Arts Center wins competitive grant to expand free field trips

Published 6:19 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2019

For the Community Arts Center, third time really is a charm. Marketing and Development Director Kate Snyder had applied for a grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences twice before.

“This year, they added a new category of grant funding that was specifically for smaller organizations, and I think that made a difference,” Snyder said.

This week, CAC was notified it received the IMLS grant, in the amount of $11,691, which will allow the Arts Center to expand its free field trip program.

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Snyder said not everyone immediately thinks “museum” when they think of the Arts Center. “But our exhibits provide an important opportunity for people to see high-quality artwork,” she said, which is professionally displayed and close to home.

And CAC’s exhibits and programming to fit the federal critiers for what constitutes a museum. Snyder said they take that designation seriously, “because there just aren’t very many museums in Kentucky, much less in our region.”

They often hear from teachers that their students’ visit to CAC is their first time inside anything like a museum.

“Because our mission is to connect people to art, culture and creativity, we are always looking for ways to foster community engagement with our exhibits,” Snyder said. They want to encourage visitors to do more than glance briefly at a piece and move on.

“Our field trip program is one way that we seek to expand the impact of our exhibits,” she said, and CAC typically welcomes between 800 and 1,000 students each year on visits.

Snyder said the IMLS grant will provide critical funding to the field trip program, allowing CAC to pay professional educators who lead them. It also will provide for the purchase art supplies used in activities and develop a curriculum that aligns with state educational standards.

In the coming school year, Snyder says CAC will be expanding the field trip program.

“We do a really good job of serving Boyle County and Danville students, with a special focus on second- and third-graders, along with students with disabilities,” she said. But this coming year, they will develop new regional partnerships to bring student visitors from surrounding counties.

“The Arts Center is a resource and an asset to the entire Southern Bluegrass region,” Snyder said. The financial resources are important stemming from this grant, she said, however “we are also thrilled by the recognition. This is a nationally competitive grant and it is a wonderful affirmation of our programming to be selected as a recipient. I know we’re doing great work, but it’s always nice to hear it from someone else, too.”

According to the grant notification Snyder received, 202 applications were accepted for the IMLS grant, but only 30 were funded.

A release from Rep. Brett Guthrie’s office said he is “proud to announce this competitive award” the Community Arts Center won.

“By partnering with Boyle County Schools, the Danville Independent School District and the Kentucky School for the Deaf, the Community Arts Center field trip program will provide arts education for 1,000 students and will give them the opportunity to create their own art,” Guthrie said within the release. “I am so glad that Second District kids will have greater access to the arts because of this grant.”