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Artists and organizations recognized for their impact on Greater Louisville’s arts and culture during annual benefit for the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 23, 2018) – Winners have been announced for the 2018 Awards in the Arts, presented by Woodford Reserve, Joy Mangano, & Unbridled Eve. The awards ceremony, hosted by Fund for the Arts, Jennifer Lawrence Foundation and Churchill Downs, honors arts and arts organizations – some well-known, some rising stars – for their passion and dedication to the arts, and in doing so, celebrates and advances Greater Louisville’s vibrant arts and culture.

Awards in the Arts is an annual event, created to promote and recognize Greater Louisville’s extraordinary arts community and the impact arts have on the city’s unique culture and quality of place. The event also serves as the premiere fundraising platform for the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts. Created in 2016, the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund supports the mission of the Fund for the Arts and the key objectives identified by the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, to fulfill children’s vital needs and drive arts access throughout Greater Louisville.

“Awards in the Arts commemorates the very best that Greater Louisville’s arts community has to offer,” said Christen Boone, president and CEO of Fund for the Arts. “As a committed driver of our region’s arts strategy and vision, Fund for the Arts is proud to publicly honor such a wide range of talented artists and arts organizations, whose transformative works help make the city a lively hub for cultural ingenuity and world-class arts experiences.”

The artists recognized by the awards come from a variety of creative disciplines – performing, visual, crafts and more. Individual artist and organization awards include the Arts Impact Award, Arts Innovation Award and Arts Education Award. Individual artist awards include the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, Emerging Leader in the Arts Award, the National Award in the Arts and the National Arts Advocacy Award.

“We are proud of this partnership and important celebration of our local arts community,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “For the third year, Awards in the Arts will help will kick off Derby week with excitement and creativity.”   

“Awards in the Arts is such a special night to celebrate so many brilliant, talented artists and groups who help make our community shine,” said Meredith Lawrence, director of the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund and executive director of the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation. “I am grateful to our many partners and sponsors who help support the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts.”

Award winners are as follows:

  • The Bobby Petrino Family Foundation Arts Impact Award:
    KMAC Museum

This award honors an organization that has demonstrated and leveraged a significant impact in the Louisville community through the arts – KMAC Museum. Founded in 1981, KMAC serves Greater Louisville and the Commonwealth by connecting people to art and creative practice through education, exhibitions, programming and conversation. The museum acts as a creative influence in the community, drawing people together to experience its arts leadership, exhibitions, learning programs, and permanent collection.

  • The Post Parade Wines, Brook & Pam Smith Arts Innovation Award: Ben Sollee

This award is presented to someone who is fueling innovative work in the arts – Ben Sollee. Sollee is a Kentucky-born cellist, singer-songwriter and composer, who constantly infuses his work with variety and ingenuity. In the ten years since the release of his debut record, “Learning to Bend,” Sollee has toured nationally – traveling via bicycle for a deeper connection to communities – collaborated with a number of musicians including Kentucky artist Daniel Martin Moore and Jim James from My Morning Jacket and continued to produce a substantive, inspiring body of work that ranges from Appalachian mountain music to blues. Sollee followed up his 2016 album “Infowars” by creating a technology-infused production of Harold and the Purple Crayon with StageOne Family Theatre, producing music for an interactive sculptural installation called Livestream and much more. The breadth and depth of his innovative artistic portfolio demonstrates that modern artists know no limits.

  • The Kosair Charities Arts Education Award: Ed White

This award recognizes an artist that is helping to educate and inspire Louisville’s children through the arts – Ed White.  Ed “Nardie” White, Founder and Executive Director of Louisville’s River City Drum Corps, is a pillar in the city of Louisville, especially as it pertains to educating our youth and participating in community activism. In 1991, he and his wife, the late Zambia Nkrumah, started the River City Drum Corps, a west Louisville nonprofit arts and education-based program for at-risk youth and families. Ed White doesn’t just teach the path to greatness, he practices it too. As a result he has been recognized by the Governor (Arts Folk Heritage Award), the Mayor (Louisville Metro Dr. Martin Luther King Freedom Award), the City of Louisville (Youth Service Workers Award) and several other notable organizations (Black Achiever of the Year, The Kentucky Center ArtsReach Living the Vision Award, Kentucky Human Rights Commission’s Executive Directors Award, National Education Association, United States Artist Fellows Music, Changing Lives Award and the National Council of Negro Women’s Courage Award). He’s an active member of Leadership Louisville and sits on the Kentucky Arts Council Board as well as the Arts Coalition of Louisville.

  • The Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award: Harry Pickens

This award honors someone who has demonstrated lifetime achievement in the arts in Greater Louisville – Harry Pickens. An award-winning performing artist, educator, composer, author, workshop facilitator and life transformation coach, Pickens is a modern-day Renaissance man. His career as a jazz pianist has taken him to 17 countries throughout Japan, Europe and the Americas, featuring collaborative performances with many of the world’s brightest jazz stars, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, James Moody and more. As a composer, Pickens has produced works for the likes of Wendell Berry and StageOne Family Theatre and his composition “The Awakening Hear” was featured in a personal performance for the Dalai Lama. In 2009, Pickens received the Kentucky Governor’s Award for the Arts in Education, the state’s highest honor in the creative and performing arts.

  • The Lift a Life Foundation Emerging Leader in the Arts Award: Kristen Renee Miller

This award celebrates an artist who has excelled in her discipline early in her career – Kristen Renee Miller. A writer, editor and translator, Miller’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Offing and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Blackacre Conservancy and The Kentucky Foundation for Women. As Director of Educational Programming at Sarabande Books, Miller created Sarabande Writing Labs, a program that brings writing workshops to social-service nonprofits in the Louisville area. Since 2014, Sarabande Writing Labs has hosted over fifty free workshops, produced nine anthologies and published 150 new writers. Miller is also the poetry editor at Rabbit Catastrophe Review and serves on the advisory board for Young Authors Greenhouse.

  • The Carnival Cruise Lines National Award in the Arts: Les Waters

This award winner recognizes an artist with outstanding achievement in Louisville and on a national scale – Les Waters. Obie Award winner Les Waters has directed Anne Washburn and Dave Malloy’s Little Bunny Foo Foo, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’s Recent Alien Abductions, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, Charles Mee’s The Glory of the World, Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, Naomi Iizuka’s At the Vanishing Point, Lucas Hnath’s The Christians, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Will Eno’s Gnit, Todd Almond’s Girlfriend and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night at Actors Theatre. Waters also previously directed Big Love by Charles Mee at the Humana Festival in 2000, and the site-specific production of Naomi Iizuka’s At the Vanishing Point at the 2004 Humana Festival. From 2003 to 2011, he served as associate artistic director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In the last 10 years, his shows have ranked among the year’s best in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Time Magazine, The Guardian and USA Today. His productions have been seen in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Connelly Theater, Clubbed Thumb and Soho Rep., and regionally at theatres such as the Mark Taper Forum, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and American Repertory Theater. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut with In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. He led the M.F.A. directing program at University of California, San Diego from 1995 to 2003.

  • The Unbridled Charitable Foundation Inc. National Arts Advocacy Award – Linda Bruckheimer

This award honors an artist whose utilizes her platform to tirelessly and publicly support and promote the arts – Linda Bruckheimer.  Raised in Louisville, Linda is an American novelist, photographer, film producer, preservationist, proud Kentuckian and a champion of the arts in Kentucky and across the world. Her photographs of Kentucky and America have been celebrated in exhibitions throughout the country including Family Gathering: Linda Bruckheimer’s Kentucky at the Frazier History Museum. Her commitment to preservation in the town of Bloomfield, Kentucky where she lives on a historic 1820’s farm, Walnut Groves Farm, is unprecedented.

Each award winner will take home a statue created by a local artist Bobby Hinkel and a $5,000 cash grant from Fund for the Arts. For more information about Awards in the Arts, or to purchase event tickets, please visit


Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the arts to drive economic development, education, and quality of life in Greater Louisville. The Fund drives collective action across the arts and cultural sector to create more art for more people in more places. As the steward of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020: An Arts and Culture Vision to Transform the Region, Fund for the Arts works to address arts access, cultivation, education, diversity, equity & inclusion, and promotion. The nonprofit conducts the third highest earning united arts campaigns in the country and supports world-class institutions, artists, and community organizations that deliver transformative arts experiences. For more information, visit


The Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund, housed at the Fund for the Arts, provides more art, for more people, in more places. Created in 2016, the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund is dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations, with the ultimate goal of delivering arts and culture access, education and excellence opportunities to the community throughout Greater Louisville. The Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund champions the mission of the Louisville regional nonprofit Fund for the Arts and key objectives identified by the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, to fulfill children’s vital needs and drive arts access throughout Greater Louisville. The Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund is supported by the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, which is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc.

The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc. The fund supports a variety of charities, including the Fund for the Arts, Boys and Girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, West End School, St. Mary’s Center, Special Olympics and more. For more information, visit


Churchill Downs Racetrack, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race the Kentucky Derby continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 5, 2018. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships eight times and is scheduled to host again in 2018.

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