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Kentucky, Indiana Get Arts Grants Worth $1.7 million

By Elizabeth KramerThe Kentucky Arts Council is set to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support arts groups statewide. The council will receive more than $850,000 from the NEA to support the operating costs of arts groups as well as arts education programs.Ed Lawrence is with the Kentucky Arts Council."A certain portion of that funding does go out to our Kentucky arts partnership grantees, which are arts organizations and its operational support," he says.He says this year’s annual grant from the NEA is nearly $60,000 more than last year’s and that the funding is needed given the recession."Arts organizations are hurting and they’re at bare-bones staff," Lawrence says. "If we can just keep a staff member in there to keep them going until the economy comes back that hopefully that position will be able to sustain itself."Lawrence says the application for this year’s grant paid special attention to detailing how the some of the money would reach rural areas and start a pilot program to help cities create cultural districts."That’s been spurred on by Paducah and their artists’ relocation program," Lawrence says. "So, we were able this year to offer grants to Horsecave, Maysville and Berea to actually do planning for cultural districts."Paducah’s Lowertown Arts District came after the relocation program started in 2000 to encourage artists to move to city. It has sense garnered national attention.The Indiana Arts Commission is receiving a grant of more than $870,000 — nearly $65,000 more than it received in last year’s grant.