© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Free arts events in Louisville get a budget boost from mini-grant program

Several young women of color stand around table. Some are making bracelets, while other interact with one another.
Breya Jones
300 for 300 founder Chastity Dotson wanted to create a space where girls of color could find their voices and feel free. She says the Sunday Family Dinner series helps expand that work into participants' families.

Eleven community organizations are bringing art events to the public this spring with help from the Fund for the Arts mini-grants.

The Fund for the Arts Community Mini-Grants program is an extension of the arts nonprofit Arts in Neighborhoods initiative.

During its first year, the program did three rounds of mini-grants in the spring, summer and fall.

“It's really, really exciting to reach that mark and see that there's still so much excitement for this program,” said Charity Hagan, community investment and support coordinator at Fund for the Arts.

Hagan said the program will have grant opportunities for spring, summer, fall and winter this year, too. Organizations are allowed to request between $500 and $5,000.

“Something that's special about this program is how open it is,” Hagan said. “Individuals can apply, businesses can apply, neighborhood associations can apply, nonprofit organizations [can apply], so many different types of people can apply for this grant.”

Fund for the Arts only requires that applicants have a partner organization, the event has an arts component and it is free and open to the public.

One of the grant cycle recipients is STEAM Exchange, specifically their 5th annual fashion show.

The STEAM Exchange is a nonprofit organization in the Smoketown neighborhood aimed at uplifting the voices of marginalized students from the community all centered around science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Their annual fashion show combines the lessons and principles students learn during their time with the organization.

“It's really important to find those connections between science, math and also art that many people don't really see, especially young people,” said Shaun Jones, STEAM Exchange’s media technician.

He said allowing students to connect science and art leads to wonderful creations.

“It is amazing to see someone like that young, come up with something that looks really professional, something that you mainly see an adult do,” Jones said. “It's just really cool to see that this is their creation, that they have the tools to do that.”

Helping students see what they’re capable of is an important part of the work happening at STEAM Exchange.

“It's something that they're super proud of, because they're able to start on projects that seem unattainable at the beginning,” co-founder Caitlin Kannapell said.

Kannapell said the fashion show is a community-building event, where folks from the neighborhood can join together with youth.

“It’s a really fun way to get to know the STEAM Exchange and have the kids showcase their work,” she said. [The students] really come out of their shells.”

300 for 300 is another mini-grant recipient from the last round of funding. The group got support for a new Sunday Family Dinner event series.

Chastity Dotson created 300 for 300 after Louisville police killed Breonna Taylor in a botched, middle-of-the-night raid in 2020. The mission is to help young girls of color work through their trauma and find their voice.

“We provide a holistic approach to healing to try and balance the scales of inequity and make things a little bit more equal, a little bit more balanced and a little better,” Dotson said.

The Sunday Family Dinner event, done in collaboration with The Therapy Lounge, came from listening to family feedback.

“We found through our research is that a lot of the parents felt overwhelmed— about 70% of the parents —especially the mothers felt overwhelmed and felt that they needed a community of support and caring for our girls,” Dotson said.

Sunday Family Dinner will provide meals from Chef Che’Mari Ferman and activities led by The Therapy Lounge.

“We're not only nurturing them through food, but we're also nurturing them mentally and creating healing, giving them healing tools,” Dotson said.

She said receiving support from organizations like Fund for the Arts helps her make good on promises she’s made to participants.

“It means that when I stepped out on faith and told them, people will show up for you, ….it means that my hunch that there are so many people in this world that care about you that want you to succeed and to survive and to thrive, that that actually was true,” Dotson said.

Applications for the next round of Fund for the Arts Community Event Mini-Grants open in May.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.