NEA Chairman Jane Chu to Visit Lexington and Eastern Kentucky April 13–14, 2015

Chairman Chu will visit Lexington, Hindman, Whitesburg, and Jenkins
headhsot of NEA Chairman Jane Chu

NEA Chairman Jane Chu by Strauss Peyton Studios

Washington, DC—NEA Chairman Jane Chu will visit Lexington and eastern Kentucky April 13-14, 2015. Her visit will focus on the importance of the arts in creating livable communities and contributing toward economic and community development. Follow @NEAJaneChu on twitter for photos and commentary on her visit to Kentucky.

Chairman Chu will begin her visit to Kentucky on April 13 in Lexington where she will meet with local NEA grantees and Kentucky Arts Council grantees and visit the North Limestone Corridor where an NEA-supported project is taking place to develop a cultural plan and public art for the neighborhood. Her visit will include a tour of the corridor with community members and artists who are taking part in the project.

On April 14, Chairman Chu will visit eastern Kentucky, beginning at the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman where she will learn more about their NEA-supported project to celebrate the living history and contemporary artisanship of the dulcimer. This project is part of their efforts to reinvent the community as a hub for artisanship and creative activity following the downturn in the coal industry.

Next, Chairman Chu will visit Whitesburg, Kentucky, which is part of one of the Promise Zones designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The National Endowment for the Arts is one of the federal partners on this initiative, providing technical support for communities looking to leverage their arts and cultural assets.

Chairman Chu's visit to Whitesburg will begin with a roundtable discussion with organizations who have received Our Town and ArtPlace America funding (ArtPlace America is a collaboration of private foundations and federal agencies committed to creative placemaking) to support art-based community development projects in eastern and southeastern Kentucky. These projects include a wayfinding project to connect visitors and residents with cultural designations throughout the city of Berea; arts programming associated with the It's Good to Be Young in the Mountains conference in Cumberland, focusing on emerging regional artists in southeast Kentucky; and the River Arts Greenway project in Hazard.

Following this discussion, Chairman Chu will tour Appalshop, a multi-disciplinary arts and education center, and learn more about their NEA-supported programs, including the Appalachian Media Institute and WMMT-FM's traditional music program. After this tour, Chairman Chu will join artists and representatives from Appalshop in Jenkins, Kentucky, the site of an NEA Our Town grant to Appalshop to support the creation of murals, a large-scale photographic installation, and a media-rich walking tour that celebrates the cultural history of Jenkins.

The following events are open to media. Media who wish to attend these events or request an interview with Chairman Chu should contact NEA Public Affairs at or 202-682-5744.

Monday, April 13, 2015

1:30–2:30pm  Tour of North Limestone Corridor

Location: Tour will begin at the offices of the North Limestone Community Development Organization, 714 North Limestone, Lexingon, KY 40508


Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Lori Meadows, executive director, Kentucky Arts Council

Richard Young, executive director, North Limestone Community Development Organization                                     

Kris Nonn, project manager, North Limestone Community Development Organization                     

Griffin VanMeter, board president, North Limestone Community Development Organization

Lisa Adkins, president and CEO, Blue Grass Community Foundation                              

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

9:00–10:00am  Visit to Appalachian Artisan Center

Location: 16 W Main Street, Hindman, KY


Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Lori Meadows, executive director, Kentucky Arts Council

Josh Mullins, executive director, Appalachian Artisan Center

Brent Hutchinson, chairman of the board, Appalachian Artisan Center

Bill Weinberg, board member, Appalachian Artisan Center

Doug Naselroad, master artist in residence, Hindman Dulcimer Project

Randy Wilson, folklorist and musician

11:30am–1:00pm  Roundtable discussion on creative placemaking in Eastern Kentucky

Location:Appalshop, 91 Madison Ave. Whitesburg, KY  41858


Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Lori Meadows, executive director, Kentucky Arts Council

Tom Fern, state director, USDA Rural Development

Vernon Brown, community program director, USDA Rural Development

Tim McNeilly, rural development coordinator, USDA Rural Development

Robert Gipe, director of the Appalachian program, Southeast Community and   Technical College

Mandy Hart, executive director, Center for Appalachian Philanthropy

Belle Jackson, executive director, Berea Tourism

Doug Naselroad, master artist in residence, Hindman Dulcimer Project

Ada Smith, institutional development director, Appalshop

Jenny Williams, River Arts Greenway 

1:00–2:00pm  Tour of Appalshop

Location: 91 Madison Ave. Whitesburg, KY  41858


Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Alex Gibson, director, Appalshop

Donna Porterfield, managing director Roadside Theater

Elizabeth Sanders & Parker Hobson, WMMT Co-General Managers

Matthew Carter, program director, WMMT

Ben Spangler, director, Appalachian Media Institute

Lori Meadows, executive director, Kentucky Arts Council

3:00–3:30pm  Visit to Jenkins, Kentucky, to learn about Our Town project

Location: Visit will begin at Jenkins Public Library, 9428 Hwy 805, Jenkins, KY  41537


Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Todd DePriest, Mayor, City of Jenkins

Peggy Bentley, head librarian, Jenkins Public Library

Jill Hatch, fundraising manager, City of Jenkins

Elizabeth Barret, Jenkins Our Town project director, Appalshop

Lois Greer, curator, David A. Zegeer Coal & Railroad Museum

Caroline Rubens, archivist, Appalshop

Lacy Hale, visual artist

Pam Oldfield Meade, visual artist 

Lori Meadows, executive director, Kentucky Arts Council

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Liz Auclair (NEA),, 202-682-5744

Tom Musgrave (Kentucky Arts Council),, 502-564-3757 ext. 489