The Kentuck Art Center is one of 262 recipients of a Challenge America $10,000 grant provided by the National Endowment for the Arts that will benefit youth in Tuscaloosa County.

According to a release from the nonprofit, the grant will support Kentuck’s Boxes of Joy, a program that provides art supply kits and additional arts instruction to youth in Tuscaloosa and Northport who are considered economically disadvantaged or incarcerated.

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The NEA Challenge America awards will distribute $2.6 million as part of the first round of grants for 2023, according to the release.

The release states through the funding, the center will partner with several local organizations, including the Northport Housing Authority, Tuscaloosa One Place Extended Day Program at Matthews Elementary and the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center to provide art kits to over 200 youth between the ages of five and 21.

NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. said in the release the organization is proud to provide funding and support to art programs throughout the nation, including Kentuck's project.

"Projects such as this one with Kentuck Art Center strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy," Jackson said.

Amy Echols, executive director for the Kentuck Art Center, said the board of directors and staff members "are excited to continue and expand Boxes of Joy."

"Kentuck is grateful for such wonderful partnering organizations in our community and we’re looking forward to improving accessibility to the arts for our youth," Echols said.

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