June 1, 2018

Media Contacts:
Mayor’s Office: Jean Porter, 574-2383 / 649-1426
Library: Paul Burns, 574-1683 / 741-9456
Fund for the Arts: Eric Gurevich, 552-4020 / 582-0132

Mayor Fischer announces Cultural Pass, Summer Reading and other summer learning opportunities for youth, teenagers

LOUISVILLE (June 1, 2018) – School is out for the summer, and Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding parents and caregivers that there are plenty of fun, low-cost or free learning opportunities available for Louisville area students of all ages over the next three months.

Mayor Fischer, Partner Organizations, Venues, Sponsors, & Students Celebrating the 2018 Cultural Pass

During a news conference at the South Central Regional Library in Okolona, the Mayor and partner organizations outlined a number of programs designed to keep kids engaged and prevent summer learning loss, including the Louisville Free Public Library’s Summer Reading program and the 2018 Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with Metro Louisville, the Free Public Library, the Arts and Culture Alliance, and Fund for the Arts.

“Lifelong learning means year-round learning. And with our Summer Reading Program, Cultural Pass, and other programs, parents and children have plenty of fun options this summer to keep kids’ minds active so they’re prepared for success in school and beyond,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “I’m grateful to so many important partners in this effort, from Churchill Downs to the Fund for the Arts.”

In celebration of both the Library’s Summer Reading Program and the Cultural Pass, the Mayor announced the Main Library will host the Summer Reading Kickoff and Cultural Pass Showcase on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will offer a host of activities, performances, and crafts featuring more than a dozen members of the Arts and Culture Alliance. Participating groups will include the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and more. For more information, please visit or call (502) 574-1620.

The Cultural Pass supports and encourages lifelong learning by providing free access to 50 Greater Louisville’s arts and cultural institutions for children and young adults to age 21.

New this year, residents in three surrounding counties—New Albany/Floyd County, Jeffersonville Township, and Bullitt County—will also be eligible to participate in the 2018 Cultural Pass through their public libraries. Southern Indiana residents are eligible for the Cultural Pass for the first time thanks to support from Bales Foundation, Duke Energy, and Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County.

The Pass is valid from June 1 to August 11 for one-time general admission at each of the 46 participating institutions. Also new this year, the Office of Advanced Planning developed an interactive map for enhanced user experience that can be found:

“Our community is fortunate to have one of the most unique initiatives across the country to fight summer learning loss,” said Bill Carstanjen, Churchill Downs Inc. CEO. “Churchill Downs is proud to continue supporting arts & cultural experiences that make our city stronger.”

“The Cultural Pass is a passport for Greater Louisville kids and families to unlock boundless creativity at our world-class arts & cultural institutions,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “We are deeply grateful to our donors and partners who make this one-of-a-kind initiative possible. This is a critical investment for our region that allows kids to learn, play, and grow all summer long.”

The 2018 Cultural Pass and Summer Reading Program materials are available now at any Louisville Free Public Library branch. Pass holders can register and track the progress of their Cultural Pass online at and are encouraged to visit as many venues as they are able during the summer. Children with 5 or more documented visits are entered into a drawing for prizes, including a free stay at 21C Museum Hotel, tickets to area performances like The Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre or Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker, family memberships to Bernheim Forest, the Frazier History Museum, Gheens Science Hall and Planetarium, and more.

“The Arts and Culture Alliance is proud to be the part of the Cultural Pass that provides access to arts and culture,” said Kim Baker, Chair of the Arts and Culture Alliance. “We invite our community and the new surrounding counties participating, to experience all our amazing arts and cultural organizations have to offer!”

To learn more about the Cultural Pass, please visit

Summer Reading

Presented by the Library Foundation, the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program is a free 10-week program that encourages kids and teens to read for fun over the summer by offering prizes and incentives. Every child—from infant through 12th grade—who completes the program will receive a backpack or cardholder and earbuds, along with passes to local attractions like the Kentucky Science Center, Squire Boone Caverns, a Louisville Bats baseball game, Wendy’s Frosty, and more.

“Summer Reading is a great out-of-school program that helps kids and teens stay on reading level and return to school better prepared to learn,” said Library Director Jim Blanton. “This annual tradition reaches nearly 50,000 children in the Metro area, helping to create a habit and love of reading.”

For more information, or to pre-register for Summer Reading, visit, or call (502) 574-1620.

Other summer programs

The Summer Reading and Cultural Pass programs complement hundreds of camps and enrichment activities organized by nonprofit organizations, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), local colleges and universities, museums, churches, and arts organizations.

To help families sort through the many summer offerings, the Mayor reminds the community that a searchable database of quality Out of School Time (OST) programs is available through 2-1-1. Thanks to the BLOCS community partnership, families can access this resource year-round by visiting and clicking on the 2-1-1 link. The list is also available by dialing Metro United Way’s 211 call-in line, or accessing the 211 app. BLOCS was established in 2011 by Louisville Metro Government, JCPS, Metro United Way and the Louisville Alliance for Youth, in an effort to bridge in-school and out-of-school time, while demonstrating OST programming is a fundamental support in improving educational outcomes.

Louisville Zoo: The Louisville Zoo is a living classroom with something to learn all year long. When kids are out of school, it’s the perfect place to keep minds active and engaged with amazing animal species from around the globe or one of the Zoo’s many summer camps. Weekly camps are available for ages from pre-K to 8th grade. All Zoo camps include Zoo walks, large animal presentations, attraction rides, and up-close encounters with live animal ambassadors. Events are happening all summer, from the Friday Night Movie Series to the ever-popular Storybook Character Day. All events and camp listings can be found at 

Louisville Parks & Recreation: Four community centers – Beechmont, Douglass, Southwick and South Louisville – will have summer camps with structured programming, games, field trips and other activities. Fees range from $65 to $80. Additionally, most other park community centers will be offering open programming, so kids will be able to drop in, shoot a game of hoops, use the computer or quietly read a book.

The Reds’ Rookie Success League is back this year. For more than a decade, this successful partnership with the Cincinnati Reds has introduces kids to the game of baseball with a focus on character development. The program will be offered at Petersburg Park and Wyandotte Park. Call Louisville Parks athletics at 574-4515 for more information.

Meanwhile, Louisville Parks and Recreation is looking to employ teens as lifeguards. Call the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center at 897-9949. Metro Parks’ four outdoor pools – at Camp Taylor, Nelson Hornbeck (Fairdale), Algonquin and Sun Valley parks – opened Memorial Day weekend. Metro Parks also offers 30 spraygrounds and spraypads at parks throughout the community.

Parks and Recreation is also offering free movies nights for the whole family at the Iroquois Amphitheater and Joe Creason and Des Pres parks. And, don’t forget, there will be a free World Cup watch party coming to the front steps of Metro Hall during the month of July with food trucks, vendors and a huge TV screen in front of the building where families can check out the action. For more information, visit

Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods: The office is sponsoring and working with community partners to host several activities to keep teens engaged and elevate youth leadership this summer.

  • The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is partnering with the Muhammad Ali Center to support the “Youth Rights” Conference taking place during I Am Ali week. Teens will have a chance to build leadership skills, network with other teen leaders, and have their voices heard during a series of interactive workshops. The conference will be held on June 6th from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center. For more information call 502 992 5311 or email
  • The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is partnering with Mom’s Demand Action Against Gun Violence in support of Wear Orange day. There will be a walk, lunch, and festival at Sheppard Park on June 2nd from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join us for music, games, face painting, group exercises, and more. There will be information available to help keep families safe from gun violence.
  • We will continue to host family game nights at local community centers with music, games, and activities for youth. These game nights will be planned and coordinated by youth!
  • Our upcoming One Love Louisville Ambassador Training will be held on June 23rd from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This training is sponsored by YMCA Safe Place and will provide community members (teens and adults) with the skills to promote peace in their neighborhoods. Free to attend with a light breakfast and full lunch served. For more information, go to or call 502 574 1903.
  • The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods will continue doing regular community walks to connect citizens with resources that can help with employment, housing, health, youth programs, and more. If you see us with our One Love Louisville t-shirts, say hi and ask us about opportunities that we can help with.
  • We will be joining Waterfront Park during the Fourth of July Celebration and hosting a booth with games and activities. Stop by and visit us there!
  • For more information:

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 also hosts the nationally recognized NeXt leadership development program for young professionals and leads collective action across the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit

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