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Independent art college in Louisville to get millions in government funding

Mayor Craig Greenberg speaks at a lectern with hands raised.
J. Tyler Franklin
Mayor Craig Greenberg included $1 million in city funding for the Kentucky College of Art and Design in his draft budget.

The Kentucky College of Art and Design, the state’s only independent art school, got $5 million in the state’s most recent budget and could get $1 million more from the city.

All told, the independent art college in Louisville could see $6 million in government funding.

The majority comes from the state’s budget.

In the version signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, the Kentucky College of Art and Design will receive $5 million over the next two fiscal years. The money is to be used “to support ongoing operations and programming.”

“Our leaders agree that the Commonwealth deserves a comprehensive, vibrant and innovative arts space that will bring opportunity, networks and a new wave of thinkers and makers to the heart of future development and thinking in the region,” KyCAD president Moira Scott Payne said in a news release.

The funds allocated to KyCAD appeared in the final free conference committee of this year’s legislative session. That’s when members of both the House and Senate meet to discuss and agree upon bills at the end of the session.

“With this funding, Kentucky’s only independent college of art and design is poised to make its mark,” Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, of Middletown, said in a news release.

Nemes represents District 33 which includes eastern Jefferson County and parts of Oldham and Shelby counties. KyCAD is in Old Louisville, part of District 45 which is represented by Democratic Rep. Keturah Herron.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said he was inspired by the state commitment and included an additional $1 million to KyCAD in his proposed city budget.

“The Kentucky College of Art and Design, which is going through its accreditation process right now, has the opportunity to be a catalyst for education design in the Old Louisville neighborhood in our entire state in our entire country,” Greenberg said last month during a budget briefing speech.

The allocation of funds to KyCAD comes as other departments see proposed cuts in their funding.

Metro Council will evaluate the draft budget and host public hearings with department heads to take feedback over the coming weeks. The Council will vote in June on a final budget, and they could change allocation between now and then.

Kentucky College of Art and Design has been an independent institution since 2018 and has graduated six students since then.

This year’s commencement is set for Saturday.

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

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