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Thanks to two grants, more opportunities for art education will be coming to Frankfort Independent Schools. 

Joanna Hay Productions has partnered with the school district to write grant applications for artist residencies. FIS was recently selected for a $2,400 grant from the Kentucky Arts Council and a $1,350 grant from Arts for All Kentucky. 

Hay, who wrote the successful grant applications and will write future ones for the schools, said the artist residences are part of a larger community effort to make Frankfort and Franklin County the “Public Art Capital of Kentucky,” an initiative that has support from Josephine Sculpture Park, the Franklin County Arts Council, YesArts and more local artists. Recently, sculptures and murals have been installed downtown to increase public art in Frankfort. 

The final projects produced during the artists’ residencies will be included in the Second Street corridor, which the city is currently upgrading with the help of a federal TIGER grant. The work includes improving sidewalks, bike lanes and traffic routes. 

In terms of art in the classroom, Second Street School students in fifth through eighth grades have recently worked with visiting artist Jeri Katherine Howell to come up with ideas for creating public artwork for the future Second Street streetscape.

The grant from the Kentucky Arts Council will bring in two artists — ceramic muralist Megan Sauter and metal sculptor Bob Montgomery — to work with students at SSS. Sauter will spend five days at the school to help students create a ceramic tile installation. Then, Montgomery will work with students for 15 days to design and create a sculpture.

Younger students in second to fourth grades will also work with the visiting artists, creating pinch pots with Sauter and forged hooks with Montgomery. 

The Arts for All Kentucky grant will allow art and engineering students at Frankfort High School to change the appearance of their school campus and quality of life in their community. Teaching artist David Cooper will work with engineering classes to convert recycled pallets into benches and with visual arts students to identify visual themes and create designs to apply to the benches. The final benches will be installed at SSS. 

“The arts bring everything together,” said FIS Superintendent Houston Barber. He noted that art programs often are the first to be cut in many school districts but are a necessity for schools’ success.

“I think it’s critical to engage young minds and their talents,” he said. 

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