LEXINGTON, Ky. — From Wednesday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 12, Appalshop is hosting a “Real-Time Re-creation of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 Tour of Eastern Kentucky” and “Art & Democracy,” a national gathering of artists and activists.

The tour begins in Lexington, Kentucky. The motorcade will carry you into the mountains — through small coal mining towns, to hearings on poverty (considering social issues then and now).

The Kennedy Tour and the gathering of artists and activists overlap during a “moment in history,” Saturday, Sept. 11, when the Art & Democracy gathering begins at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Ky., and continues on through Sunday, Sept. 12.

“At certain moments in history, an idea catches on that transforms how social change is thought about, discussed and practiced,” organizers said. “The energy produced in these settings is so dynamic that we here at Appalshop — through the Kennedy Performance Project and the American Festival Project — want to capture that energy and carry it on.”

Both Appalshop events — the Kennedy Tour, which has been three years in the making, and the Art & Democracy National Gathering — will provide an opportunity for ordinary citizens to “get into the act” by speaking out in order build democracy from the grassroots up.

The planning for the Art & Democracy meeting is on the drawing board. It includes art works, exchanges of creative processes, community art case studies, as well as sessions on how we relate to changing demographics and social policy, contribute to historic memory, and assist young people who will carry it on.

“Realizing that it is the young people in our nation who will carry on the pursuit of democracy and that ‘who’ attends the gathering will be as important as ‘what’ takes place, we have agreed to especially encourage the attendance of people under 30 years of age,” organizers stressed.

Pre-registration for the Art & Democracy gathering is $30. (Registration at the door will be $50.) Make checks payable to The American Festival Project. No credit cards accepted for pre-registration. Included in the registration fee will be a ticket to the Performance Cabaret on Sept. 11 at the Courthouse Café in downtown Whitesburg. If you want to attend the Art & Democracy gathering and want more information or if you are interested in learning more about scholarship assistance, please contact mkenny@appalshop.org.

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