Arts and Culture

The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, which provides free studio arts education to talented students, will suspend its new media program for the next fiscal year. The suspension addresses a budget shortfall caused by state spending cuts. 

In the 25 years since its founding, GSA has doubled in size, serving 225 students in nine disciplines during its last summer residential program. Suspending the new media program will cover a little more than half of GSA’s $50,000 budget shortfall, the result of the 8.4 percent state budget cuts enacted this year to address Kentucky’s structural deficit. GSA is an agency of the state tourism, arts and heritage cabinet.

Executive director Carrie Nath says the organization suspended one discipline rather than cut student spots across the board that could compromise the overall quality of the program.

“Faculty numbers would have to drop down potentially to one (per discipline). In a discipline that, such as new media, requires filmmaking, still shot photography, Claymation, one teacher expected to teach that effectively over a three-week period, you’re now putting the integrity of the program into question,” says Nath.

New media students study digital imagery, video production and animation under the direction of two faculty teaching artists. The program suspension will affect the summer residential program, which employs selective admission based on open auditions, as well as the new media workshops offered around the state as part of GSA’s Artshop program. 

Eighteen hundred high school students auditioned for 225 spots in nine disciplines for last summer’s residential program. The new media program hosted twelve students. Nath says discipline demand helped determine which program to suspend, but there are always qualified students on the alternate list who aren’t admitted for budgetary reasons.

“We offer the program tuition-free. We do not charge the students, but we do need to pay for those students,” says Nath. 

Suspending new media will save GSA about $27,000 this year. GSA will also decrease the number of free open Artshops from six to four. Nath says more cuts are coming to cover the remainder of the shortfall.