Stop 17. Gallery 123 (Artist Accelerator Program)
It is the synergistic connection between the community of Berea and Berea College that continues to sustain Berea as a vibrant artisan community. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the 123 Gallery for Emerging Artists, the pilot program of the Arts Accelerator program. The program identifies graduating Berea College students who have demonstrated great talent, serious work ethic, and a desire to become working artisans. During the 16-month fellowship, the City of Berea provides a monthly stipend, studio space, and a general gallery space. MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development) provides business training and assistance in developing a business plan for those who decide to stay in the community. The young artisans have the opportunity to set up at the Kentucky Craft Market with more experienced artisans from the community as their mentors. They are part of the Studio Artist program, welcoming visitors to observe them at work from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. They provide demonstrations for school children on an Arts across the Curriculum field trip. The first set of “fellows” were hired in August 2014. Their first task was to renovate an abandoned gallery that had at one time been a casket factory, create studio and gallery space, and install equipment like kilns. They couldn’t have done it without the donations of time, expertise, and materials that flowed in from the community. The 123 Gallery opened on October 3, 2014. The Arts Accelerator program is more than a government-sponsored program – it is a community-supported effort to keep traditions alive. Click here for a video.