Breanna Burkhead, 17, of Lancaster, Kentucky, a member of Garrard County 4-H and a senior at Garrard County High School, played a leading role in purchasing and renovating an historic building in her small, rural community to serve as a new permanent arts center. As a member of her 4-H group’s arts club, Breanna knew that her town’s existing arts center was being evicted from its home and that its future was uncertain. “I learned that the local art council was at a crossroads trying to figure out what they could do to keep art alive in our county,” she said. “I decided I wanted to be a part of this discussion and future decisions for arts in my community.”
Breanna began investigating possible solutions and then presented her findings to the art council, urging the group to purchase a 3,000-square-foot vacant building in town. After the council voted to follow Breanna’s recommendation, she was invited to serve on its board of directors. She then prepared a PowerPoint presentation to apply for grants, solicited donations from community members and participated in several fundraisers. Once funding was secured and the building purchased, Breanna spent many hours cleaning out and renovating the structure, and loading in arts supplies and equipment. She was given the honor of cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the new center, which now features two classrooms, an art gallery, six working artist studios and a giftshop. “It is with a sense of pride that I know the arts will have a permanent place in our community for generations to come,” she said.