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OUR CREATIVE PROMISE    Arts and Cultural Assets of the Kentucky Promise Zone and Promise Neighborhoods

Partners for Education at Berea College

Berea College has provided opportunity to the people of Appalachia for more than 100 years and has an institutional commitment to serve the Appalachian region. Partners for Education (PFE) at Berea College works to fulfill this mission through a cradle-to-career, place-based approach to improving educational outcomes and increasing community livability in Appalachia. PFE weaves art and cultural connections from our Appalachian region throughout our services to ensure student success. PFE served as lead partner and facilitator for Our Creative Promise.

Project Director: Natalie Gabbard, Project Coordinator: Sarah Campbell

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC) is a community and economic development organization committed to providing opportunity for residents in southeastern Kentucky. Since 1968, KHIC has provided funding and support for rural development through commercial loans and equity investments as well as other regional economic stimulus initiatives. KHIC serves as the lead agent for the Kentucky Promise Zone. KHIC convened community forums and served as an invaluable connector and promoter for this project.

Kentucky Arts Council

The Kentucky Arts Council (KAC) is the state government agency responsible for developing, enhancing and promoting opportunities in the arts throughout Kentucky. The KAC provides direct programming, grant funding, technical assistance and other services as part of its mission to “foster environments for the people of Kentucky to value, participate in, and benefit from the arts.” For this project, the KAC provided training and guidebooks for community asset mapping and supported the school-based programs through Teaching Arts Together artist residencies, transportation funding and facilitation of dialogue around community research.

Kentucky Educational Television

Kentucky Educational Television (KET) is the state’s premier source of educational public media. In addition to television broadcasts, KET provides a wide array of arts education resources ranging from instructional videos and tool-kits to hands-on workshops both in the classroom and at the studio. For this project, KET provided media lab tours and training for students and educators from each county and supplied technical assistance for schools’ media arts projects. In addition, KET is using footage from this project to develop a PBS Learning Media resource for a national audience of educators interested in conducting similar projects in their schools and communities.

Participating Schools

Barbourville Elementary School
Barbourville High School
Bell County High School
Clay County Middle School
Harlan County High School
Hazard Independent High School
Jackson County High School
Leslie County High School
Jenkins Independent School
Owsley County High School
Tyner Elementary School
Whitley County High School

Teaching Artists

Judy Sizemore – Lead artist in residence and arts education consultant/coordinator
Cynthia Warner – KET Media Arts Educator
Tammy Clemons
Alfredo Escobar
Jennifer Rose Escobar
Bob Montgomery
Octavia Sexton
Dianne Simpson


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Project activities in the Promise Zone counties were funded at 50% by an NEA Our Town grant and 50% matching contributions from project partners, numerous volunteers and myON (a personalized literacy platform including arts education and creative placemaking resources for schools and communities in our region).

In Jackson and Owsley County, this project is paid for by Federal Promise Neighborhood funds. Berea College was awarded a five year Promise Neighborhood Implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Education (2012-2016) totaling $59,932934, 50% ($29966467) Federal funds and 50% ($29966467) non-Federal funds.

Special Thanks

George Ella Lyon

Barbourville Tourism
Bell County Tourism
Corbin Tourism
Jackson County Tourism

Brushy Fork Institute
Hurricane Gap Community Theater Institute

The many community groups, organizations and individuals who shared knowledge and resources with this project!

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