News briefs on cultural events around Kentucky compiled by Lori Meadows

By wmadministrator

Our Lincoln Shines in Washington, D.C.

Kentucky Humanities Council celebrates the life of Abraham Lincoln in the nation’s capital

A cast of more than 350, nearly all Kentuckians, delivered a musical, theatrical and historical tribute Feb. 2 to the nation’s 16th president, Kentucky-born Abraham Lincoln, to celebrate his 200th birthday. Our Lincoln was billed as Kentucky’s “gift to the nation” and received standing ovations at the end of both acts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It drew audiences from seven states in addition to the District of Columbia.
Recognizing the importance of Kentucky to Lincoln and of Lincoln to the nation, Our Lincoln was the only event of its kind in the nation’s capital in February, said Dr. Virginia Carter, co-executive producer and executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council, which presented the event.
The show included Kentuckians Bob Edwards of XM Radio, Nick Clooney, the American Spiritual Ensemble and soloist Angelique Clay, UK Opera Theatre, UK Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky Repertory Theatre, Lexington Singers, UK Chorale, violinist Mark O’Connor, Metropolitan Opera stars Angela Brown and Gregory Turay, Kentucky poet laureate Jane Gentry and the Lexington Vintage Dance Society. Dr. Everett McCorvey, who leads the American Spiritual Ensemble and directs UK Opera Theatre, co-produced Our Lincoln.
The Kentucky Humanities Council (kyhumanities.org) is a non-profit corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is not a state agency.

The cast on stage at the Kennedy Center.

Metropolitan Opera star Angela Brown performs He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

ARRA Economic Recovery Bill Includes $50 Million for NEA Grants Funding
On Feb. 17, President Obama signed into law The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with $50 million in direct support for arts jobs through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants. The $50 million will be distributed in direct grants to fund projects and activities that preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn. Forty percent of the funds will be distributed to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, including the Kentucky Arts Council, and 60 percent of the funds will be used for competitively selected arts projects and activities.

Consumer Product Safety Panel Grants Relief from New Law to Handmade Items
Producers and importers of handmade goods recently won a one-year stay from enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), a bill passed by Congress last year to stem the tide of unsafe product imports. The legislation would require expensive testing and certification of all children’s products, even those made by trusted small businesses, toymakers and artisans who create one-of-a-kind goods.
The Consumers Product Safety Commission (CPSC) decided to delay the new law due to the overwhelming concerns of small business owners that the new requirements were designed for large manufacturers who would have very little new costs associated with their production. The CPSC has decided to look into modifying the rule for handmade items before the new enactment date of Feb. 10, 2010.

Historic State Theater of Elizabethtown Schedules Grand Reopening Events
Dark for more than 25 years, the State Theater in Elizabethtown will shine brightly again on Mother’s Day weekend following an extensive revitalization project. Once downtown’s centerpiece and a regional entertainment center, the new Historic State Theater Complex is the cornerstone project of Elizabethtown’s Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main program. The public can see the changes during events planned May 8-10.
The Art Deco style theater at 209 West Dixie Ave. opened June 11, 1942 with a showing of “The Fleet’s In,” starring Dorothy Lamour and William Holden. It had approximately 950 two-toned cushioned metal seats with a balcony. Painstaking effort has gone into restoring authentic detail down to wall colors, original murals and tile work. New construction of adjacent facilities features a black-box theater with seating capacity of 120 and the First Federal Gallery exhibit area and meeting space.
“To tell the story of a theater built in the 1940s, closed in the ‘80s, and now coming back to life not only as a theater but as a modern, multi-purpose event space is of great interest to countless people across the state and region,” according to Dana Beth Lyddan, executive director of the Elizabethtown Heritage Council and the theater complex.
The Elizabethtown Heritage Council is asking individuals to email memories of their experiences at the theater so these can be documented and shared with others. Send stories to [email protected] For reopening information, visit historicstatetheater.org or call (270) 234-8258.

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