The Artist Enrichment (AE) grant provides opportunities for feminist artists and arts organizations to further their artistic development to create art for positive social change. Applicants may request funds for a range of activities including: artistic development, artist residencies, the exploration of new areas or techniques, or to build a body of work.
Applicants to the AE grant program should show high artistic quality in the work sample, and should be able to demonstrate their commitment to feminism and their understanding of the relationship between art and social change. The grant program is arts-based and feminist in nature.
Previously Awarded Proposals
Isabelle Ballard (Corbin): $7,500 to complete a one-year tattoo artist’s apprenticeship, and to create and maintain a website for her work. The training will further develop her skills in the visual art of tattooing. The website showcasing her work will be a resource and inspiration for women of color in Eastern Kentucky seeking to express themselves and their lived experience through body art.
Bobbi Buchanan (Coxs Creek): $5,000 to finish her manuscript (part memoir, part instruction manual) based on her experience launching and running a therapeutic writing program for inmates, and promote its content through a YouTube channel and a series of presentations at correctional facilities, community centers, college campuses, and other venues. Completing the project will hone her writing and performance skills and create an online platform to share her vision of a world without addiction. The finished work will raise awareness and create dialogue about the importance of investing in arts-based rehabilitative programs for offenders.
Bugz Fraugg and Cimarron Maz Collective (Berea): $4,250 to support continued development of a collaborative, cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, multimedia puppet show exploring human and plant relationships to Ginseng. Producing this project will strengthen the artists’ portfolios and open up more complex and nuanced pathways for the practice of feminism. The finished product will weave disparate communities of people together through a celebration and exploration of our shared relationship to Ginseng.
Carrie Carter (Whitesburg): $2,800 to create quilted art pieces from primarily found or gifted fabrics that explore regional origins and the concept of heirlooms from a contemporary perspective. Working on the pieces will help her develop her technical sewing skills while connecting with other artists and learning their unique styles. The finished work will challenge traditional perceptions of gender roles and their impact on modern society, especially for women in rural Appalachia, and encourage younger folks to engage with elders in their families and communities about this important cultural tradition.
Tamara D. Coffey (Frankfort): $1,500 to attend a writing conference and take online or on-site writing workshops. The activities will develop her skills and writing practice and build a network of support. The stories will present voices of strong, determined Appalachian women.
Dominique Davis (Louisville): $1,000 to research the craft of fashion photography and work with a mentor to expand her skills and create a new body of work. The grant will build her knowledge, develop her skills, and expose her to new opportunities ultimately resulting in refined ways of expression that will create meaningful social change. The finished work will promote women’s self-esteem and creative expression through fashion.
Skylar Davis (Louisville): $2,000 to create Pillow Talk, photography, fiber art, and interviews exploring those who identify as women in their bedrooms answering questions about sexual experiences, comfortability, body image, and more. Creating the exhibit will develop her skills and afford new opportunities for residencies and future exhibits. The finished work will raise awareness of women’s diverse experiences with sex education, birth control, doctors’ visits, body positivity, pleasure, and sexuality.
Seun Erinle (Louisville): $6,500 to create a multi-week design program for young, Black girls in the Louisville community that will focus on storytelling through graphic design and motion graphics. This project will further develop her skills as a technology educator and graphic designer. The program will show young, Black girls that they too have a voice in the world of S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and that they can use their experiences to create new paths and career opportunities for themselves.
Elizabeth Foley (Louisville) $2,000 to create and exhibit a series of prints reflecting conversations with women about their visions and experiences of strength, joy, and contentment. Creating the exhibit will provide an opportunity for her to develop her ability to express her ideas succinctly and communicate to a broader community. The finished work will raise awareness about mental and emotional health issues impacting women.
Laura Beth Fox-Ezell (Auburn): $4,700 to create ceramic vessels representing women’s bodies of varied sizes, shapes, and colors, each of which will include a hand stamped quote of empowerment from a Kentucky woman. Working on the project will enhance her skills as an artist by incorporating other women’s voices into her artwork, and the finished pieces will promote body positivity and lift up the voices of Kentucky women.
Rachel Garringer (Mallie): $3,500 to work on the development and promotion of Season One of the Country Queers Podcast, which highlights the diverse experiences of rural and small town LGBTQIA+ folks in the United States across intersecting layers of identity. Having the space and time to transcribe, edit, and produce the first season of the podcast in full will enable them to hone their skills in audio production. The finished work will help connect rural and small town queer folks to one another across distance.
Terri Gilmore (Louisville): $3,300 to work with mentors toward the creation of a larger-than-life size bronze bust of Elmer Lucille Allen, an African American fiber/textile artist and relentless advocate and mentor to girls and women artists in her community. Working with established artists and mentors will expand her skills as a sculptor. The finished work will document the legacy of this community artist and inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
Suzanne Fernandez Gray (Frankfort): $4,000 to attend workshops and complete a memoir exploring her mother and Cuban grandmother’s immigration to the U.S. The workshops will help her hone her writing and editing skills. The finished work will elevate Latinx voices and counter the narrative that immigrants have no value or place in American society.
Beth Howard (Lexington): $1,440 to write the personal story of a girl’s growth into womanhood in rural Eastern Kentucky via a mixed genre collection of poetry and personal essays. Writing the book will develop her writing skills and cultivate a more rigorous daily writing discipline. The finished work will raise awareness around gender-based childhood trauma and amplify the intersectional feminist grassroots organizing, activism, and advocacy work already happening in Appalachia.
Lacy Hale (Ermine): $6,200 to create a series of art works inspired by pieces of folklore that have been passed down through her family, culminating in the creation of a chapbook and exhibit. The project will help her develop her printmaking skills while preserving meaningful family traditions. The finished work will inspire dialogue about the importance of intergeneration memory and story-sharing among women, not only in her family but across the region.
Clara Harris (Louisville): $2,500 to research and develop an audio drama script that will cultivate a nuanced understanding of the impact of the mining economy on women. These activities will help her develop primary research skills, which will enrich her work as a playwright, and the script developed from this research will raise awareness of the untold stories of those above ground, who hold the community together and pick up the pieces after disasters including accident, disease, or mine closure.
Fairen Harris and Candice Crawford-Morrison (Louisville): $1,750 to host workshops and events through Love Thy Belly, LLC that promote body positivity and images of bodies that do not subscribe to societal norms of beauty. The workshops will encourage women and girls to step into their power and take agency of their bodies through literary and visual art. The activities will further their mission to create, cultivate, and communicate hope to women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals that there is a path to peace through sharing their collective and individual trauma.
Michelle Howell (Scottsville): $2,000 to create a new body of work that combines photography with written and spoken word to document the experience of a non-traditional Kentucky farmwife. Creating the pieces will help her develop her skills as a writer, storyteller, and multimedia artist. The finished work will create awareness of the often untold stories of women working behind the scenes in grassroots community organizing while overcoming trauma and traditional gender roles.
Sarah Jo Jacobs (Berea): $3,800 to explore Shakespearean text and performance by attending Shakespeare & Company’s month-long intensive educational program. Participating in the program will deepen her understanding of feminist issues and give her tools to act as an agent of social change through theatre. This will impact her future ability to produce, direct, and educate students about theatre in ways that elucidate and address both subtle and overt forms of sexism in art today.
Nancy K. Jentsch (Melbourne): $1,000 to develop and publish a collection of poetry around the topic of hope with a focus on social activism and women’s issues. Completing the manuscript will give her an opportunity to focus on incorporating activist themes in her writing. The finished work will address themes such as immigration, economic inequality, and the exploitation of women, and will promote social change by encouraging attitudes of tolerance and fairness.
Diane Kahlo (Winchester): $2,000 to create a body of work using mostly discarded materials to represent the loss of life and potential of girls and young women who will never celebrate their cultural, religious, or societal rites of passage. Creating the pieces will further develop her skills in quilting, beading, and embroidery, often relegated to “women’s work “and craft. The finished work will create dialogue about women whose lives are cut short due to gender-based violence.
Ariel Lavery (Murray): $2,000 to continue production and increase dissemination of her podcast spotlighting motherhood as a positive influence in a professional woman’s life. The grant will help her hone her interviewing and production skills, and share the work and its findings with a larger public through an exhibition showcasing interviewees and a conference presentation with the International Association for Material Action and Scholarship. The work will facilitate dialogue about the unexpected yet positive effects of motherhood on women’s creativity, careers, and life.
Looking for Lilith Theatre Company (Louisville): $4,000 to embark on a year-long commitment to research, discuss, explore, and reflect artistically on the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Kentucky. Working on a project of this scope will help the company develop and grow in its ability to integrate the work of their various programs, including their theatre production work, after school programming, GirlSpeak summer programming, and other community partner workshops. The project will inspire and compel the artists, audience members, and students to not only honor and learn from the women who have made a way for us, but look to the future of how women and girls will shape our democracy, and to vote.
Lonormi Odum Manuel (Lawrenceburg): $5,000 to research and revise a novel based upon the “Esau” practice of forced sexual servitude in early 20th century coal camps. The research and ensuing revisions will expand her understanding of this practice and these places. The finished work will raise awareness about a historical practice that has been deliberately suppressed from current state and regional histories, and will spark discussion of economic oppression of women, sex as a currency, and the power of female solidarity.
Kristi Maxwell (Louisville): $2,400 to attend the Disquiet International Literary Program and to complete a manuscript of poems written from an ecofeminist perspective. Attending the program will provide an opportunity to prioritize her writing and creative growth for a two-week period and to engage international audiences about her project. The finished work will promote dialogue around bodies, value, expendability, privilege, violence, and protections.
Shawna McCown (Rush) $1,500 to create, develop, and promote an album rooted in the diverse stories of Kentucky women. Writing and creating the album will enrich her ability to incorporate feminist themes into her songwriting. The finished album will shed light on the obstacles women face in Kentucky.
Morgan-Allison Moore (Louisville): $2,700 to create poetry to be performed at an open mic (Houston) and to compete in the Women of The World Poetry Slam (Dallas) during Women’s History Month. Participating in these events will grow her network and expand her reach in the spoken word community. The finished work will that reflect the intersectionality of faith, culture, spirituality, sexuality and body image through the lens of a black woman in America.
Carly Muetterties (Lexington): $1,000 to work on a children’s book about civically-engaged women of Kentucky, past and present. The project will further develop her writing and storytelling skills, and the finished work will promote inclusivity, elevate women as civic agents, and encourage student civic engagement and social participation.
Sara Qhai Muhammad (Louisville): $3,220 to produce a series of long-form blog posts highlighting themes of representation and portraiture found in the artworks housed by Roots-101 African American Museum. Working on the pieces will hone her interviewing and research skills on the topics of pre-colonial African art, minstrelsy, and post-Civil War African American portraiture. The essays will invoke conversation about representation, material culture, Black history, and Black institutions as a whole.
Melissa Bell Pitts (Lexington): $1,000 to attend workshops and work on her novel about the struggles of women and girls as they encounter outdated, yet persisting modes of patriarchy. Attending the workshop will help her develop her writing and craft a more artistic and compelling story. The finished work will create dialogue about the impact early loss of a mother has on the ways women mother, as well as the ways war impacts families through generations.
Kendra Robinson (Paducah): $1,000 to work on a book about the three young sisters who fight to save bullied, bruised, and hurting children and help to bring about change in their small town. The grant will help her bring these characters to life. The finished work will inspire young girls to speak up for themselves and help others.
Misty Skaggs (Olive Hill): $1,080 to conduct free poetry workshops and readings across the Appalachian region. Leading the workshops will further develop her ability to facilitate listening and understanding through poetry, fostering the growth of powerful, truthful Appalachian voices through verse.
StageOne Family Theatre (Louisville): $3,500 to work with award-winning director Sydney Chatman to produce a new play by feminist playwright Diana Grisanti about women’s suffrage, solidarity, and the challenges of change. Working with this playwright and director will help theatre staff develop as artists and bring quality, feminist work to the stage. The production will engage young people in the history of women’s frustrations, challenges, coordination, and mobilization of a century ago, and create dialogue about how those parallel the struggles of today.
Katerina Stoykova (Lexington): $2,100 to edit, order and prepare for publication a poetry manuscript exploring how the relationship with one’s self is reflected in the relationships with others, regardless of gender, age or social status. Working on the project will help her explore new themes in her writing. The finished project will serve to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, mental health issues such as PTSD from domestic violence, as well as the influence of spirituality on one’s personal process.
Teatro Tercera Llamada (Louisville): $4,500 to translate and produce the world premiere of “Peety,” a play based on playwright Haydee Canovas’ experiences as a Nurse Practitioner and the main caregiver of two elderly parents. Translating the play to Spanish will influence Canovas’ writing choices and expand her skills as a playwright. The finished work will increase awareness about the shortcomings of the public health system for the aging community, and will make the play accessible to Latinos living in Louisville who don’t speak English.
Amy E. Turner (Louisville): $1,000 to grow a body of photographs and develop a story about the impact of societal pressures on sexuality, intimacy, and body image. This project will develop her photography skills and create a community of storytellers. The finished work will create much needed conversations and challenge assumptions about the “ideal body.”
Whitney Withington (Big Hill): $6,500 to create a series of twelve handmade artist books featuring women playing traditional Appalachian instruments. The grant will help her gain the skills and equipment needed to fire ceramic book covers, expanding her scope as an artist. The finished work will inspire both the musicians who receive them and people viewing them in public spaces to continue the musical traditions of Appalachian women.