Suzanne Fernandez Gray

In May, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded the City of Frankfort a $25,000 Our Town grant to support the creation of an Arts Master Plan for Frankfort.

According to the NEA, this program is designed to support community efforts to “lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities.” It is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program and supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods.

With so many new arts initiatives on the horizon, this funding comes at a crucial time for Frankfort and will be used to bring in an outside consultant to lead a community engagement process to integrate current and future downtown arts initiatives for the sustainability of Frankfort’s arts and cultural attractions.

Downtown Frankfort Inc. is the primary partner with the city on the grant. Key organizational partners include Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort Independent Schools, Joanna Hay Productions, Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist Commission, Franklin County, and the Franklin County Arts Council (FrankArts).

Though specifics about how the plan will be enacted have not been announced, artists, residents and business owners will all be encouraged to participate in the process. As many communities our size have discovered, disparate efforts by multiple groups often limit its ability to leverage arts investment. With this grant, Frankfort can create strategies that better connect and strengthen arts and cultural assets in the city over the next decade This is a unique opportunity to explore our strengths, discover what makes Frankfort distinct, understand key networks and cultural attitudes, and identify gaps that require further investment.

The first engagement activities are expected to begin in late 2019 with a goal of presenting a completed Frankfort Arts Master Plan to the city commission by the end of 2020.

Information about events related to the Master Plan will be announced on the city’s website (, DFI’s website, (, as well as on FrankArts’ Facebook and Instagram pages. Information will also be shared via the FrankArts newsletter. You can sign up for that by visiting

Suzanne Fernandez Gray is president of the Franklin County Arts Council, She can be reached

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