Presented by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and Appalachians for Appalachia
September 29 – October 1, 2022: Hazard, Kentucky
The Appalachian Big Ideas Festival is a three-day experience of insightful storytelling, arts and culture, and community building in Hazard, KY.
Join us in one of the most exciting cities in Appalachian Kentucky to hear from national and local thought leaders, see artists create in real time, and enjoy some of the best cuisine Appalachia has to offer!
Schedule of Events
Appalachian Kentucky is a hotbed for creativity, artists, inspiration, and innovative ideas. During the Festival, we will be exploring the future of affordable housing, entrepreneurship, resilient design, disaster preparedness, community safety, local food and sustainable agriculture, arts and culture, racial equity, local leadership development, and the BIG IDEAS moving our region forward!
Thursday, September 29, 2022
2:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Rapid Response Funders Tour
Funders Tour of Flood Relief Efforts and Community Solutions sponsored by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, Appalachia Funders Network, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Mountain Association. Funders will meet to depart on the tour at the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky with transportation provided (420 Main Street).*
Download the Funders Tour flyer here.
Friday, September 30, 2022
9:00a.m. Registration Opens at the ArtStation (612 Main Street)
9:30a.m. Welcome to the Festival at the ArtStation (612 Main Street)
9:45a.m. – 10:45a.m. Community Conversations 1
Local Food and Sustainable Agriculture with Community Farm Alliance and Northfork Local Foods; Old Hazard Court House (481 Main Street)
Building Hope: Affordable Housing and Addiction Recovery with Housing Development Alliance, H.O.M.E.S., Inc, and Volunteers of America; City Hall (700 Main Street)
11:00a.m. – 12:30 a.m. Opening Keynote: Appalachian Writers Roundtable at the ArtStation (655 Main Street)
Appalachian Writers Roundtable featuring Neema Avashia, Ashley Blooms, Crystal Good, Carter Sickels and Robert Gipe at the ArtStation (612 Main Street)
12:30 – 1:30p.m. Local Food Truck & Restaurant Dine Around
Find a friend and enjoy one of Hazard’s local restaurants or food trucks. A list will be made available.
1:00p.m. – 1:30p.m. Artist-in-Residence Talk: Kellene Turner
Live public mural making will be taking place during the Festival downtown on the Appalachian Apparel building across from the Art Station. Swing by to hear our Artist-in-Residence Kellene Turner talk about her process.
1:30p.m. – 2:30p.m. Community Conversations 2
Resilient Entrepreneurship in Appalachia’s New Economy with Invest 606 and the Appalachian Impact Fund; Old Hazard Court House (481 Main Street)
Adaptable Design with InVision Hazard, Environmental Defense Fund, Studio Appalachia; City Hall (700 Main Street)
2:30p.m. – 3:00p.m. Networking Break with Live Music provided by the Appalachian Arts Alliance
3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Community Conversations 3
Healing Through Story and Art Workshop with Angelyn DeBord; Old Hazard Court House (481 Main Street)
This special session will provide healing space for people to process recent flood-related and other kinds of traumas, learn strategies for self-reflection, and share space with each other. Express and process your experiences through sharing stories and engaging in tearing up and rebuilding images through collage. Session will be led by professional storyteller, visual artist and licensed professional counselor, Angelyn DeBord.
Appalachia’s Investment Ecosystem with Appalachian Impact Fund and Invest Appalachia; City Hall (700 Main Street)
4:15p.m. – 5:15p.m. Community Conversations 4
Artists as First Responders with Appalshop, EKY Mutual Aid, Hemphill Community Center, and Hindman Settlement School; Old Hazard Court House (481 Main Street)
Building Locally Controlled Philanthropy with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky; City Hall (700 Main Street)
5:15 – 6:15p.m. Happy Hour Break
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Evening Keynote Performance: Reginald Dewayne Betts
Our Evening Keynote Performance of Reginald Dewayne Betts’s Felon: An American Washi Tale followed by a book signing at The Hazard Forum (101 Bulldog Ln). A limited number of shuttles will be available for out of town guests and funders not familiar with Hazard. Buses will be departing from The Art Station at 6:10p.m.
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Pig Picking’ Supper and Square Dance Presented by Fund for the Arts**
Pig Picking Supper by Chef Kristin Smith and the Wrigley Taproom with Chefs Wayne Riley and Travis Milton. Live Music and Square Dancing presented by the Hindman Settlement School at the ArtStation (612 Main Street).**
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Community Concert
Community concert featuring Caleb Bailey & The Bottom Dollars and Nick Jamerson & the Morning Jays at the Bill and Betty Morton Amphitheater next to City Hall (700 Main Street).
Saturday, October 1, 2022
8:00a.m. – 9:45a.m. Breakfast at the Perry County Farmers Market
Breakfast burritos (meat, vegetarian, and gf options) and baked goods (gf options) available at the market for purchase.
9:30a.m. – 10:00a.m. Morning Reception for the Lige Clarke Liberation Fund and Check Presentations at the ArtStation (612 Main Street)
Join us for a reception in celebration of the Lige Clarke Liberation Fund, the first of its kind LGBTQ+ directed fund serving Eastern Kentucky. There will be complimentary mimosas and a check presentation ceremony for the first Lige Clarke Liberation Fund grantees, Holliday Farms and Pikeville Pride.
10:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. Keynote Reflection and Film Screening
Filmaker Sylvia Ryerson will present an exclusive advanced screening of “Calls From Home”, a documentary film about prisons, family, and the ties that bind. The film will be followed by a roundtable discussion with a panel of leading thinkers in the Appalachian justice movement, exploring themes from the film and Friday keynote performance, including the human costs of incarceration, how prisons and jails are interwoven with Appalachian economies, and visions for safer communities.Taking place at the The Northfork Inn (492 Main Street).
12:00p.m. – 1:00p.m. Picnic Lunch with CANE Kitchen and The Lee Initiative Presented by Fund for the Arts**
A special culinary collaboration between the Whitesburg’s CANE Kitchen and The Lee Initiative. This picnic lunch will feature local producers and traditions. Boxes can be picked up at the ArtStation (612 Main Street).**
12:30p.m. – 2:00p.m. People Ready Communities: Queer Kentucky Workplace Workshop
Queer Kentucky is presenting their Queer-Inclusive Workplace Workshop for companies, institutions, and organizations. Join to learn more about how you can make your place of work more welcoming, supportive, and inclusive for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Taking place at The North Fork Inn (492 Main Street).
1:00 – 2:00p.m. Closing Strategy Circle*
Closing strategy circle for community leaders, donors, and funders. Taking place at the ArtStation (612 Main Street).*
2:15- 4:00p.m. Closing Keynote: Ada Limón & Crystal Wilkinson featuring the music of Joan Brannon and Larah Helayne
Closing Keynote by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón & Kentucky State Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson with music provided by Joan Brannon and Larah Helayne at the The Hazard Forum (101 Bulldog Ln).
All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:
*Denotes Invite-Only Events
**Denotes Paid Meals for which a Vittles Ticket is required. Please note that there are other options for meals at local restaurants and food trucks around town participants can enjoy on their own.
Reginald Dwayne Betts
Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and lawyer. A 2021 MacArthur Fellow, he is the Executive Director of Freedom Reads, a not-for-profit organization that is radically transforming the access to literature in prisons through the installation of Freedom Libraries in prisons across this country.
For more than twenty-years, he has used his poetry and essays to explore the world of prison and the effects of violence and incarceration on American society. The author of a memoir and three collections of poetry, he has transformed his latest collection of poetry, the American Book Award winning Felon, into a solo theater show that explores the post incarceration experience and lingering consequences of a criminal record through poetry, stories, and engaging with the timeless and transcendental art of paper-making.
In 2019, Betts won the National Magazine Award in the Essays and Criticism category for his NY Times Magazine essay that chronicles his journey from prison to becoming a licensed attorney. He has been awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emerson Fellow at New America, and most recently a Civil Society Fellow at Aspen. Betts holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in the Oxford American and Southern Cultures.
Crystal identifies as a southern, feminist fiction writer, and grew up in the hills of Kentucky. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program. She is a 2020 USA Artist Fellowship Recipient, and makes her home in Lexington, KY. In 2021, Crystal was named the Poet Laureate for Kentucky.
Ada Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her book Bright Dead Things was nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her work has been supported most recently by a Guggenheim Fellowship. She grew up in Sonoma, California and now lives in Lexington, Kentucky where she writes, teaches remotely, and hosts the critically-acclaimed poetry podcast, The Slowdown. Her new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind, is out now from Milkweed Editions. She is the 24th Poet Laureate of The United States.
Registration – FREE!
Our registration portal is now closed. All public events are free and open to the public so… just show up! We’ll see you there!
Vittles Package – $50 – SOLD OUT!!!
While public programming is free, we will have 2 very special curated meals- don’t miss out! Purchase a Vittles Package and enjoy a special Friday Night Pig Pickin’ & a Saturday Lunch. All meals will highlight Appalachian cuisine and be prepared by regional chefs using locally sourced farm products.
Funders Tickets – $250
These tickets are for major donors and foundation staff. Your ticket includes entry to all events, including the funders-only tour, meals, and a closing strategy circle.
Registration is now closed. If you are late to the party and would still like to purchase a Funder’s ticket, please contact contact Lora Smith.
If you’re coming from out of town, we have a block of rooms reserved at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Hazard for September 29, 2022 through October 1, 2022.
Would you like to Sponsor the Big Ideas Festival? Download our sponsorship information here and contact Lora Smith to secure your sponsorship today!
We are following state protocols and CDC recommendations to keep everyone safe and healthy. While there is no current mask mandate in Kentucky, we are asking that people bring masks to wear indoors. We will have hand sanitizer and masks available. Please note that for book signings, when participants will be close to authors, masks are required.
At registration we will be using a stoplight system to share how participants want to engage with others.
- Red will mean that members are wanting to keep their distance from others and appreciate others keeping their distance too.
- Yellow will mean that members are okay with talking, fist bumps, etc.
- Green will mean that members are okay with hugs, handshakes, and close proximity to others.
Keep in mind the following:
- We are asking all registrants to take an at home test within 24 hours of the event.
- We encourage any guests who are traveling by air to take a test before the flight as an extra precaution.
- Checklist for you to bring with you if possible:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Masks KN95 or N95
- Antigen rapid tests
- CDC self-check instructions.