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Shaped by Water

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The Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded an "Arts Meets Activism" grant to four women artists/activists working with the Center for Appalachian Studies. This planning grant is designed to promote arts activism within eastern Kentucky schools and communities and devise a funding strategy to give the project legs. The long-term goal is to establish an annual River Festival as an art/environmental event with feminist leadership. Co-directors of this project include Judy Sizemore (Circuit Rider for the Kentucky Arts Council), Pat Banks (artist-educator), Joanne Guifoil (Professor of Art Education, Eastern Kentucky University), and Gabrielle Beazely (independent videographer/photographer).


The purpose of this program is to promote watershed awareness and cultural heritage education through arts experiences. A central team of four environmentally active artists/educators will provide a series of workshop/retreats for artists, educators and activists who will lead water-oriented projects in their rural eastern Kentucky communities. The goals of the projects in this program are to:

Recognize rural women as leaders and guardians of their community watersheds.

Inspire more rural women to use their creativity as environmental activists.

Develop a network of rural women artists and leaders who will promote watershed awareness.

Reconnect rural women with cultural heritage in the rivers and creeks as they work toward watershed restoration and preservation.

Time Frame

During the first year, the central team of four artists/educators will plan and conduct a retreat/workshop for artists, educators and potential community activists. Workshop participants will conduct water-related projects in their communities supported and documented by members of the central team. Community activists and the central team will assemble for a summary conference to share activities, outcomes, and water-related issues and resources.

The first Shaped by Water Conference was held on October 20, 2001. This one day conference began with a light breakfast and a boat ride on the Kentucky River and then moved on to the Perkins Building at Eastern Kentucky University.

For details on the Fall 2009 Water Conference which took place October 26-28 at EKU's Center for Application Studies, click here. (You must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system in order to view and print the the October information.)

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