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Eric Gurevich

Fund for the Arts Celebrates 70 Years of Community Arts Access and Impact
Fund for the Arts celebrates with 2019 Arts Showcase & Campaign Kickoff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 30, 2019) – Last night, Fund for the Arts celebrated a major milestone at the Brown Theatre with its annual campaign kickoff event, recognizing and celebrating its 70th year as a cultivator for Louisville’s vibrant arts scene. First established by Mayor Charles Farnsley in 1949, Fund for the Arts has evolved from a fundraiser and grant-maker to an advocate, convener and driver of impact for the region through arts and culture.

Celebrity guests Kent Oyler, Karen Williams, and Christy Lee Brown performing with Teddy Abrams and members of the Louisville Orchestra.

The event provided an opportunity to revisit the Fund’s history while honoring the city’s greatest artists and creators over a night of food, drink, conversations, and surprises. The event, attended by hundreds of volunteers, civic leaders, and arts patrons, featured interactive experiences and performances with numerous arts groups, including AMPED, Kentucky Shakespeare, Louisville Ballet, Squallis Puppeteers, Louisville Orchestra, West Louisville Performing Arts Academy and more. Several local celebrities— Vince Tyra, Karen Lawrence, Kirby Adams, Metro Council President David James, and others— also made special appearances to honor the city’s vibrant arts community and The Fund’s support of the arts.

Louisville news personality Angie Fenton served as emcee for the event where winners were announced for two of the Fund’s annual awards. Idris Goodwin, award-winning playwright, director, orator and educator and Producing Artistic Director of Stage One Family Theater received the 2019 Allan Cowen Award for his inventive arts leadership. Meanwhile, the 2019 Welch Award was presented to Ted and Mary Nixon, current board members at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Kentucky Center for the Arts, respectively, for their exceptional volunteerism in the arts.

“Looking back over 70 years of serving Greater Louisville, we are proud to have shaped a legacy of support, engagement, and access to the arts that has become part of this city’s fabric,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts president and CEO. “We are deeply inspired by our brilliant creative community and the generosity of our donors who, together, fuel a promising future of a more educated, economically vibrant, and connected community.”

As a kickoff to their annual campaign, the regional nonprofit commemorated its arts impact and announced the continuation of key community initiatives such as Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, ArtsMatch, 2019 Awards in the Arts, and the 2019 Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs.

The 2019 campaign aims to build upon the brilliance of Greater Louisville’s creative successes while also looking ahead to the future with a renewed emphasis on impact, leveraging the power of the arts to help engage and educate children, enliven neighborhoods, create social change and attract visitors, talent and new businesses to the region. With the rollout of the community cultural plan, Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, Fund for the Arts has become a significant driver of leveraging the arts to elevate the region’s national brand to attract visitors, top talent and new business.

During the event, Fund for the Arts committed to continuing its evolution as a catalyst of collective action and impact throughout Greater Louisville— and hinted at exciting new developments on the horizon.

Fund for the Arts conducts the third strongest united arts campaign in the country and Greater Louisville’s per capita giving to the arts is three times the national average, according to a December 2017 United Arts Fund report from Americans for the Arts. Since its inception in 1949, it has invested more than $232 million in arts and cultural organizations and projects throughout our community. The regional arts agency fuels a world-class arts scene that offers an unparalleled breadth and depth of offerings as compared to Greater Louisville’s peer cities; the Fund is fueled by 16,000 donors, more than 400 corporate partners, 200 workplace campaigns, and more than 1,100 campaign volunteers.

About Fund for the Arts
Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund is a convener, promoter, leader, and driver of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, the region’s arts & cultural plan. It facilitates the largest arts grant program in Kentucky as well as conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country. For more information, visit


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