CORBIN — Speakers, performers and emcees of the much-anticipated TEDxCorbin event were announced Friday.

Corbin will host the first TEDx event to ever take place in Eastern Kentucky — or anywhere in rural Appalachia — featuring a diverse group of speakers on the theme of “grounded” in March.

The speakers, performers and emcees were announced via the TEDxCorbin social media platforms as well as its website,, on Friday morning.

A group of 17 speakers were selected after a competitive application process that resulted in a wide-ranging group of farmers, artists, academics, chaplains, and even reptile zoo owners.

TEDxCorbin speakers are:

Logan Bechanan - Student, Farmer

Melissa Bond - Community Development Expert

Tina Brouwer - Photographer, Educator

Sandi Curd - Farmer, Civic Advocate

Lily Gardner - Student, Activist

Dreama Gentry - Education Advocate

Robert Gipe - Storyteller

Nathan Hall - Agricultural Entrepreneur

Drew Hubbard - Podcast Host

Ryan Johns - Financial Expert

Roger May - Photographer, Writer

Jonathan Piercy - Physician, Musician

Kristin M. Smith - Farmer, Chef

Mae Suramek - Social Entrepreneur

Alice Tremaine - Chaplain

Kristen Wiley and James Harrison - Scientists, Educators

Xiao-Yin Chen - Academic

People familiar with TED know it for short, powerful talks delivered by public personalities and thinkers. TEDxCorbin, an independently produced event operated under license from TED, will feature speakers sharing the experiences they’ve accrued within their industries, through risk-taking in rural America, in overcoming personal hardship, and by envisioning a more vibrant, economically-viable Eastern Kentucky.

Each speaker’s talk will be 18 minutes or less. TEDxCorbin’s performances from local artists will also align with its theme of “grounded”.

TEDxCorbin performers include Andrew Brown, a bassist; Chelsea Nolan, singer/songwriter; Crystal Good, poet; and Larah Helayne, singer/songwriter.

TEDxCorbin will be emceed by Dylan Frost, Luke Glaser and Stacie Fugate.

TEDxCorbin will take place on March 9 in downtown Corbin at the Second and Main building, 115 S. Main St., and tickets will go on sale at noon Wednesday. General admission tickets are $40 and will be available for purchase at

"In this time of global uncertainty, we find ourselves turning to what matters most and asking new questions like: how do we move forward?" TEDxCorbin’s Licensee and Lead Organizer Crystal Kinser said in a previous press release. "At the first-ever TEDx event in Appalachian Kentucky, we are joining the global conversation. We'll hear from a diverse set of voices exploring what it means to be grounded in the region while moving ourselves forward together. We'll hear inspiring ideas and challenge our own notions of what's possible. We'll ground ourselves in the bonds we share, and together we'll examine where we go next."

The TEDxCorbin team is working closely with local vendors and community leaders to organize the event, as well as sponsors like AppHarvest, whose Farming Now movement and belief that Eastern Kentucky is a region of hard work, tenacity and ingenuity rooted in faith and grit echoes TEDxCorbin’s own theme of “grounded.”

Corbin is particularly well-suited to host a TEDx regional event: in just three years, Corbin’s downtown has gone from a 60 percent occupancy rate to nearly 100 percent, which TEDxCorbin seeks to celebrate and spotlight.

In the weeks leading up to the event, The Times-Tribune will spotlight each speaker to be featured in TEDxCorbin and those interested in finding out more about the event can visit the website and follow TEDxCorbin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @tedxcorbin.

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