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KY Arts Council offers Community Scholar training

Beaver Dam Mayor among seven Kentucky Arts Council Community Scholars Program Graduates
Click on headline for story with photo of Ohio County group

By Tom Musgrave, Kentucky Arts Council

FRANKFORT, KY (Thu 21 Dec 2017) - Beaver Dam Mayor Paul Sandefur admitted that when he began Kentucky Arts Council Community Scholars training, "folklore" and "folklife" were words he connected with events in the distant past.

"I thought it was history. It's not. We live it every day," Sandefur said.

Sandefur was one of six Ohio County residents who recently completed Community Scholars training at the Ohio County Artists Guild in Beaver Dam.

The Community Scholars Program trains members of a community in documentation, interpretation and dissemination of their unique local cultural resources and traditional art forms. Training consists of several sessions and occurs twice a year in different communities across the state. Certification as a Community Scholar opens up many opportunities for future research projects.

Sandefur's research project involves starting an international festival to celebrate the varied cultural communities with his western Kentucky county. He said Ohio County is home to a very large Hispanic population, Japanese-owned business in the regional industrial park, and Perdue Farms, of which the workforce is representative of 27 different nationalities.

Ohio County itself was founded in 1798 by a German immigrant, later incorporating Irish railroad workers and Welsh coal miners. Sandefur would like to see a community festival that honors and recognizes all of Ohio County's international backgrounds, from those of longtime residents to the cultures of newcomers.

"I want to put together an event to share the history of these different countries, including culture, music, dance and food," Sandefur said. "I want to try to pull us into one community that is changing and evolving as we speak."

Sandefur said other elected officials should consider taking Community Scholars training for the benefit of their own cities and towns.

"I think it would open them up to see the heartbeat of their communities, whether city or county," he said. "This class sets you up to learn more about where you live and to look at it with a different perspective. It did for me."

Ohio County's new Community Scholars are:
  • Ben Ashby
  • Fonda Brown
  • Terri Minton
  • Paul Sandefur
  • Debbie Stofer
  • John Stofer
  • Kim Wilkerson
For more information about the arts council's Community Scholars Program, contact Mark Brown, arts council folk and traditional arts director, at 502-892-3115 or

This story was posted on 2017-12-22 11:38:57
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Ohio Countians & KY Arts Council Community Scholars training

2017-12-22 - Beaver Dam, KY .
Seven Ohio Countians recently completed Kentucky Arts Council Community Scholars training at the Ohio County Arts Guild in Beaver Dam, Ohio County, KY. From left, Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Director Mark Brown, Kim Wilkerson, John Stofer, Debbie Stofer, Kentucky Folklife Program Director Brent Bjorkman, Beaver Dam Mayor Paul Sandefur and Terri Minton. Not pictured, Ben Ashby and Fonda Brown.

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