Kentucky Arts Council

The Kentucky Arts Council, established in 1966, is the Kentucky state arts agency, and is responsible for developing and promoting support for the arts in Kentucky.[2][3][4] Part of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Arts Council is publicly funded by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency of the United States federal government.[4][5][6] The Council's 14-person board of directors serve four-year terms.[7]

Kentucky Arts Council
State agency overview
Formed1966; 56 years ago (1966)
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Kentucky
HeadquartersFrankfort, Kentucky[1]
State agency executive
  • Chris Cathers[1], Executive Director
Parent departmentKentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet


In 2016 the council's budget was cut by $170,00, spread over two and a half years.[8][9] Its budget had been $3.7 million.[9] The following year the National Endowment for the Arts awarded $746,500 to the Council, a 5% increase from 2016 funding.[10]

In March 2019 the council took on a new executive director, Chris Cathers.[11][12] He had been interim executive director since 2017.[11]

In January 2021 the council honored the nine 2020 recipients of the Kentucky Governor’s Awards in the Arts in a virtual ceremony.[13] The Awards have been given since 1977.[7]

In May 2021 it was announced that Kentucky would receive more than $800,000 in federal funding to support recovery of the state’s arts industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky.[14] The Council will determine how the funding will be distributed to arts organizations in Kentucky.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Kentucky Arts Council Staff".
  2. ^ "Kentucky Arts Council History".
  3. ^ "Section 153.215 - Kentucky Arts Council - Functions - Purpose - Members - Compensation - Officers - Meetings, Ky. Rev. Stat. § 153.215".
  4. ^ a b "About the Kentucky Arts Council".
  5. ^ Bill McCann (January 29, 2021). "Three questions for Chris Cathers". Winchester Sun.
  6. ^ "NEA awards nearly $800,000 to Kentucky groups". Hamburg Journal. May 2, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Kentucky Arts Council Board of Directors".
  8. ^ Budde, Neil (January 2, 2016). "Rumors raise concern Arts Council will be defunded". The Courier-Journal.
  9. ^ a b "Ky. tourism official says there was never a plan to cut Arts Council". WDRB. February 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Kentucky Arts Council awarded $746,500 in funding". WLKY. June 7, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Frye, Shelby (March 11, 2019). "Kentucky Arts Council Appoints New Executive Director". WKMS.
  12. ^ "Kentucky Arts Council executive director is named". WKYT. March 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Wolf, Stephanie (January 26, 2021). "Ky. Arts Council Presents Governor's Awards to Artists, Arts Organizations". WKMS.
  14. ^ a b Wells, Hagan (May 20, 2021). "Kentucky to receive over $3.6 million in tourism and arts funding". WTVQ.