Showcasing the Arts
2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts award

The 2020 Governor's Awards in the Arts are made by Hopkinsville artist Willie Rascoe from reclaimed cherry wood.


2020 Governor’s Awards in the Arts:

Government Award

City of Somerset

Pulaski County

When Somerset Mayor Alan Keck began his term in January 2019, he did so with a goal of promoting tourism, downtown revitalization and culture. His vision was to include the arts in every component of that plan, producing quarterly community festivals built around music, food and visual arts. Local business and organizations have embraced that vision, with retail shops featuring locally made art and creatively updating their storefronts to make downtown an attractive destination for residents and visitors. Local artist and poet Jeremy “Scrim” Scrimager says that Mayor Keck and the city government staff have propped up artists, writers, culinary experts, musicians and actors to showcase Somerset’s artistic footprint in the region and across the state.

What does this distinction mean to Somerset?

Receiving a Governor’s Award in the Arts is an incredible honor, not only for our city government but for every artist, musician, writer, poet, actor and creator who helps our community thrive through their talent. They are the ones who deserve credit, because they make our story so beautiful and unique. We cherish the blood, sweat and tears they put into their work, and we are grateful for their willingness to share it through the city’s initiatives as we make Somerset a place for all generations.

Why are the arts important to the city?

The arts are a cornerstone of Somerset’s story, of who we are as a community and who we want to be as we evolve. The arts have a long history of building and strengthening communities. Whether visual art, literature, music or theater, these genres bring people together to celebrate their heritage and share their stories, enriching lives and fostering community. Enhancing quality of life through the arts is essential in creating a significant generational impact in our community, which is our ultimate goal. Not only are we promoting art and culture from within, but we are endeavoring to welcome more of it.

What is the most prominent example of the city leveraging its creativity and community of artists to the benefit of its residents?

The most prominent and influential example is one of the first initiatives undertaken during Mayor Keck’s first term—creating a new brand for the city that embraced arts and culture and invited local artists into the process. Every initiative the city undertakes is now viewed from the lens of how Somerset embraces the influence it absorbs from all four corners of the state to build community and enhance culture, with the arts as an essential component. In addition to creating four new festivals downtown that all feature local food, music and art, murals telling stories of Somerset’s heritage and culture now dot the city’s downtown landscape. Retail shops and restaurants displaying and celebrating local art and entertainment have opened downtown. The city’s new indoor-outdoor market offers a space for farmers, artists and craftspeople to promote and sell their products. And the city’s new health initiative, Healthy Somerset, embraces art as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle physically, mentally and spiritually.


Page last updated: December 11, 2020
Report a broken link.