Perry County Arts and Culture
Perry County is bustling with creative momentum. Cross-sector partners are working together to improve the community’s health, education, economy and quality of life, with arts and culture playing a key role in many of their efforts.
Visitors to downtown Hazard can enjoy “Thursdays on the Triangle” farmers markets, featuring fresh food, live music and craft demonstrations, view murals painted by community members, or stroll down a scenic River Arts Greenway that includes sculptures created at an annual “Welding Rodeo” competition for regional welders.
A group called Art of the Mountains provides networking for area artists and the Appalachian Arts Alliance facilitates a wide range of community arts endeavors. The alliance is working currently to transform Hazard’s historic downtown bus station into the ArtStation which will house a black box theater, gallery space, studio space, offices and event space, with plans to host arts programming and entrepreneurship training.
Spearheaded by a group of local volunteers called InVision Hazard, other downtown spaces are being put to new uses and activated by the arts as well. For example, an old courtroom has been repurposed as a movie theater playing free classic films and selling concessions to support local non-profits. A city parking garage has become a site for public art as well as a venue for events like the annual Founders Day Celebration and a multi-cultural celebration of Holy Week.
The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and associated Perry County Community Foundation provide leadership and philanthropic support for much of this work.
Amid all this new energy, it would be a shame to overlook those organizations that have shown a longstanding commitment to supporting arts and culture in the community. Established in 1983, the Bobby Davis Museum and Park showcases the city’s history and provides an attractive natural haven in the heart of downtown Hazard. The Little Theatre of Hazard is a small non-profit organization that has been producing plays for the community for over 60 years, including but not limited to annual children’s productions. Hazard Community and Technical College provides space for the Little Theatre productions and other community events and many faculty and staff are actively engaged in the community, serving as partners and organizers of the various efforts described above.
Another notable facility is the Forum in the city’s Hal Rogers Center. This 820 seat auditorium with facilities and equipment to produce both live and recorded programs, serves as a popular venue for concerts and other large events.
Click here to view photography and listen to a group poem by students at Hazard High School. Their poem is modeled after “Where I’m From,” a well-known poem by Kentucky poet George Ella Lyon and was written with support from visiting artist Judy Sizemore.