The National Society of Arts and Letters


In 1948, just four years after the national organization was born, Mrs. Augustus Thomas, esteemed historian, founded the Kentucky Chapter. She realized that the new society would become a vital resource for young Kentucky artists.

In the past five decades the Kentucky Chapter sponsored artistic competitions, and showcases. awards and grants have been presented throughout Kentucky. Dedicated NSAL members serve as active arts advocates, encouraging gifted young artists, promoting art appreciation and cultural community development throughout Central Kentucky.

The Kentucky Chapter has had the privilege to host the National Conference four times in Lexington: in 1961, 1972, 1993 and most recently in 2003.

Mrs. Courtney Ellis, two times past president of the Kentucky Chapter, was elected to serve as the 21st President of tne National Society. Fellow Kentuckians, James E. Seidelman and Dr. Claude Trapp, served with her on the National Board as Corresponding Secretary and Credentials Chair.

Lucille Caudill Little and Mary Evelyn Rogers proposed a new award to recognize outstanding Senior High School students who excel in the creative arts. The engraved Jefferson Cup and recognition certificates have become highly coveted awards since they were first presented in 1986 in Lexington area high schools. In recent years the program has been extended to reach the schools in the outer Bluegrass region and beyond.

Michael Fitzpatrick, Kentucky's 1992 cello contest winner, was lauded as the most outstanding musician at the International Music Festival in Spoletto, Italy, and presented the "Prince Charles Award" by Maestre Gian Carlo Menotti and the British Ambassador in the summer of 1994.

"The Lucille Caudill Little Scholarship Endowment" was established by Kentucky Chapter member Lucille Little in 1995 to provide yearly scholarship awards to aspiring young artists.

Maria Berman, 1995 Modern Dance contestant, was an overwhelming first place winner and advanced to the National Conference competition, capturing the second place $7,000 scholarship.

The University of Kentucky School of Music, in a first time effort between NSAL Kentucky and an art education institution co-sponsored the 1997 vocal career competiton. Daniel T. Koehn of Kentucky went on to win a fourth place recognition in the national competition in Birmingham, Alabama.

Also in 1997, Kentucky's First Lady, Mrs. Paul Patton, graciously accepted honorary membership in the Kentucky Chapter. Her participation and interest are a wonderful endorsement of the society's mission and work.

Nearly 300 talented young artists were featured in a spectacular "Showcase of Artistic Excellence" celebrating the Kentucky Chapter's 50th year in February of 1998.

Marilyn Moosnick was chosen to receive NSAL Kentucky's Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless work to promote artists and further art appreciation and education.

All artistic talent must be nurtured and carefully guided by dedicated professional teachers, to fully develop. To honor the work of these dedicated men and women, NSAL Kentucky established the "Outstanding Art Educator Award" in 1998.

For the past 60 years, Kentucky members of the National Society have worked diligently to advance promising young artists, to promote art appreciation and education, and to aid in cultural community development. Together we pledge to continue this effort, on behalf of artists and their art.