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Eric Gurevich

Call for Nominations and Artists to Kick Off 2018 Derby Week
Two distinct calls open today for 2018 Awards in the Arts and 2018 Opening Night

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 4, 2018) – Fund for the Arts, Churchill Downs, the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation and Joy Mangano will co-host the third annual Awards in the Arts on Saturday April 28, 2018 at Churchill Downs. This signature VIP event benefits the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts and will celebrate and recognize seven individual artists/arts organizations that help make Greater Louisville’s arts community extraordinary. Awards in the Arts submissions opened today at with a February 5, 2018 submission deadline.

Additionally, Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs will partner for the third year to showcase the arts community on Opening Night of Derby Week. Local artists will be selected to perform arts experiences throughout Churchill Downs Racetrack and on Churchill Downs’ Big Board during the evening. Submissions to participate are due to Artist Coordinator Mo McKnight Howe via by February 16, 2018.

“Building on the success of our first two years, we simply cannot wait to kick off Derby week with so many passionate and generous partners,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “While celebrating the very best of our arts community and those who make it world-class, we bring race fans dazzling arts performances and installations around every turn.”

2018 Awards in the Arts

The VIP event features a premiere cocktail lounge, dinner, awards presentation and exclusive performances in Churchill Downs’ Stakes Room. Last year’s event sold out with nearly 750 guests and generated $400,000 net for the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts.

Nominations are now open for individual artists, performers, and craftsmen who have achieved national recognition, lifetime achievement and emerging talent. Other awards will recognize artists and arts organizations in the categories of innovation, impact, and arts education. Award recipients receive a $5,000 cash award to advance their work. Nominations are due February 5, 2018 at

“This annual event is such an amazing opportunity to raise funds for the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts,” said Meredith Lawrence, Director of the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts and Executive Director of the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation. “It is a true privilege to leverage the proceeds of this event to bring joy, creativity and so much more to everyone across Jennifer’s hometown.”

Last year’s recipients include Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, actor Tim Daly, Kentucky Shakespeare, Louisville Story Program, LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance, Paul Owen, and Rachel Mauser. Previous recipients participate in the selections committee. 2018 Awards in the Arts recipients will be notified by mid-March.

For sponsor and ticket information, please call Morgan Ecklund at 502.582.0100 or email

2018 Opening Night

Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs invite local artists and cultural groups to submit proposals to participate in the third annual celebration of Greater Louisville’s arts community at Churchill Downs on Opening Night. 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. Submissions are due to Artist Coordinator Mo McKnight Howe via by February 16, 2018.

“We look forward to bringing guests exciting arts performances on Opening Night and supporting local artists for the third year,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “There’s no better way to kick off Derby week than a celebration of Louisville’s world-class horse racing and vibrant arts community.”

Selected proposals will be notified by early March and compensated according to the scale of performance(s) or installation(s) as well as other consideration factors. For full proposal & submission specifications, please visit

About Fund for the Arts
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 our community. The Fund conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country and supports world-class institutions, community organizations, and arts in education. Fund for the Arts leads collective action across the arts and cultural sector to deliver greater impact in our community. For more information, visit


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