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Announcing the 2020 Arts Meets Activism Grant Recipients

KFW Announces 2020 Art Meets Activism Grant Recipients

Press Release written by Ellen Birkett Morris


“These arts-centered community-based projects range from traditional arts associated with Kentucky like dulcimer making to the essential skills of self-care for activists. These artists are finding new ways to address the shifting needs of their communities, connect people with resources and create lasting positive social change in a time of social turmoil,” said Sharon LaRue, Executive Director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

The Art Meets Activism program supports a wide variety of individual artists and organizations committed to building on the power of art to increase awareness about feminist issues, alter perceptions, stimulate dialogue, open new spaces for civic participation and imagine new ways to create a more just and equitable Kentucky. The grants are for activities that are artist driven and include the direct participation of individuals and communities.

Applications for the foundation’s next round of funding, through the Artist Enrichment Grant Program, will be available in August. You can learn about the process and preview the application questions at This program supports artistic development for feminist artists and arts organizations committed to positive social change. Applicants are asked to demonstrate their commitment to feminism and understanding of the relationship between art and social change. Applicants may request funds for activities including: workshops and training, artist residencies, the exploration of new areas or techniques, and the creation of new art. For more information call Avery Guess at KFW at 502-562-0045 or check our website at 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.

2020 AMA Grants

Ain’t I a Woman Playfest (Louisville): $5,000 to put on a 3-day festival that celebrates the voices of women playwrights of color. The festival will premiere the new work of eight local, regional, and national playwrights and will heighten the voices of women of color.

Americana Community Center, Inc. (Louisville): $4,375 to support refugee and immigrant women in the fiber arts who provide seasonal items to local markets. Participants help one another build confidence, skills, and resources to identify and pursue goals for themselves and their families as they integrate to their new home in Louisville.

Amira Karaoud (Louisville): $7,500 to put on a series of workshops for teen girls from the immigrant community in Louisville to teach them basic tools of journalism. The workshops will culminate in Girl Z report, a news platform run by teen girls that lifts barriers, uncovers the mystery about immigrants, promotes culture diversity, and celebrates our differences.

Backside Learning Center (Louisville): $2,304 to engage in fabric arts workshops that explore themes of motherhood, work, immigration, and community and culminate in the production of fabric art to be displayed at a public gathering. These workshops will help women and children build a stronger sense of community, identify strengths, and become agents of social change.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest (Clermont): $2,500 to produce FEMMEomenal Bluegrass Botanicals, an exhibition celebrating the achievements of ten Kentucky women through ten native Kentucky plants. The traveling companion exhibition will create a feminist body of work that advances social change by raising awareness.

Bryn Silverman (Louisville): $4,000 to employ an all-female crew to begin pre-production for a feature film about Annie Oakley. The team will ensure an equitable and supportive working environment for women.

Bugz Fraugg (Berea): $3,500 to gather stories and folklore about American Ginseng, create a puppet show, and offer Ginseng Sound Labs, a multi-sensory immersive experience of Ginseng’s medicine. This project will intentionally reconnect people from marginalized groups with the natural world in a way that may have been denied them throughout history.

Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning (Lexington): $4,600 to invite six female writers to mentor groups of young women to explore writing and literary performance techniques while examining issues of body image and self-esteem. The impact is increased as these participants often go on to engage in other programs and share what they’ve learned through their writing or teaching.

Chrysalis House, Inc. (Lexington): $1,308 for Chrysalis House clients to participate in a mixed media art group to create pieces that highlight strong women in recovery from substance abuse and/or an abusive relationship. The clients will create art that depicts the relationship between feminism and social change. This art will be displayed in various community forums.

Contented Heart Quilt Guild and The Quilt Shoppe (Monticello): $1,201 to teach quilting and other needle work activities to women of all ages to empower them to develop life skills such as setting goals and project completion. The skills taught will give participants the ability to provide for themselves through the sale of their projects.

Dijana Muminovic (Rockfield): $3,110 to represent the lives of at least 20 Kentucky girls and women through a photographic exhibition and a panel that tells personal stories how women are affected by the loss of their mothers. This will promote connection between young women who will be encouraged to speak about the subject.

Fairen Kia (Louisville): $6,840 to create “Love Thy Stretch marks!” a poetic montage integrating interviews that confront intersectionality by portraying six fat, multi-generational women of color. This visual will explore diverse women living and thriving in society despite the harsh norms of traditional standards of beauty.

Girls Rock Louisville, Inc. (Louisville): $4,375 to help youth curate Rock and Roll Hall of Fame style visual projects that represent the legacies of Women, Femmes, Trans, and Non-binary individuals in music history. Youth will increase their awareness of music history and knowledge about the contributions of marginalized people in music.

Grace Yocum (Paducah): $1,000 for ten artists (five men and five women) to create two self-portraits to illustrate to men and women how patriarchal society inhibits everyone. This project will encourage discussion across genders, promote feminism as an all-inclusive movement towards freedom, and encourage a new wave of feminists.

Grayson Gallery & Art Center, Inc. (Grayson): $3,300 to record a series of educational videos of interviews and performances by members of the Appalachian Ladies Revue, to be used in workshops on songwriting and musical performing. The workshops will highlight the influence of women on Appalachian music and how women in music created social change.

IDEAS xLab (Louisville): $2,500 to impact the sense of hope and belonging in young people with Our Emotional Wellbeing, a collaborative arts-based initiative. The arts project will culminate in a Youth Wellbeing Summit and playbook, replicable for schools and youth-serving organizations.

International Museum of the Horse, Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, and Elizabeth Bartlett (Lexington): $3,000 to support women writers in creating nonfiction content for the website the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry. The digital history platform provides a space for deconstructing racism in equine and sports media, and increases awareness of, education about, and access to African American history.

Jessica Salyer (Salyersville): $2,292 to continue teaching free art classes to woman and trauma-impacted students in the community. Women will take away a new appreciation for art, seek out creative avenues in their daily lives, and understand the importance of self-care.

Joan Brannon (Louisville): $5,000 to teach a radical self-care process to Black Womxn activists by utilizing African drumming and percussion as tools for creating sacred space. The workshops will re-new and re-activate the activists from burnout and provide new tools and training for them to share with others in their communities.

Karen Wyssbrod (Louisville): $3,000 to teach ceramics to underprivileged young girls, focusing on fundamental skills and awareness/connection with nature. Participants will learn skills which will promote positive social interactions and improve the lives of Kentucky girls.

Kentucky Heartwood (Berea): $3,650 to facilitate a series of nature connection experiences with children, youth, and adult women with a focus on sharing, receiving, and developing the stories that grow out of a relationship with wildness and place. By nurturing the relationships inherent in ecology, we help a generation navigate the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Inc. (Lexington): $3,900 to hold six small-group workshops for 108 registrants, craft talks, publishing seminars, and readings focused on socially engaged writing. Women mentoring women in this capacity leads to relationships that last long after the conference concludes.

Kiana Mahjub and Cecelia Rhoden (Berea): $3,678 to provide women a 4-day, beginner-level workshop that will produce completed decorative embroidered pieces that empower their creator. To speak their minds through embroidery is a proclamation that they care not if they are judged or challenged, a stride in confidence and empowerment many women don’t see until later in life.

Lacretia ‘Cre’ Dye (Bowling Green): $3,500 to engage the art of mindful movement (which includes dance, drumming and yoga) through workshops, retreats, and individual sessions. Participants will address and explore the art of emotional, mental, spiritual and collective support to identify self-awareness, self-regulation/co-regulation tools and self-expression.

Libby Falk Jones and Julianne Unsel (Berea): $1,850 to provide creative opportunities for women over 60 who want to develop their writing abilities. Sharing writings through a published anthology and public readings will work to belie the myth of older women as creatures without competency, agency, or worth, showing them instead to be vibrant, wise, and continually unfolding.

Lindsey Windland (Berea): $3,500 to create a series of photographs which document the lived experiences of Kentucky’s female farmers. By sharing photographs and vivid qualitative stories of climate change by Kentuckians, non-believers will be forced to acknowledge the reality of what is happening.

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company (Louisville): $3,500 to stage free public “pop-up” performances around Louisville of “Lifting as we Climb: KY Suffragists and the Unpopular Cause” that highlights the lives and work of Kentucky Suffragists. Passersby will engage with each pop-up performance and complete voter registration cards at each performance.

Maiden Alley Cinema (Paducah): $2,500 to host free workshops that integrate technology and art and to screen a film to female students that encourages them to pursue STEM-related fields and change the gender gap within the STEM industry. This event will encourage young women to achieve their aspirations.

Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc. (Owensboro): $2,025 to engage women and girls of diverse generations, abilities, races, and socio-economic levels through the power of dance. The project will enrich the quality of life for community women in diverse populations, showcasing the power of a woman’s spirit and advocating for social change.

RaeShanda Lias-Lockhart (Louisville): $2,000 to create an art exhibition that explores the evolution of Black hair in the US from slavery to current day through wearable art. This exhibit will edify, educate, and empower all those who attend and add to the national conversation on the cultural impact of Black hair.

Rebekah Dow (Louisville): $1,000 to invite three women filmmakers to create a film based on their interpretation of dialogue written by a male screenwriter. This project will help to address inequality and promote female filmmakers within Louisville’s growing film scene, as well as to educate people about the importance of screenwriters and other creatives.

Shawna McCown (Rush): $1,200 to assist in the implementation of Acoustic Youth, a musical therapy program for youth who have experienced trauma. Students at Ramey Estep High School, an institution for juvenile public and status offenders in eastern Kentucky, will learn to express themselves musically in addition to any traditional therapy they receive.

Speed Art Museum (Louisville): $4,325 for an adult summer camp experience for women representatives of marginalized populations across greater Louisville. Activities will be designed to provide social support and immerse participants in experiences aimed at reflection and self-fulfillment.

Stacie Sexton (Lexington): $3,500 to produce “The Abortion Monologues,” a live theater project dedicated to normalizing conversations about abortion while fostering safe space for people to share their abortion-related stories. Audience members will learn more about reproductive justice and see honest representations of abortion-related stories are possible.

Steam Exchange (Louisville): $4,975 to work with a series of visiting artists to learn various textile processes such as shibori, batik, natural dye, sculptural textiles and quilting. Youth will become agents of social change as they question and redefine power and harness the potential of protest and storytelling to create a collaborative social justice-themed quilt.

The Johnson County Public Library and Christy Terry (Paintsville): $2,500 to further serve women in recovery by offering a project involving the construction of dulcimers with locally harvested hardwoods. The women will learn therapeutic skills and gain pride in the creation of an instrument indicative of Kentucky culture.

The Kings Center (Frankfort): $3,500 to produce “HeartBEATS,” a weekly Hip Hop and beat making music production and youth development program for middle and high school students. “HeartBEATS” provides young people with the tools to express their emotions and experiences through music, and enhances confidence through creative mastery.

The Upper Town Heritage Foundation Inc. (Paducah): $2,200 to produce West Kentucky Women of the World for area feminist artists, youth, and community leaders to participate in workshops. The workshops will bring awareness to the obstacles that women of color face daily, start a dialogue about these issues, and seek solutions for these problems.

Young Authors Greenhouse (Louisville): $3,200 to offer a chapbook writing program for 15 to 20 young women to write poems that explore a range of themes including identity, feminism, home, food, and growing up. Participants will gain increased confidence, self-efficacy, and verbalization skills related to feminism, and strengthened support networks.

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