From NeXt Ambassador and Kindred Healthcare Senior Executive Assistant Courtney Glenny:

When I was a boy I wished I could fly […]Glenny, Courtney
Eventually though, we dream other dreams. We change; we grow up.
It always happens, nothing is forever. That’s the rule.
Everything ends, and so our story begins.

As we sat during intermission of Peter and the Starcatcher at Actors Theatre, my friend whispered, “Can you believe we get to see these shows here in Louisville?” Stock Yards Bank generously donated tickets for the Fund for the Arts 2016 NeXt Class to go to Starcatcher, which was brilliantly directed by Meredith McDonough. In fact, this show might be my favorite yet at Actors. I am pleasantly surprised that Louisville boasts many world-class arts: ballet, opera, orchestra, and theatre.

The NeXt 2016 class, which is proudly sponsored by Stoll Keenon Ogden, and founded by Barbara Sexton Smith, is a program where those nominated or accepted to participate spend 10 months of training to become future leaders in the arts. This program ingeniously connects young professionals and leading arts organizations in the community to make long-term impact. As the city grows in arts programming, these young professionals help sustain art venues. While the city benefits from this partnership, the participants mutually gain by learning to give back.

“It is important for me to be involved in the community,” spoke a member of our NeXt class as our monthly meeting was called to order. During our January session, the Kentucky Opera board president, Bill Blodgett spoke. The Opera’s apprentices sang beautiful songs from the upcoming Show Boat. The Fund for the Arts CEO and President, Christen Boone, elegantly schooled the participants of this nationally known program. Boone outlined the responsibilities of non-profit boards and explained how some of the previous board members learned that serving on a board was much more than showing up for lunch. “Get involved, lead the discussions at the meetings,” urged Todd Lowe, who serves with the Fund and many other boards.

We experience involvement as our cohorts partner with various arts organizations, attend board meetings, and create young associate boards. We serve on boards, offer our ideas, and attend events like Starcatcher at Actors.

The production has ended, and the audience goes home, the actors take off their costumes, and the lights are dimmed. However, I am learning that our work has now just begun. There are many ways to get involved and the NeXt class has opened my eyes to see the arts not as a spectator, but as a participant. And so our story begins…

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