GSA’s Toyota Alumni Fund Recipient Creates Change, Continues GSA’s Mission
Alex Francke - Kentucky Center Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) Class of 2013, Drama - became the founder and director of a nonprofit before even stepping foot into her freshman orientation at the University of Kentucky.
Franke was the recipient of a GSA Toyota Alumni Fund grant which offered financial support for her pursuit of professional development opportunities and community based projects.
“I was ecstatic to receive the Toyota Alumni Fund grant because it allowed me to apply for and receive 501(c)3 status, copyright our curriculum, and set up experience-based field trips for our students in the Lexington area” said Alex.
After attending GSA in 2013, and realizing that many of her classmates came from schools that didn’t have arts programming, Alex started Adopt an Art. Now she and her roster of Arts Ambassadors provide art classes and lessons to thirty-five students at Mary Todd Elementary. With an eye toward creating, testing and revising a stand-out curriculum that works, Alex is looking to expand and share her resources with more Kentucky schools.
Alex’s story is GSA’s story—a story of exchanging energy and sharing gifts. What started as one student attending GSA’s three-week summer residency program has now blossomed into a growth opportunity for Alex in her development as a civic leader and also teaching opportunities for other GSA alumni who now volunteer with Adopt an Art.
The spark that started with Alex's GSA experience now illuminates the lives of elementary school students who benefit from hands-on arts activities in the present day and may one day apply to GSA, or even apply for a Toyota Alumni Fund Grant, carrying on the tradition of artistic excellence and community involvement.
What was one experience at GSA that you took away and implemented into Adopt an Art?
Alex: "At GSA, one of the most important lessons I learned was to respect everyone for their art and make sure everyone in the group knows that it is a safe place to experiment and try new things while being able to ask for honest feedback and constructive criticism, but still feeling super loved and encouraged in the process. GSA was a safe haven for people and their art. I made this one of the founding principles of Adopt an Art, and each one of our students can tell you that our number one rule in class is respect, and number two is encouragement. No student should ever feel afraid to be themselves or try new things because of what their peers will think of them. All of our students know Adopt an Art is a safe place to be who they want to be and to find out what they're passionate about. "
As a Freshman at the University of Kentucky, describe your interests in addition to running Adopt an Art?
Alex: "Outside of Adopt an Art, I've worked really hard to get involved on campus at the University of Kentucky in a plethora of organizations. I am currently a Business Management major with minors in International Business and Chinese. I was accepted into the Leadership Development Project (LDP) as one of forty top freshman that will get to spend this year working closely with campus organizations to make an impact not only on the student body, but on the Lexington community as well. In addition to LDP, I joined Alpha Delta Pi sorority and have been fundraising with them for the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington. I plan on participating in DanceBlue this spring, a 24 hour dance marathon to raise money for the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology clinic at UK. This spring break, I will be traveling to Salinas, California to work with Immigration and New Americans. Hopefully, this summer you'll see me on the Singletary Center stage competing to be Miss Kentucky, as well. In my spare time I enjoy playing with cats and hanging at coffee shops!"