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KY Arts Council awards grants for programs serving aging, including The Barrington

The Kentucky Arts Council has awarded $70,000 to 14 Kentucky organizations for arts-centered programming that serves older Kentuckians, including to the Barrington in Fort Thomas.

The Arts Access Assistance: Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning Grant is made possible by funding provided to the arts council by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in partnership with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.

The Kentucky Arts Council is one of 36 state and jurisdictional arts agencies sharing in $1.46 million in funding awarded by E.A. Michelson Philanthropy and NASAA. Each organization or individual was awarded $5,000 to conduct projects and programming in creative aging activities.

The Barrington in Ft. Thomas

Among the awardees is Wesley Village Senior Living Community in Wilmore. The community is home to more than 200 seniors who enjoy classes offered in creative writing, painting, exercise, yoga and craft making. Within the facilities is an auditorium, where the community has hosted live performances by various central Kentucky groups. Residents also take group trips to performing arts venues around the region.

With its grant, Wesley Village’s leadership wanted to extend interactive performing opportunities to residents living in the community’s personal and full nursing care apartments. The center will offer drumming, recorder and kazoo band programming taught by teaching artists already contracted by Wesley Village.

The effects of those opportunities have been profound, said Alan Beuscher, Wesley Village’s vice president for community relations, and Cora Hughes, creative aging and arts consultant and one of three teaching artists on contract with Wesley Village.

“We had one resident who was in memory care, and just moved into health care last month. Our staff said they hadn’t seen her smile since she moved into nursing care,” Beuscher said. “When the kazoo band came to play, they said that was the first time they saw her smile.

“She asked to play the drums too, and she never does anything else. Those are things we see when we go into those areas.”

Expanding those opportunities to the memory care and nursing care populations has allowed Wesley Village to make full use of the talents of their three teaching artists and show appreciation for their time and talent.

“What this grant has done is allowed us to invite these three folks to properly spend many more hours here doing what they already do so well,” Hughes said. “We appreciate that the Kentucky Arts Council values compensating professional artists, and we appreciate the opportunity to ask these professionals to have a proper stipend, to show they are appreciated.”

Organizations awarded Arts Access Assistance: Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning Grants are:

• Norton Healthcare Foundation, Jefferson County
• Volunteers of America Mid-States, Jefferson County
• Hart County Historical Society
• Berea College Theatre, Madison County
• West Kentucky NOW, Calloway County
• Commonwealth Health Foundation, Warren County
• University of Kentucky Pike County Cooperative Extension
• Opal’s Dream Foundation, Bullitt County
• Wesley Village, Jessamine County
• Sayre Christian Village, Fayette County
• University of Kentucky Johnson County Cooperative Extension Service
• Barrington of Fort Thomas, Campbell County
• Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest, Rockcastle County
• Urban Strategies Inc., Jefferson County.

In addition to the grants to groups like Wesley Village, the arts council is conducting workshops, trainings and other activities throughout the current fiscal year to address and examine creative aging in Kentucky.

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