Member Spotlight on The Kentucky Foundation for Women

During the month of March, GIA's photo banner features artists and projects sponsored by the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW). Founded as a private foundation in 1985 by writer Sallie Bingham, her founding gift of $10 million is one of the single largest endowments to any women's fund in the United States. KFW is celebrating thirty years of promoting positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts.

Bingham wrote in the Statement of a Vision for the Kentucky Foundation for Women (1998):

I believe the shortest—possibly the only—route to any form of social change is through the work of the artist: shapes, colors, sounds and words may upset prejudices, illumine what we share, and risk effrontery by calling every form of inequality into question….  Our first aim, then, is to put money directly into the hands of women who are using their art for social change.

Each year the Foundation awards $200,000 to feminist artists and allied organizations in Kentucky through the Artist Enrichment and Art Meets Activism grant programs.

In its first decade, the KFW was remarkable in that it told women in Kentucky that the art, the poetry, the music they created was valuable-- so valuable that the Foundation had been established to support financially and encourage female voices which had often been too quiet to be heard in our state. For many, it was the beginning of big dreams realized and significant change became possible. 

Ann Stewart Anderson, Director, 1991-1997

The Foundation also offers retreats and residencies at Hopscotch House, a retreat center that provides time and space for feminist social change artists, activists and allies to explore new ideas and artistic expressions, deepen their understanding of feminism and advance creative change.

I believe that KFW will always shine a light on the power of feminist artists to challenge stereotypes, celebrate women and girls and create a better future for Kentucky.  Feminist artists and activists will never stop creating new work that sparks discussions, challenges assumptions and inspires social change throughout our state.

Judi Jennings, Executive Director, 1998-2014

In celebration of its thirtieth year, KFW is developing an organizational history, revamping the web site and logo, adding an artist-guided residency opportunity, and offering a special grant to support the artists, activists, and organizations who have been at the forefront of creating feminist art for social change in Kentucky.

An innovative time in history is unfolding, when generations of feminists can join together to explore and expand the powerful influence that artists command. Our sisters are calling for deeper, authentic connections that lead to confidence in taking action that transforms our world… The future is ours! 

Sharon LaRue, Executive Director, 2014-present

Learn more about the Kentucky Foundation for Women and their grant programs.

You can also see all the images on our Photo Credits page.

KFW has been a GIA member since 1994.