Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 13, 2007

Greenup arts program 2nd in state

Extension agent will bring events to schools

By MIKE JAMES

GREENUP — When most people think of an extension agent, they think of someone who can offer advice about the right kind of soil to grow corn in, or the best way to can green beans.

Cora Hughes is a different kind of agent.

She knows a lot about opera and theater but not much about tractors and crops.

The University of Kentucky recently created a fine arts extension program in Greenup County, the second such program in the state. The first is in Pike County, which was the first in the country.

Originally from Floyd County, Hughes will be liaison and coordinator for arts with schools, artisans and arts councils, she said.

She already has started working with schools and creating new programs.

For instance, she’s arranged for appearances Monday at Wurtland Middle School and Raceland-Worthington High School of the UK Opera Theater Education Outreach.

Hughes is working to bring in programs for school arts and humanities studies, including artists from UK, whom she says are excited to be working in schools in Northeast Kentucky.

She is in discussions with the Jesse Stuart Foundation to produce a play based on Stuart. The goal is to have it ready for production at the Greenbo Lake amphitheater next fall.

Countywide choruses for children and adults are in the planning stages, too.

“She’s been here a few weeks and jumped in with both feet and gotten involved with our cultural arts center, said Anne Stephens, arts director at Raceland-Worthington High School.

“Her love for the arts is going to spill over through the community,” Stephens said.

Hughes’ extensive network of colleagues in the arts “will extend the arts community we have in this area,” Stephens said.

Hughes taught music in Fayette and Bourbon counties for 28 years and spent four years as coordinator of the UK opera theater program.

The Pike County program, now known as Pike Arts, has earned a Governor’s Award in the Arts since launching two years ago.

The fine arts extension program was the brainchild of the late Dr. Larry Turner and dean of fine arts Robert Shay, Hughes said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2652.