Our Creative Promise is an information gathering and sharing project designed to support communities in ten Southeastern Kentucky counties in taking inventory of the artists, cultural organizations, events, venues and other creative assets currently in the area. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and federal Promise Neighborhood funds and facilitated by Partners for Education (PFE) at Berea College, which has an institutional commitment to engage Appalachian communities, families, and students in partnership for mutual learning, growth, and service. Learn more here.
In 2016 and 2017, community partners participated in asset-mapping training provided by the Kentucky Arts Council and gathered directory-style information on arts and cultural resources in the ten county region through:
- community forums
- internet research and
- input from various organizations and individuals living and working in the region.
Artist Dianne Simpson (left) and community volunteer Claudia Greenwood (right) facilitate a community forum in Barbourville, Kentucky.
Over 900 regional youth were also engaged in the project and worked to solicit additional input from family and community members. Through field trips to Kentucky Educational Television’s media arts lab and professional artist residencies at schools in each county, students have:
- identified and discussed creative assets in their communities
- conducted oral history interviews
- taken or collected photographs of their communities past and present
- written original place-based poetry and music
- created public murals and sculptures to celebrate local assets and
- developed digital media to include on this website.
A Jackson County High School student interviews Travis Sparks, owner of Oakwood Acres.
Please visit the “Youth Lens” section on each county page to view examples of their work and learn more about our communities from a youth perspective.
We hope the information shared on this site might serve as a point of pride for local residents, a way to learn about activities and resources in the area, a means of identifying gaps in information or resources, an impetus for networking with others doing similar work in the region and a springboard for future creative placekeeping efforts.