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OUR CREATIVE PROMISE    Arts and Cultural Assets of the Kentucky Promise Zone and Promise Neighborhoods
Jenkins: Past, Present, and Future. 2016. Mural designed & painted by Lacy Hale, Pam Meade and over 60 community members as part of an Our Town project facilitated by Appalshop and funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photograph by Haley Hatfield with Appalshop


Artisanal traditions are abundant in Appalachia. Basket and broom making, blacksmithing, cooking and canning homegrown foods, folk dancing, quilting, making instruments and mountain music, storytelling, weaving, woodworking and many other creative practices abound. Contemporary Appalachian artists draw upon these traditions and buck them too. From writers to web designers, from fiber artists to filmmakers, folks are creating art to share new stories all their own.

One story recurring throughout the region is that of artists and cross-sector partners coming together to collaborate on creative solutions to the serious challenges facing our economically distressed communities. Hopeful, determined citizens are asking, “Despite our hardship, what do we have here that we can be proud of? What assets can we mobilize to make improvements?” The arts play an essential role in these efforts to create a promising vision for community and economic development.

Our Creative Promise aims to inspire and support these efforts by cataloguing and celebrating arts and cultural resources in ten Appalachian counties. The interactive map provides an inventory of the region’s prolific arts assets. Each county page offers a youth perspective and includes more detail about the traditional and transformative arts and cultural practices at work in our communities today. Learn more ›


In 2016-2017, partners working across ten Southeastern Kentucky counties took inventory of artists, cultural organizations, events, venues and other creative assets in the region. The resulting map includes over 1000 assets, and yet the information is far from exhaustive. Please consider this a snapshot of assets identified by project participants rather than a comprehensive or “living” document.

This data belongs to the public. We welcome additions and corrections and encourage you to download the spreadsheet in order to sort, analyze and repurpose its contents for any educational and non-commercial uses.

Appalachian Media Institute, 2017.
Quilters at Red Bird Mission, circa 2012.
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