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Gail Butler Selected for Performing Arts Initiatives

Gail Butler, Director of Clemens Fine Arts CenterClemens Fine Arts Center Director, Gail Robinson-Butler, has been selected to participate in two regional performing art initiatives and as a juror for the Kentucky Arts Council Performing Arts Directory.

Butler is one of twelve art presenters and artists from a nine-state region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee) to participate in a two-day learning exchange workshop sponsored by Alternate Roots and South Arts on July 16-17 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The Learning Exchange workshop is designed to establish best practices to create sustainable partnerships with local and regional artists and non-profit organizations.

I am honored to be selected to help performing arts centers successfully present this important art form to their audiences, Butler said.

Butler has established partnerships with many non-profit organizations. One partnership was formed in 2002, when the Clemens Fine Arts Center was selected as one of three pilot sites for the ArtsReach Kentucky, which works with the Paducah Parks Services, the Paducah Housing Authority, and the Abraham Hall Transformation Arts Meets Justice, and Paducah artists to teach childrens theatre, puppetry, paper making, animation, music, and dance to area youth.

WKCTCs One Book, One Campus, One Community Read project is another collaborative effort between the Clemens Center and community organizations to promote literacy in Kentucky. This years One Book selection is David Baldaccis Wish You Well.

Butler was also selected by Dance USA and South Arts to be one in eleven mentors to participate in a three year South Arts Dance Initiative. Dance is one of the oldest performing art forms but is under-presented in many communities across the state of Kentucky. Butler has worked hard for 17 years to make sure audiences in the region have access to high quality dance performances. Butler will mentor Moira Logan, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Memphis, TN. Dance USA and South Arts recognized the need for participants to expand their professional network while engaging in a supportive environment of learning, Butler said. She was selected as a mentor based on her knowledge and expertise as a dance presenter as well as her participation in the National Presenters Leadership Forum at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts in 2002.

This initiative is trying to change the fact that dance is under-presented, said Butler. Dance is one of my passions and thats why Im so excited about being a part of this project.

Both performing arts initiatives are made possible through support of the National Endowment of the Arts.

This summer Butler was chosen as one of four jurors from Kentucky to serve on a panel for the Kentucky Arts Council (KAC) in Frankfort, KY. The panel was responsible for selecting performing artists who would be listed in the 2010-11 Kentucky Arts Council Performing Arts Directory and consisted of performing art presenters, educators, and artists. The KAC Performing Arts Directory is a valuable tool for artists and presenters. The opportunity for artists to be booked is greater and presenters who book the artists are also eligible for grants from the Kentucky Arts Council.

In my mind, this is one of the most important panels to serve on because it gives Kentucky artists more opportunities to perform throughout the state, Butler said.

Butler became the director of the Clemens Fine Arts Center in 1993 and has presented a form of dance to audiences every year, including Ailey II (twice), Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular, and this seasons, Rhythmic Circus: Feet Dont Fail Me Now, which opens the season on October 23.

For more information about the Clemens Fine Arts Center, visit www.artsinfocus.org.