"One of the things the arts council does is promote artists," she said. "This seemed like a good way to start. ... It's a first step toward promoting artists."
The arts council is about 11?2 years old. Jean Turner, a retired teacher who co-directors the Garrard County Arts Council with Kristin Long, said, "There's a lot of talent in this room that was having to go to other places. The educator in me wants to see our kids understand the importance of the arts."
The mission statement of the organization reads, "Garrard County Arts Council exists to develop, enhance and advance the education of children and support all those in the performing, visual and literary arts, their various arts groups, educational institutions, county tourism and heritage organizations."
Turner said the arts council hopes to start a community theater that will perform historical musicals in the summer, citing the summer plays in Bardstown as a model. She added Harriet Beecher Stowe had a connection to Garrard County that could provide substance for a historical theatrical work.
A number of activities are in the works that will be sponsored by the arts council as well as raise funds:
* A Christmas event called "Victorian Christmas Mystery Tea," which will be held at 2 p.m. Dec. 5 in Hammonds Hall Bed and Breakfast, 216 W. Maple Ave. The event will be hosted by Turner and writer-artist Bobbie Gayle Lewis, who is penning the murder-mystery. Cost is $30 per person, which includes the murder-mystery and a Victorian Christmas Tea. Reservations are required; call (859) 792-6632.
* A Student Gallery Hop set for 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 13 at Hammonds Hall Bed and Breakfast, and Salter House. The event is free, and the students' artwork will be for sale. "It was real successful last year," Turner said.
* "Come Sit A Spell": Old chairs from the Owsley House were distributed to visual artists, who are going to paint them. Those chairs will be turned in by May and auctioned in June, with proceeds going to both the GCAC and the Owsley House. The auction will be a two-evening event: The first evening will be a ticketed wine and cheese tasting preview party; the second evening, more of a family affair. Rep. Lonnie Napier will auction the chairs.
* The arts council is selling bricks from the downtown Firestone building in an "Own a Piece of History" venture. Painted bricks also are available for a slightly higher price.
* Mural project: These are planned paintings of historical Garrard County that will be on the walls surrounding the Grand Theatre. This event will begin in the spring. Local artist James L. Crow, who has done equestrian portraits for royalty and is creating brochures for the upcoming Equestrian Games in Lexington, will help with this project by designing the murals.
* A banner contest, which will be a showcase of work in seasonal themes by local students that will be displayed on the square.
Other future plans include creating an online arts calendar as well as a quarterly newsletter; doing a progressive dinner at various artists' studios; finding a permanent home; and doing a "Dinner with the Arts," with catered meal featuring artistic entertainment.
For more information about the Garrard County Arts Council, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (859) 792-1712 or 792-6632.