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Art Center Launches Collaboration with Regional Libraries

December 29, 2020

This winter, the Art Center of the Bluegrass is joining forces with Boyle County Public Library, Mercer County Public Library, and Lincoln County Public Library to create free take-home craft kits for adults and families. Starting in January, library patrons can visit their local library to pick up a monthly craft kit, accompanied by a video tutorial.

The collaboration started at the Boyle County Public Library with their popular “crafting for keeps” program. Caleb Conover, Public Services Librarian, explains that, while the Boyle County Public Library typically offers a variety of programs for adults, some of their most popular have been hands-on crafts – the most recent iteration being Crafting for Keeps.

Conover says, “When the pandemic hit, we adapted it as a take-and-make kit opportunity (currently taking the library world by storm), in the guise of Crafting for Keeps: Home Edition.”

The Art Center of the Bluegrass saw the Crafting for Keeps program as the perfect opportunity to collaborate, says Executive Director Niki Kinkade. “Both our organizations had the same goal in mind – to connect with people during the pandemic and provide them with resources to stay creative.” The library and the Art Center quickly established a working partnership, wherein the Art Center would create the art kits and a video tutorial, while the library would fund the supplies and take the lead on distributing them.

Then the idea grew. “As a regional organization, we serve the entire southern bluegrass,” explains Kinkade. “We thought – if Boyle County has a program like this, what about the other libraries in the area?” It didn’t take long to recruit more partners.

Amanda Wheeler is the Children’s and Teen Services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She says that COVID has impacted the way they offer programs at her library, limiting their ability to host in-person programs. “We are so excited to be able to partner with the Art Center of the Bluegrass as well as the Boyle and Mercer County libraries on the Crafting for Keeps program. This program is unique because we are able to bring great art projects to our community and we can feel a sense of togetherness because we know that our friends in Boyle and Mercer Counties are doing the same projects that we are. These art projects align well with our mission of lifelong learning here at the library and we hope that everyone learns something new.”

Kinkade says that, in a time of limited resources, collaboration is key. “Working together allows everyone to do more by leveraging their unique talents and resources towards a shared goal. For example, our friends at the Mercer County Public Library have video editing equipment so they are going to help us film the project tutorials.”

Tracy Mundy, Adult and Teen Program Coordinator at the Mercer County Public Library says, “We are so excited to join the Art Center and other local libraries in this regional project to bring a little cheer to the new year as we all do our part to protect each other. We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide virtual programing using technology we acquired as part of a CARES grant provided through Kentucky Humanities.”

The January project is a cross-stitch snowflake kit, followed by painted heart magnets in February, and a paper quilt collage in March.