Grant for Moneta Sleet, Jr. festival approved


OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Daviess County Fiscal Court will award a $50,000 grant to support a festival honoring local photojournalist Moneta Sleet, Jr. This is only the third time in the past decade such a grant has been awarded.

“For 10 years, we’ve put $50,000 in the budget every year and asked that groups come forward and do something with the money that benefits the community as a whole,” explained Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.

The 2021 class of Leadership Owensboro unveiled a portrait of Moneta Sleet, Jr. in November at Max Rhoads Park in Owensboro.  The portrait, created by Artist K.O. Lewis, is rotating throughout the community leading up to the “Through Sleet’s Eyes” festival in 2023.

“Sara Hemingway, on behalf of the Young Foundation, is working with the latest class of Leadership Owensboro on a project to honor Moneta Sleet, Jr.  He was a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist from Owensboro,” explained David Smith, Director of Legislative Services. “They wrote a letter requesting $50,000 in silo-busting funds. This grant will be used to hire a playwright to create a monologue of Mr. Sleet’s life that can be performed, not only at the inaugural festival, but the Kentucky Humanities Council is going to help with this project and will use it as part of their Chautauqua Series.”

Bob Morris, former editor of The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, is also working on a photo display honoring Sleet at the RiverPark Center. According to David Smith, “When the festival is over in February 2023, those photo panels will go to the Owensboro Museum of Science and History,”

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