bluegrass Printmakers' Cooperative. Yvette Hurt is president of Art in Motion, Inc.