Arts and Culture

According to Louisville Visual Art executive director Lindy Casebier, a recent grant to his organization’s Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC) program is a prime example of the continued importance of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Earlier this week, the CFAC program received a $10,000 NEA Arts Work grant. The award comes at a time when government support of the arts and humanities remains in question.

The money will go toward supporting the youth arts classes which have been operating since 1925. CFAC is now offered in 34 locations across the Louisville Metro Area.

“The program is our cornerstone at Louisville Visual Art,” Casebier said. “This grant will go a long way in providing art to a greater number of students who have demonstrated ability and have been selected by their teachers.”

Casebier continued: “One of the reasons this is so important is that some of these students — these young artists — aren’t offered art during the school day, so this is very helpful to them to expand on their artistic ability, as well as to students that do have the advantage of having art in the school [they attend].”

CFAC students can participate in concentrations like drawing, painting, and mixed media. Additionally, they receive instruction in art history, critiquing skills and aesthetics.

This can set students up for success when pursuing educational opportunities that require a portfolio — like attending Governor’s School for the Arts or an arts magnet high school.

This is where, Casebier said, NEA funding is so important to “level the playing field” for students of all backgrounds.

Each student chosen to participate in CFAC programs is provided a $350 scholarship to attend so that economic status isn’t a factor in a child’s participation or placement. A fee for supplies is paid by those who are financially able to support the program.

“We absolutely hope the NEA continues to be funded in its current — or even at a greater level,” Casebier said. “It’s an investment in the future of our future leaders. It helps them develop not just artistic skills, but creative thinking and problem-solving skills.”

The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu in a statement. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Louisville Visual Art in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.