A Kentucky arts groups received a national award this week recognizing its arts space and programming. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.
The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington received $10,000 as part of the competitive 2009 MetLife Innovative Space Awards. It was one of six groups nationwide recognized by the MetLife Foundation and Leveraging Investments in Creativity or LINC, an organization aimed at improving conditions for artists.
The center opened in the former Lexington Public Library in 1992 and offers programming for professional writers and activities to improve literacy levels.
Executive director Jan Isenhour says the money will help the center do more for artists.
“Ten thousand dollars is a wonderful boost because we hadn’t expected to have that this fiscal year,” she says. “And that gives us a little bit of breathing room to do something creative and special with that money.”
The award was initiated to recognize outstanding efforts in the design and development of affordable space for artists.
LINC executive director Judilee Reed says the Center was a stand out among the 90 organizations nationwide that applied for the awards.
“It was unique,” she says, “in that it’s a former library that was repurposed with literary arts in mind and that it takes a very interesting approach to serving individual artists through its programming.”
Isenhour says a representative of the organizations actually came to Lexington in October.
“I think what helped us the most,” she says, “was being selected for a site visit because we had a really good day with the judge who came in and felt that she got a good feeling for the work of the Carnegie Center and what we do.”
Carnegie Center has an array of projects, from workshops for established writers to English courses for immigrants.
The winners were chosen from more than 90 organizations in 29 states.