DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018 celebrates deaf and hard of hearing culture Sept. 1

The state’s only daylong celebration for deaf and hard of hearing art, language and culture, DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018, will be held Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Galt House, 140 N. Fourth St., in Louisville. The public is invited to this free event. The doors will open at 9:30 a.m. (EDT).

Two special guests will make appearances during the event at the Galt House Grand Ballroom. Kyle Schulz, two-time competitor on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior who is deaf, will be interviewed at 3:50 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Spotlights segment and sign autographs at 5 p.m.

Schulz said that being a Ninja Warrior is not all about glory and winning. “I want to use my Ninja experience to help motivate others and to inspire people how to focus their energy to be the best they can be. I have also tremendously enjoyed helping bring an awareness of the deaf culture. I aspire and strive to be a positive role model throughout my journey,” he said.

Broadway and film actor Miles Barbee will also appear as a part of the Spotlights segment at 3:20 p.m. to preview his new movie called “The Silent Natural” about baseball legend William Hoy who was nicknamed “Dummy” because he was deaf. Hoy played for several major league baseball teams from 1888-1902, including the Cincinnati Reds, and is credited with introducing strike and ball hand signals into the game.

Barbee, who is deaf, appeared on Broadway in 2015 in the “Spring Awakening Revival” as well as the film “Talk to the Hands” and television show “Switched at Birth,” will be featured at the Jam Tent at 6:45 p.m.

During DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018, more than 50 visual and performing deaf and hard of hearing artists, including rappers, hip-hop musicians, comedians, storytellers and dancers who will combine to not only make DeaFestival a community, family-friendly day to remember — but an atmosphere of education and awareness for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Through arts and cultural programming, the festival invites community members to network, connect and help to educate the hearing community to elicit a better understanding of deaf culture.

Visitors will also be able to purchase fine art by deaf and hard of hearing visual artists, located in the exhibit hall. Please check the DeaFestival website, [], to find out more about the other artists and performers.

“This is a wonderful day of education showing parents, educators and employers that deaf CAN do anything,” said Virginia Moore, Executive Director for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH). “The Galt House has been extremely helpful in making our move due to the Kentucky Center fire, and we’re on track for another great event.”

The theme “There’s a Hero in ALL of Us” will be woven through a “City of Superheroes” in three performance programs, beginning with the Children’s Program featuring interactive storytelling at 9:30 a.m. Spotlights, a showcase for theatrical performers, dancers and comedians, will follow at 1 p.m. Jam Tent will round out the day, with top deaf and hard of hearing hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll musicians in the nation taking the stage at 6 p.m. There will also be a special event where children can meet and listen to everyday superheroes explain why they are capable of accomplishing anything.

The DeaFestival began in 1996 in Danville at Kentucky School for the Deaf. It was held annually until 1998, when it became a biennial event. This year’s DeaFestival will be the eighth held in Louisville.

This 13th biennial DeaFestival is hosted by the Knowledge Center on Deafness (KCD) and KCDHH. KCD has been awarded an Arts Access Assistance Grant through a program of the Kentucky Arts Council, which is supported by state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

KCDHH serves over 700,000 Kentuckians who have a hearing loss. Visit the KCDHH website, [email protected], like us on Facebook at DeaFestival-Kentucky 2018, or follow us on Twitter at [@DeaFestivalKY]@DeaFestivalKY.

For more information, please contact Virginia Moore at 502-573-2604 or visit the event website at

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