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Kentucky Arts Council executive director resigns, board is reorganized

In this 2015 file photo, Lexington artist Hendrick Floyd, one of the first residents of a new artist-oriented housing initiative in the North Limestone neighborhood, talks with National Endowment for the Arts chairwoman Jane Chu (right) and Kentucky Arts Council director Lori Meadows during their tour of the North Limestone neighborhood. Chu was in Lexington for a two-day visit to Kentucky.
In this 2015 file photo, Lexington artist Hendrick Floyd, one of the first residents of a new artist-oriented housing initiative in the North Limestone neighborhood, talks with National Endowment for the Arts chairwoman Jane Chu (right) and Kentucky Arts Council director Lori Meadows during their tour of the North Limestone neighborhood. Chu was in Lexington for a two-day visit to Kentucky. rcopley@herald-leader.com

Kentucky Arts Council director Lori Meadows is resigning her post, and the board is being reorganized with 11 new members appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

“We certainly are grateful for her service,” Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet spokeswoman Laura Brooks said of Meadows’ resignation.

Brooks said she could not elaborate on reasons for the resignation because it is a personnel matter. Meadows did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Brooks said she didn’t know when Meadows’ resignation would be effective.

“On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank Lori Meadows who has deftly guided the Kentucky Arts Council as Executive Director,” Council Board of Directors chair Mary Michael Corbett wrote in an email, responding to a request for comment. “She’s been an integral part of arts community for the last 20 years.”

Also in an email statement, LexArts president and CEO Nan Plummer wrote, “Lori Meadows was one of the first arts professionals to reach out to me when I came to LexArts exactly two years ago. Since then I have relied on her vast experience and sound advice. Along with many others, I will miss her personal kindness, advocacy, and leadership of the arts in our Commonwealth.

“LexArts has enjoyed a collegial relationship with the Arts Council as a whole. I look forward to working with the new and continuing members to strengthen the arts in Kentucky.”

The reorganized council — which will have 15 members instead of 16 —will boast four returning members, including chair Corbett of Louisville and Everett McCorvey of Lexington, and 11 new members, including Nathan Mick of Lexington, Sallie Lanham of Frankfort and Angela Rice of Winchester.

Among the outgoing members are Georgetown-based equine photographer John S. Hockensmith, Lexington architect Randall Vaughn, Lexington attorney Jayne Moore Waldrop, Whitesburg restaurateur and bookshop owner Josephine Richardson and Paducah publisher Darlene Mazzone, whose Paducah Life magazine just won the media award in the Governor’s Awards.

“The reorganized Council strikes the appropriate balance of expertise in the arts and entrepreneurship,” said Don Parkinson, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “The new arts council will focus on ensuring that Kentucky artisans have the skills and knowledge to develop and successfully sell their products.”

Corbett wrote, “I am honored to be reappointed as chair. It is my understanding that the new members of the Council have been actively engaged in the arts in their communities and throughout the state. I look forward to meeting and working with each of them.”

The move follows numerous other board reorganizations in the past year, since the Bevin administration took office, including the boards of the Kentucky Horse Park, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees and the Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Meadows has worked with Arts Council more than 20 years and served as executive director since 2005, when she succeeded Geri Combs. In the post, she has overseen annual events including the Governors Awards in the Arts and Kentucky Crafted — The Market.

In the past year, the Council has been in the news as worries emerged that the council’s funding would be cut by Gov. Bevin, which turned out not to be the case, and the unprecedented decision by the Affrilachian Poets to decline their Governor’s Award in the Arts, citing disagreements with Gov. Bevin on a number of issues.

A new director would be appointed by Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson and confirmed by the council, Brooks said. The council’s next meeting is in December, Brooks said.

Rich Copley: 859-231-3217, @LexGoKY.

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