Of the 15 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana that comprise our region, there are about 1.4 million people. More than 20,000 of your colleagues, friends and neighbors give to the Fund for the Arts annually – and tens of thousands more attend the visual and performing arts events supported by the Fund. Find out more about the Fund for the Arts or make a gift today by visiting www.fundforthearts.com
Most of the giving happens in about 200 workplaces across the community, with employees and employers banding together to contribute about $7 million each year. Though Stoll Keenon Ogden is certainly far from the largest employers in that group, we’re proud to be one of the most generous, with a 73 percent participation rate in 2014.
Why do we do it? There are probably more answers to that question than there are people who give, but from a corporate standpoint, #ArtIs just good business. Research by the American Planning Association shows that art:
- improves a community’s competitive advantage;
- creates a foundation that helps define a sense of place;
- attracts new and visiting populations;
- forges a point of integration for community and business leaders;
- helps develop a more skilled workforce.
In other words, #ArtIs economic vitality, increased tourism and a pool of creativity that ultimately makes our community a better place to work, visit and live.
As a business, Stoll Keenon Ogden has made a strategic decision to try to make a difference in this part of our community. We see our investment as a long-term partnership, not just with the Fund, but also with many of its cultural partners. One key initiative is sponsorship of the yearlong NeXt! Generation Arts Leadership program, focusing on the development of a new wave of arts ambassadors in the community – with the end goal of each participant aligning with Fund cultural partner on its board or a committee. This vibrant group of highly engaged young professionals will carry the torch of the Arts long into the future. For them, #ArtIs philanthropy – and fun!
Another way we do this is active commitment and participation. We believe when one of our own spends time and talent in support of a Fund partner, we should recognize that effort with additional resources. Earlier this year, that took the form of sponsoring the world premiere of StageOne’s “And In This Corner… Cassius Clay.” That was a special opportunity to recognize Louisville’s favorite son while opening the doors of imagination to thousands of our community’s middle school students. Will one of those kids someday write a play, choose the theatre as a vocation or model her life after Muhammad Ali? If so, we hope our contribution played a small role in that. #ArtIs a chance to improve education outcomes.
The hundreds of experiences – free and low-cost – that are afforded by visiting galleries, going to a performance of the Louisville Ballet, watching Teddy Abrams conduct a pop-up performance of the orchestra or seeing Shakespeare in Central Park on a summer evening make Louisville unique.
On June 26, we invite you to join the Fund via social media, including the live-steaming app Periscope, from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Just download the app, sit back and enjoy an interactive tour of our arts community at the top of every hour. The schedule includes an exciting breadth and depth of various art forms and promises to be an engaging and fun way to close the 2015 Campaign. No tickets to buy. No lines to stand in. This one is on the house.
Because #ArtIs In Your Hands.