Showcasing the Arts

YouTube video - Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
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2016 Governor's Awards in the Arts:
Government Award



Frankfort, Ky.



Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of HearingCaption for photo

The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing produces the biennial DeaFestival-Kentucky, a daylong celebration of deaf culture, language and art. The festival began in 1996 with the first DeaFestival-Kentucky in Danville on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Deaf with about 3,000 in attendance. In the 20 years since that inaugural festival, DeaFestival-Kentucky has grown to an event that has hosted as many as 13,000 people, and is known nationally for the spotlight it puts on visual and performing artists who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Mission of DeaFestival-Kentucky is to educate the community as a whole — teachers, parents and others that impact the lives of deaf and hard of hearing children in particular — about a deaf or hard of hearing person’s ability rather than their disability.

For the past two editions of DeaFestival ('14 and '16) the commission has collaborated with Lexington Children’s Theatre, developing a concept and script for the DeaFestival Children’s Program, a collaboration which has contributed to a broadening of understanding of this diverse culture for each person involved in planning. DeaFestival has encouraged the participation of deaf and hard of hearing visual artists. In 2016, DeaFestival provided contest-based incentives for visitors to purchase work by the many deaf and hard of hearing artists who exhibited at the event.

In addition to providing a venue for nationally and internationally known deaf visual and performing artists, DeaFestival gives deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians a day immersed in their culture, with examples of the best in performance and visual art. It has inspired many young deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians to pursue the arts as a profession, and allowed their parents to see this as a viable option for a careeR. DeaFestival-Kentucky demonstrated that there are no limits to what people with a hearing loss can accomplish.




Page last updated: October 24, 2016
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