2018 Opening Night Proposal & Submission Specifications

The call for this year’s proposals has closed. Please check back next January.

Event Overview & Goals

Artists are invited to submit a short proposal to participate in Churchill Downs’ Opening Night celebration of the local arts community to kick off 2018 Derby Week. The Opening Night performances/installations will be live and take place throughout Churchill Downs racetrack on April 28, 2018. This year, artists and performers are encouraged to submit proposals that integrate the theme “orange.” Orange, which is strongly associated with creativity and encouragement, will enliven the evening of horse racing with performances and art installations throughout Churchill Downs Racetrack and will be highlighted on Churchill Downs’ Big Board.

The goals of the Opening Night arts celebration are:

  • Celebrate the local arts community and kick off Derby week
  • Entertain and expose Opening Night patrons to the arts in our community through interactive and exciting performances
  • Raise money for the local arts community

Required Specifications

Proposals must include the following:

  • 1-2 paragraph description of performance or installation (photographs, drawings and links are welcome)
  • Performance or installation location at the racetrack (see below for examples)
  • Detailed budget, including time, materials, rentals, transportation etc.

Format & Submission

Submit non-electronic proposals to the Fund for the Arts offices located at 623 W Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202 with attention to Mo McKnight Howe.


Proposals must be submitted by midnight on February 16, 2018

Performance and Installation Location Examples:

Performances and installations will be placed throughout the racetrack. Location examples from last year’s event include:

  • Roving (project or performance can rove throughout different areas of the track)
  • Infield – the large grassy lawn and pagoda will be able to accommodate installations and performances.
  • The Paddock – this is the brick patio where people view the horses as they are saddled before each race. There is a small garden and we will also have a large stage for some performances.
  • Millionaire’s Row and the Stakes Room – large dining areas where people are seated at round tables. Guests in these rooms will be inside and outside on a terrace to watch the horses.
  • For a complete map of Churchill Downs, please visit: https://www.churchilldowns.com/visit/info/maps-and-directions
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