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Stimulus funds help double size of Governor’s School for the Arts

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Grant helps expand program for next three summers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)Kentucky Performing Arts has announced that the statewide arts education program for high school students, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA), recently received supplemental funding from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) that will allow the program to double in size.

“Education continues to be the key to ensuring the future of Kentucky remains bright. Investing this supplemental funding into GSA is a positive step towards ensuring that education and cultural opportunities reach students in every community throughout the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “I encourage more students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to develop diverse, lifelong friendships and explore your artistic talents through education and the arts.”

During the next three summers, GSA will welcome approximately 500 students each summer to participate in the arts immersion program, studying a range of artistic disciplines. In recent years, the class has served about 250 students each summer. The University of Kentucky in Lexington is the current program campus.

“This is a transformational moment for GSA, but also for the entire state,” said Nick Covault, the program’s executive director. “This increased investment not only means more of Kentucky’s creative youth will be empowered, validated and affirmed as artists, it also means the Commonwealth will benefit even more from the powerful skillset of our next generation of creative leaders: artist-citizens who bring innovation, connection, joy and healing to various sectors of our communities.”

GSA was approved for $2,850,000 from the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Summer Enrichment funds (Office of Teaching and Learning) to be awarded over a three-year period. Federal ESSER funding was provided to state education agencies as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act). The $2,850,000 ESSER grant covers 43% of the expanded GSA program, with an additional 32% ($2,121,746) financed by private sources, and the remaining from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.   Kentucky Performing Arts and program administrators are working to secure additional funding, including fundraising, to allow for the program to accommodate 500 students after the three-year grant term ends.

“We are proud to partner on this effort to expand GSA to encompass additional students,” Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said. “This program is a powerful and life-changing learning experience for Kentucky youth. I am excited that a greater number of our creative and artistic students will benefit from the GSA experience.”

The three-week, arts-immersive program for rising high school juniors and seniors across the state has for 35 years gathered hundreds of students on a Kentucky college campus to learn, collaborate and study various art forms. Students, educators and administrators have often noted the peer support learning element of the program, with attendees connecting with like-minded peers and often leaving with new lifelong friends.

Alumni of the program are eligible for scholarships at nearly 30 colleges and universities. A total of 93% of the GSA 2021 class said they felt more prepared to attend college because of their GSA experience, while 75% said they felt college is a more accessible option for them because of their GSA experience.

The tuition-free, three-week program will take place in June and July. Student artists from all regions of the state are immersed in a rigorous schedule of daily seminars, creative projects, master classes and lectures. Instruction will be offered in nine disciplines:  architecture and design, creative writing, dance, drama, film and photography, instrumental music, musical theater, visual art and vocal music.

Program administrators currently are determining campus location, program structure and curriculum. Applications for the GSA 2022 class will open on Nov. 3, with virtual recruitment presentations and other important application prep materials made available in October.





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