FRANKFORT, Ky. – Speakers from across the country with experience in helping communities formulate plans to economically invigorate their locales through arts and culture will come together in Pikeville for a Dec. 10 conference sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council.


“Leveraging Community: Putting Arts and Cultural Development to Work” will follow the Dec. 9 “Shaping our Appalachian Region” summit in Pikeville, which was recently announced by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. That event will focus on the future success of the southern and eastern regions of the state.


The arts conference will start with a keynote address from John Davis, executive director of the Lanesboro Arts Center in Lanesboro, Minn. A town of 754 people, Lanesboro was awarded more than $300,000 in grant funding in 2013 from Artplace America to assist in its plans to turn the entire town into an arts campus. Read about the project online.


The conference will also feature a presentation by Stuart A. Rosenfeld, of Regional Technology Strategies Inc., an international presenter and expert in arts and cultural development. Rosenfeld will give examples and best-practice strategies on how other states and communities have leveraged cultural assets.


“We’re very excited to be bringing together this group of presenters and panelists for our conference in Pikeville,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “We are hopeful the information provided that day will generate new ideas and creative directions for including arts and culture in economic and community development in the region.”


In addition, representatives from the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will discuss federal funding opportunities. A morning panel discussion will include information on how to start an arts and cultural development project, taking a cultural asset inventory, building community buy-in, and generating ideas to promote arts and culture in the community. Panelists include:

  • Octavia Biggs Fleck, program director of Shooting Stars Youtheatre, Lexington Children's Theatre
  • Belle Jackson, Berea Tourism executive director
  • Brett Ratliff, Hindman Settlement School
  • Stephanie Richards, Pike County extension agent for fine arts, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service


An afternoon panel will provide participants with information on Kentucky programs and resources to assist in project development. Panelists include:

  • Kitty Dougood, Main Street Program administrator, Kentucky Heritage Council
  • Sarah Schmitt, arts access director, Kentucky Arts Council
  • Chuck Stamper, executive program leader, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
  • Elaine Wilson, executive director, Office of Adventure Tourism


The conference will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. Registration is required and is free and online at http://artscouncil.ky.gov/Opportunities/LeveragingCommunityRegistration.htm. Boxed lunches can be purchased for $10, with payment due the day of the event.


For more information and to preview the conference agenda, visit http://artscouncil.ky.gov/Opportunities/conferences/LeveragingCommunityAbout.htm.


The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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