The mission of the Berea Arts Council is to inspire a passion and love for the arts as a force for enhancing the quality of life of individuals and the community. We do this by encouraging creative expression, participation in and appreciation of the arts, and by coordinating and presenting community arts activities.
The Berea Arts Council (BAC) was organized in 1986 to
focus the resources of Berea College and Berea's extensive arts community on
the need for arts in the community. Our purpose and artistic objectives are to
connect the community through all forms of art. Through 1999 the BAC was an all
volunteer organization, sustained by a dedicated membership, a few business
contributors, and a series of energetic and creative Boards of Directors. The
focus was on providing hands-on arts programming in a variety of venues around the community. The year 2000 marked a major transition with the hiring of a full-time Executive Director and Administrative Assistant and the establishment of a permanent space on Berea's College Square. As of 2015 the Berea Arts Council has grown to offer a vastly expanded range of activities, to be the primary source of arts leadership in the community, and to present a substantial physical presence for arts programming.
Walk with the Arts. A collaboration with Madison County schools that brings more than 1000 fourth
grade students, their teachers and 100 volunteers to an outdoor venue for a day of
interactions with over 20 artists at work. The former Superintendent of Madison County
Schools said of this program, "Walk with the Arts is a perfect classroom
extension and a very powerful opportunity if you want to see education outside
The Berea Arts Council (BAC) participates fully in our community through the efforts of staff and Board members, who serve in community organizations and represent the BAC's positions and interests in both arts and non-arts discussions. We collaborate productively with the Berea Tourism Commission, Berea city government, St. Joseph Hospital-Berea, Berea College, the Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea Community and Madison County Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen, the Madison County Public Library, the Berea Citizen (local newspaper), and gallery, studio and other business owners.
Our special partnerships with organizations in the community enable us to have a wider presence and greater visibility outside the specific arts community. A partnership with St. Joseph Hospital-Berea began as a result of taking art to the hospital. In the summer of 2009, a children's art exhibit traveled to the hospital where it was displayed along the highly visible main corridor. The exhibit was so well received by patients, staff, and visitors, that hospital administrators asked the BAC to partner with them to acquire a substantial number of artworks from local and regional artists for permanent display in public spaces and patient rooms. Funding for this large-scale purchase came from the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, which in 2013 underwrote a second purchase for the permanent collection. In addition, portions of each BAC Gallery exhibit now rotate to the hospital.
Our varied programming and collaborations in community-wide arts projects strongly enhance Berea's cultural environment and draw the community together. Our group-sponsored public arts projects are particularly notable. In 2003 "The Show of Hands" placed 12 artistically decorated six-foot fiberglass hands throughout the city. Twelve years later these sculptures have become part of the identity of the community and continue to generate interest. The BAC's Quilt Extravaganza and the accompanying "Quilts with a Kick" exhibit draw thousands of visitors to the city (more than 3,000 in 2014 to the exhibit alone) from across Kentucky and other states. Such projects bring revenue into the business community and enhance Berea's identity as the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky and a Kentucky Cultural District. The City of Berea believes that the Berea Arts Council is a vital component of the city's economic development strategy.
"The mission of the Berea Arts Council is
to inspire a passion and love for the arts as a force for enhancing the quality
of life of individuals and the community. We do this by encouraging creative
expression, participation in and appreciation of the arts, and by coordinating
and presenting community arts activities."
the current era of reduction in public funding for the arts we think this
mission is more important than ever. Some
of our activities--gallery shows and programs—complement Berea’s already-rich
artistic life. But our public art
projects draw on community resources and thereby connect Berea in ways that are
In 2003 "The Show of Hands" placed
12 artistically decorated six-foot fiberglass hands throughout the city. Twelve
years later these sculptures have become part of the identity of the community
and continue to generate interest. The BAC's Quilt Extravaganza and the
accompanying "Quilts with a Kick" exhibit draw thousands of visitors
to the city (more than 3,000 in 2014 to the exhibit alone) from across Kentucky
and other states. Our
Walk with the Arts project is an annual collaboration with Madison County
schools that brings more than 1000 fourth grade students, their teachers and
100 volunteers to an outdoor venue for a day of interactions with over 20
artists at work. A special partnership
with St. Joseph Hospital-Berea begun as a result of taking children’s art to
the hospital has blossomed into two large–scale purchases of art for patient
rooms and public spaces by the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation and the rotation of
portions of each BAC Gallery to the hospital.
is no other source of organizational capacity, volunteer capability, and
expertise in the community capable of mounting projects of this size and
Executive Committee of the Board is comprised of the Board President, Vice
President, Secretary and Treasurer, plus two at-large members. Current Standing
Committees focus on Education and Exhibitions. Ad hoc event committees support
Stepping Out for Art (our major fundraising event), Walk with the Arts, Quilt
Extravaganza, and Summer Art Camp.
With only 2 paid staff members, most of the work of the BAC is carried out by
volunteers. The all-volunteer Board populates all the Standing and Ad Hoc
steering committees for special events. Non-Board-member volunteers are an
integral part of Ad Hoc committees, and also research and write grant
proposals. Volunteers assist in fundraising, event planning and execution, and
membership development. They staff the gallery on weekends and, with the Board,
provide the labor to support all programs, exhibits, and fundraising events.
This involves setting up and taking down of tables and chairs, moving and
hanging art work, preparing and serving food, maintaining registration lists
and attendance counts, greeting attendees and answering questions. Volunteers
collate materials and stuff envelopes for mass mailings. Beyond organized
activities, volunteers are also invaluable in word-of-mouth publicity and
public relations that are the life blood of the organization.
It is the
deeply intertwined mix of volunteer work and collaboration that gives the BAC
its unique capability in the community.
BAC Gallery exhibit records are scrutinized
for attendance numbers and comments. In 2010 the BAC developed a standardized
cost-benefit analysis process. At the end of each event, a Board member takes
the lead in subjecting each program to this rigorous analysis, judging the
event against the BAC's mission, values, goals, and objectives. Specific
criteria for measuring success include attendance, artist support, participant
satisfaction, and profitability. These structured evaluations also consider
participant diversity and significance in the BAC's program mix.
The Executive Director coordinates
implementation of the evaluation process and submits a summary of information
to relevant committees. Ultimately, the Board reviews and determines the
success of programs and their improvement, continuation, termination, or
Walk with the Arts (WWA) is an extensive collaboration with county schools that will continue for an eighth year in 2015. Begun with a Kentucky Arts Council Arts Build Communities grant, and further supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, WWA brings more than 1000 Madison County fourth grade students, their teachers and more than 100 volunteers to Berea College's outdoor amphitheater site for a day of interactions with 20 artists at work. BAC partners with the Berea College Crafts Education and Outreach Program, which provides student artisan workers and in-kind logistical support. Teachers and administrators have praised the experience as a unique supplement to what they are able to offer in their arts and humanities curricula, particularly now that the program has a written curriculum aligned with the State Department of Education's Core Content Standards.
Two sessions, one week for 6-8 year olds and one week for 9-12 years olds. Children are engaged in a variety of visual arts -- clay, jewelry, weaving, broom making, painting, and more. This is a partnership with Berea College's Craft Outreach and Education program. As a part of their outreach, they provide the program at just the cost of materials to BAC. This enables us to provide the camp at a much lower cost to families than previously. There is a great deal of BAC volunteer time that goes into this program, with volunteers serving as camp managers and helpers.
A celebration of quilting in Kentucky. The first weekend in August is dedicated to showcasing the best of KY quilting with a community quilt show, special quilt exhibits, demonstrations and a vendors market. The event takes place at the Berea Community School and close to 1000 visitors from around the region come to the even. In addition to the over 200 quilts displayed at the event, the Quilts with a Kick Exhibit show 100 art quilts at the Berea Arts Council Gallery. This is an event with partnerships that bring in quilts from around the state and from local sources such as Berea College.
We present eight exhibitions each year of local and regional artists' work. All shows are group exhibits to showcase as many artists as possible. Exhibits feature work by members of the KY Guild of Artists & Craftsmen, Quilt Artists of KY, and other membership art groups. The Community Art Show is non-juried and features the work of Berea residents. Young at Art showcases the artwork of local school-age children,and we present an exhibit of Japanese children's artwork through Madison County's sister-city program. Throughout the year we present a wide variety of media and themes.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507