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LexArts and Blue Grass Community Foundation support local artists during pandemic

The arts are struggling during the pandemic just as much as other businesses. ` To combat this, LexArts and the Blue Grass Community Foundation have teamed up to create a fund that will continue to provide financial relief to artist and arts organizations across Central Kentucky. Advancement Administrative Coordinator for the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Jason Tate, provided WRFL with more information on these organizations and the impact that is being made.

First, tell us about the Blue Grass Community Foundation and its mission:
We are the premiere community foundation for not only Lexington, but also surrounding counties in Central and Appalachia Kentucky. We have been doing good in the Blue Grass for over 50 years now. The Blue Grass Community Foundation is where people go to give their money, their ideas, and their passions to enhance the quality of life here in Central and Appalachia Kentucky. So, we have individuals, families, communities, as well as non-profit organizations establish charitable funds and we help guide those funds to support causes they care about.

When did the Blue Grass Community Foundation begin?
The BGCF was established in 1967.

Now let’s transition to the Arts Resilience Initiative. Tell us about that:
When all of this started, we established the Coronavirus Response Fund and we recognized that everybody is struggling; non-profits are struggling, but I think the arts are struggling especially. One of our core principles is to create a more vibrant community and I think that arts organizations are a huge part of that vibrancy. So many of these arts organizations, a large part of their revenues come from performances and fundraising events that have become untenable during the current crisis. We partnered with LexArts to establish the Arts Resilience Initiative.

A huge part of this initiative is that it will only keep functioning until funds run out. Have you been successful with donations for the initiative so far? It’s been pretty positive. It’s good that you mention that, it only works as long as people support the cause so that is very important. There’s a real need for funding, not just for arts organizations but for artists as well. We partnered with LexArts and through the generosity of fund-holders at BGCF and individuals, we have been able to do something really special. So far $30,000 has been awarded to the following arts organizations: The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, the Lexington Art League, Lexington Children’s Theatre, the Lexington Philharmonic, and the Lexington Living Arts and Science Center. I think some other $500 grants have been awarded to individual artists.

How long do you think these donations will continue to flow in? It’s a little early on so things are still pretty active at the moment since LexArts just wrapped up the first grant cycle. It’s hard to tell, but at the moment things are still going well. Of course, we still need everyone’s support. While the fund has been active, the need has always outweighed the funds. So even if donations increased, there’s going to be so many organizations and artists that need support that we are not going to be able to help. It’s hard to help everyone. I’d say that more support and more generosity is always needed.

How can someone donate to the Arts Resilience Initiative? It’s pretty easy. You just have to go onto and from there it’s easy to find the Arts Resilience Initiative page and read about how you can donate. We have had donations from corporations and from individuals, so there is no minimum, it’s just a ‘give what you can’ type of thing.

Is there anything else you want me to share with about the community foundation or the initiative? There’s a lot I could say but the most important thing I would like everyone to know right now is how much we appreciate the community and everybody’s individual generosity and support. I think Lexington and the surrounding counties are super generous places. In addition to going to the Blue Grass Community Foundation’s website to find more information, also you can visit LexArts’ website for information about the grant process for organizations and individual artists.

Applications for the Arts Resilience Initiative are being accepted continuously and grants are being made on a rolling basis.

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