honored for contribution to arts
By Walt Reichert/Sentinel-News Staff Writer Sherry Jelsma
is now one of "Seven Sisters of the Arts."
The Shelby Country resident was one of seven honored by the Pleiades Theater Company
for their lifelong contributions to the arts in a "Salute to Seven Sisters Celebration" in Louisville last Thursday.The Pleiades Theater Company
, a theater described as "by women and about women, but for everyone," chose the women for their contributions to art, theater, music and art education.
"I'm glad for this honor so Shelby County can get credit for anything we can," Jelsma
said.Jelsma, a former arts educator who taught in Jefferson County, was honored for her service as the first secretary of the Kentucky Education, Arts and Humanities Cabinet, including the Arts Council, Craft Marketing Program, KET and Governor's School for the Arts.She
served under former Gov.Brereton Jones.As the cabinet's secretary, Jelsma pushed the marketing of crafts in the state to boost the economies of counties in the Appalachian region of the state.She
worked to get Kentucky-made crafts into the gift shops at the state's parks and into other retail outlets.
"Kentucky crafts are one thing that is truly income-producing," Jelsma
said."We worked to get the artists to create things people would buy."Jelsma has also served as interim president and CEO of the Kentucky Center, past president of the Kentucky Opera Board, has served on the Jefferson County School Board and is currently chair of the Speed Art Museum board.In Shelby County, Jelsma is president of the Historical Society and chair of the Shelby Development Corporation Foundation.
The arts, Jelsma
said, are often ignored and sometimes cut when budgets get tight.But they are critical to the educational process, she
"Arts open the door to education.With the arts, children learn they have the ability to solve problems, and that's what we need in life," Jelsma
said."With all of this information around us, we need to learn creativity."
The arts, Jelsma
said, are also good for business.
"The interest in arts and crafts are just amazing," she
said."If we pull together enough cultural resources you create a critical mass that drives economic development."Jelsma said the county has a wealth of cultural resources, including downtown architecture, Arts on Main, the Historical Society and the Shelby County Community Theatre, that often go under-appreciated.
"Arts are the heart and soul of the community," Jelsma