Louisville, Ky. (June 10, 2022) — The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) began its 35th anniversary class this summer, and a class doubled from the previous year thanks to supplemental funding from the Kentucky Department of Education. Growing from 256 students to more than 500, the tuition-free program will be held over two consecutive three-week sessions (Session 1: June 12-July 2; Session 2: 10-July-30) with students divided into each. Both sessions will be held at the University of Kentucky this summer.
“Education continues to be key to ensuring Kentucky’s future remains bright. Investing these supplemental funds in GSA is a positive step in ensuring that educational and cultural opportunities reach students in every community across the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Bessier. “I encourage more students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to develop diverse, lifelong friendships and explore your artistic talents through education and the arts.”
“This is a transformative moment for the GSA, but also for the entire state,” said UK alumnus Nick Covalt, GSA executive director and 2002 GSA alumnus (vocal music). “This increased investment will not only empower, validate and affirm more of Kentucky’s creative youth as artists, it will also mean that the Commonwealth will benefit even more from the strong skills of our next generation of creative leaders: artist-citizens who bring innovation, to diverse areas of our community. Connection, joy and healing.”
GSA was approved for $2,850,000 from the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Summer Enrichment Fund (Office of Teaching and Learning) to be awarded over a three-year period. Federal ESSER funding was provided to state education agencies as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). The $2,850,000 ESSER grant covers 43% of the expanded GSA program, with an additional 32% ($2,121,746) funded by private sources and the remainder from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky Performing Arts and program administrators are working to secure additional funding, including fundraising, to allow 500 students for the program after the three-year grant expires.
“We are proud to be a partner in this effort to expand GSA to include additional students,” said Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said. “This program is a powerful and life-changing learning experience for Kentucky youth. I am excited that a greater number of our creative and artistic students will benefit from the GSA experience.”
GSA brings together student artists from across the state on a Kentucky college campus for an immersive program of daily seminars, creative projects, master classes and lectures. Instruction is offered in nine disciplines: architecture and design, creative writing, dance, drama, film and photography, instrumental music, musical theater, visual arts, and vocal music. Students, educators, and administrators often mention the peer support learning component of the program, with participants connecting with like-minded peers and often leaving with new lifelong friends. Visiting guest artists include Martha Redbone, Afriliachian Poets, Flamenco Louisville, Mutual Dance Theater, Harry Pickens, and other artists from various fields/mediums. They will entertain as well as interact with the students.
Alumni of the program are eligible for scholarships at nearly 30 colleges and universities. 93% of the GSA 2021 class said they felt more prepared to attend college because of their GSA experience, while 75% said they felt GSA helped make college a more accessible option for them.
To learn more about the program, including ways you can support GSA’s mission, visit https://kentuckygsa.org or the Kentucky Performing Arts website.
About the GSA
GSA is a public/private partnership established in 1987 by the Kentucky Center (now Kentucky Performing Arts), the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and numerous private supporters. Today, the funding needed to make the GSA a reality is provided by the state governor’s office and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, as well as leadership from the Kentucky Performing Arts Foundation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and more than 300 corporations. , parents, educators, alumni and friends of GSA.
About the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts
The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts offers Kentucky’s broadest collection of visual and performing arts academic programs with four academic units. The college is also a single center for the arts and home to the UK Art Museum. The College of Fine Arts proclaims that the arts are essential to the lives of individuals and communities and expresses a commitment to the arts through a dedication to teaching, scholarly research, artistic experimentation, performance, outreach, and exhibition.
About Kentucky Performing Arts
By bringing world-class performances to Kentucky, connecting artists to the community and providing opportunities for arts education, Kentucky Performing Arts fulfills its statewide mission of fostering lifelong relationships with the arts. As an integral member of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Kentucky Performing Arts, along with other organizations, seeks to preserve and promote the Commonwealth’s history, heritage and arts.
Three Louisville locations make up the family of venues under the Kentucky Performing Arts umbrella:
- 501 W. Main St. A Kentucky Center.
- Brown Theatre, 315 W. Broadway
- Old Forester Paristown Hall, 724 Brent St.