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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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Coal miners in Kentucky have been an essential element to American growth and progress. These miners deserve to be honored and memorialized for their hard and sometimes dangerous jobs.

Joyce Minnick along with her husband Jim are donating a bronze sculpture to honor the coal miners.

Joyce was born and raised in Harlan County.

“My beloved grandfather, John W. Jump, was a coal miner. I never knew we were poor, living in those mountains was the happiest days of my young life,” stated Joyce.

A world-class sculptor and engraver, Joyce has been internationally recognized. Both she and her husband have been inducted into the prestigious Corporazione Italiana Coltellinai in Milan, Italy, as “maestros.”

She has always had it in her heart to donate through her art — a sculpture — honoring the coal miners in Kentucky. She used as her model her grandfather’s original coal mining equipment, given to her by her grandmother.

This has been a very emotional five-year journey for Joyce, and she is blessed to have it finally come to fruition. The bronze sculpture, including the granite and knotty-alder base with swivel pedestal, stands 57 1/2 inches high.

Jim and Joyce have donated much of the money toward production, having three donors and cousins help to cover the costs. The Harlan Center will pay for the plaque, which will hold no more than 100 names. Joyce has donated all her work.

Any Kentucky miner’s name and county may be inscribed on the plaque at the cost of $100 by check payable to the Harlan Center, 201 South Main Street, Harlan, KY 40831.

Forms are available at the Harlan Center, or can be mailed to those interested by calling the Harlan Center at 606-573-4495. The final closing date for the names collected will be April 15.

There will be a dedication ceremony held at 1 p.m. on May 20 at the Harlan Center. To RSVP, contact the Harlan Center.

Harlan Daily Enterprise


Prestonsburg, Ky. –The Original Front Porch Pickin’, one of the Mountain Arts Center’s (MAC) house productions, will return on Friday March 31 with Appalachian Wireless as the official sponsor of the popular regional show. Due to rising costs, last Fall the MAC began charging an admission at the door. With this official sponsorship, it will once again be free admission for everybody.   

MAC Assistant Director Shelly Crisp is thrilled about the new deal.

“We are extremely excited about this sponsorship that will enable us to continue this programming to our local musicians and patrons,” she said.

“Due to their generosity, we can offer it for free again. It shows that Appalachian Wireless is a valued member of our community.”

Appalachian Wireless Marketing Manager Ashley Litteral remarked that they were eager to help. 

“We wanted to do something to help offset the costs of such a great event for the people of Eastern Kentucky,” he said. “The music of our region is very much a part of the culture of Appalachia. We felt like this was a great way to help a lot of people enjoy this music."

Front Porch Pickin’ is an open-mic format that regularly hosts bluegrass, folk, acoustic, and gospel musicians. Members of the MAC house band lead groups of musicians and vocalists through old favorites and originals. Anybody that wants to get up on stage to sing or play, will need to show up early and write their name down along with the song they have chosen, on the sign-up sheet backstage.

The show will be Friday, March 31 at 7pm. Details will be released soon about more 2017 Front Porch Pickin’ dates. For more information call the Mountain Arts Center at 606-889-9125 or visit


The Mountain Arts Center is the premier performing arts venue in eastern Kentucky.  Located in the heart of the bloodline of the Country Music Highway, the facility features a 1,050-seat auditorium, conference/meeting facilities, instruction rooms and a state-of-the-art recording studio. Operations are through a partnership between the city of Prestonsburg, Ky. and Big Sandy Community & Technical College.  For more information, call 1-888-MAC-ARTS or visit


New Play Festival Writers

ACTC will raise the curtain April 7-9 for the fourth annual New Play Festival and Student Art Showcase.

Twelve new plays by ACTC students will be performed at 7 p.m. April 7 and 8 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9 in the J. B. Sowards Theater at the College Drive Campus.

The 12 scenes, monologues, short plays and one-act productions were written by ACTC students in a playwriting class taught last fall by Assistant English Professor Johnathan Joy. Some playwrights will also direct their own works. Other directors include ACTC faculty and Fairview High School students and faculty.

“I am very excited to see our students' work on stage,” said Joy, founder of the festival. “We have a lot of talented writers and artists on campus, and this event is such a great way to showcase their creativity. I hope folks come out to support them in this endeavor."

“Watching the student playwrights see their plays come to life on stage is my favorite part of the New Play Festival,” said Sarah Diamond Burroway, director of external relations at Ohio University Southern and festival coordinator. “

Mikaela McDonald, an ACTC student from Ashland, wrote a monologue called “When I See You Again,” which she will also direct. McDonald said the piece is from a larger work she wrote and takes place in a graveyard.

In the scene, the main character is, “talking to the headstone of his friend and reminiscing on their childhood, friendship and deep regrets as he realizes his death was completely avoidable, and completely his fault,” she said.

Sarah Diedrich of Wurtland wrote a monologue called “Writer’s Block,” which will be directed by ACTC Communications Professor Mary Shortridge. “I actually had writer's block when I wrote it, which is super ironic,” Diedrich said.

Noel McDavid from Grayson wrote a monologue of letters called “Starlit Healing,” which will be directed by Ashley Hacker of Portsmouth. “The play deals with homophobia, suicide, bullying and prejudice,” he said. “It was partially influenced last year’s mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, as well as personal experiences.”

Catlettsburg resident Erin Moore wrote a play called “How it is Really Done,” which will be directed by Fairview High School teacher Jim Maggard. "It’s a political satire about a general politician and their assistant trying to get a proposal written for a meeting,” Moore said.

“Stuck in Limbo,” written by Kelly Vance of Ashland and directed by Fairview student Carly Newsome, is about a young woman named Eileen, who wakes up in Limbo after ending up in a hospital after a car wreck.

“I've left the ending up to the interpretation of the viewer; whether she just went into a further part of Limbo, back into the mortal realm to awake in the hospital, or maybe she passed on into Heaven,” Vance said.

Other plays include “Lexington,” written by Robert Range and directed by Shortridge; “Afternoon Tango,” written by Janet Woodring and directed by Fairview student Shelby Tyler; “Judging by the Cover,” written and directed by Rebecca Burch of Wurtland; and “The Huxleys,” written and directed by Ashley Hacker of Ashland; “Beauty Underneath,” by Desiree Nation of Bardstown; and “The Shattered Home,” by Gary Brown of Ashland.

“ACTC Theatre is one of the few community theaters in Kentucky that has made a commitment to producing new work. As an alumna, this makes me proud,” Burroway said.

“Since the festival began, several ACTC playwrights have had plays accepted into the Kentucky New Play Series which is produced annually at the state fair,” she said. “ACTC playwrights have also had one-act plays and monologues produced by other theatres in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, New York and California.”
General admission tickets for the New Play Festival are $5 and available at the door.

Also, artwork by ACTC students in spring classes taught by Professor Wendy Fosterwelsh will be exhibited during the three days of the festival.
For more information, contact Joy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Burroway at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..