About the Project
Project Sponsor: The City of Berea Tourism Commission
Project Directors: Joanna Hay and Judy Sizemore of Joanna Hay Productions
With Major Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
The creation of this public art tour has taken the commitment and effort of a widespread group of partners. The City of Berea Tourism Commission acted as the lead partner, collaborating with Joanna Hay Productions to submit a grant application to the National Endowment for the Arts to fund development of the tour, but from the beginning the Berea Arts Council and Berea College have been active partners. In a unique partnership, the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC) and Berea College Special Collections and Archives are both repositories for the oral history interviews collected for this project. The KOHC provided workshops for students in English and Appalachian Studies classes to prepare them to participate with the project directors in collecting interviews from local artists, curators, and community leaders. Berea College is committed to outreach to the surrounding communities. Through the Berea College Partners for Education program, high school students from three counties learned how to conduct interviews and visited the Berea College Student Crafts Program to interview college students.
The project reinforced the already close relationship between the City and the College, whose histories have been intertwined since the founding of an interracial, coeducational school before the Civil War. Beginning with a common commitment to social justice, the college and community have grown together in their commitment to preserve and honor traditional Appalachian culture, develop sustainability, and infuse the arts throughout the campus and the community. It is that heritage that is reflected in the ever-changing public art landscape of Berea.