Berea College to Receive $50,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Berea, KY—The National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Art Works grant of $50,000 to Partners for Education at Berea College for the Arts Connect Appalachian Youth project, which will engage educators and youth to communicate the importance of arts education and increase in and out of school art opportunities. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

To support Arts Connect Appalachian Youth, a collective impact project in rural southeastern Kentucky, Partners for Education at Berea College will work with regional cross-sector partners to address three priorities: 1) youth involvement in creating meaningful and lasting change in their communities, 2) communicating the importance of arts education and 3) increasing arts opportunities in and out of school.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Partners for Education in eastern Kentucky, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

“I am excited to build on our ongoing efforts to improve access and opportunity for arts education in Appalachian Kentucky by engaging regional educators and youth in this project,” said Natalie Gabbard, project director for arts and humanities at Partners for Education. “I am especially looking forward to collaborating with our regional partners to guide students in the artistic process and to showcasing the creative content developed by youth participants.”

An initial summit event for students and educators will focus on arts education as a means of developing leadership and communication skills. Kentucky Educational Television will partner to offer media workshops that will strengthen an “Arts Connect” communications campaign highlighting the importance of art education. Kentucky Arts Council teaching artists will work with students to create artwork that will be showcased at a second summit event. More information about the events will be provided as they become available.   

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

Partners for Education at Berea College uses a place based, student focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky. By braiding services and aligning federal, state and private funding streams Partners for Education works to ensure all Appalachian students succeed.