After receiving a $273,000 grant earmarked for the highly-acclaimed community play Higher Ground, performances will now take place in four different locations across the county in September and October.
“This grant was given to the Southeast Education Foundation to do a new play, but also to look at a way to use the arts to increase the vibrancy of the community,” said Robert Gipe, director of the SKCTC Appalachian Program and humanities professor. “Our proposal was to put together a new Higher Ground play and perform it in four locations around the county. Those locations will include the Lynch Social Club on Sept. 22-23, an outdoor performance at Pine Mountain Settlement School on Sept. 28-29, the old Evarts High School gymnasium on Oct. 12-13 and the Harlan County Courthouse in the old circuit courtroom on Oct. 19-20.”
Gipe said in conjunction with the Higher Ground play, a major art exhibit is being planned with a “Where I’m From” theme.
“The visual arts exhibit will be based on poems written in the style of George Ella Lyon’s ‘Where I’m From’ poem,” said Gipe. “Lyon was born and raised in Harlan County — now living in Lexington. Her poem has become a writing prompt for poets around the world and is an international phenomenon. The poem is about her growing up in Harlan County.”
Gipe said he is now using the “Where I’m From” writing prompt in one of his classes at SKCTC. He said Professor Carlton Hughes has also begun using the theme in his photography classes at Harlan County High School.
“We’re going to try and expand out on the “Where I’m From” theme, connecting tourism and community development,” said Gipe. “The art exhibit will accompany all the Higher Ground performances. We’re welcoming photographs, paintings and drawings on the ‘Where I’m From’ theme, but we’d love for anyone who wishes to participate to do so.”
Gipe said SKCTC hopes to offer, and now has classes for college credit, on their summer schedule to work on the “Where I’m From” exhibit.
“We’ll look at what comes in for the exhibit and shape it to our needs, taking into consideration the travel which will be involved,” said Gipe. “I think this is great and I think it’s going to be a great tie-in with the Higher Grounds scripts. It’s very exciting to have a chance to celebrate the “Where I’m From” poem, which has had an international impact, in the hometown of the poet who wrote it. We’re looking forward to what people will come up with. We’re always excited to see the creativity of the people in the community.”
Anyone interested in participating in the exhibit may contact Gipe at 589-3130 or email at email@example.com.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org