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Arts Community Brings Splash Of Local Color To The Capitol

Josh James

Wednesday the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort became a showcase for creative Kentuckians.

“Arts Day” brings together artists, teachers, and organizations both to celebrate their work and urge lawmakers to dig deeper when it comes to dollars. It’s been half a century since the Kentucky Arts Council came to life by executive order and this year local arts groups hope to show that, despite financial setbacks in recent years, they’re still thriving.

Landscape pastel artist Marianna McDonald has set up shop in a corner of the Rotunda. For her, the arts "help other people see the awareness of the beauty of Kentucky and the talent that's in this state."

But meeting that goal is challenging when the money dries up. Arts Council executive director Lori Meadows says arts agencies have yet to bounce back from the recession.

"It means that we cannot provide nearly as much funding to our arts organizations, to communities, arts education. All of that has diminished and we've had to cut some programs," she explains. "We would like to bring those programs back."

And Meadows says that’s starting to happen in other states across the country.

A recent Creative Industry Report showed the arts account for $1.9B in earnings annually in Kentucky.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.