For immediate release:
Fund for the Arts
Mollie LaFavers


LOUISVILLE (June 2, 2021) – For many years, it has been a top priority at Fund for the Arts (FFTA) to provide the Greater Louisville area with access to arts in education, providing more than 400,000 educational experiences for children across our region each year. The recently established Barbara Sexton Smith Education Enhancement Fund (BSSEEF) is a permanently restricted endowment fund created to support opportunities for Greater Louisville children to experience and participate in the arts.

Former Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith has been an active arts advocate in Greater Louisville for many years. Sexton Smith started working with the Fund for the Arts in 1999 and was the first female President & CEO, serving in the executive role from 2011 to 2014. During her tenure with FFTA, Sexton Smith lead the way in the creation of the EVERY CHILD Arts in Education Initiative. The initiative supports students in all grade levels, leveraging the power of the arts to enhance in-school and out-of-school learning.

“We want to make sure that every child in our elementary school system gets to experience live arts – that is core content and curriculum based – in the classroom. It’s important because it enhances the academic experience” said Sexton Smith. “Each time I visit one of our elementary schools, I see for myself how learning is enhanced through arts experiences.” The annual distribution of the BSSEEF will help underwrite the Fund for the Arts’ 5×5 Program at Jefferson County Public Schools, which is a part of the EVERY CHILD Arts in Education Initiative. 5×5 provides funding to elementary schools to enhance classroom instruction for K–5 students. The goal of 5×5 is that students will participate in 5 arts education experiences by the time they leave 5th grade.

“We know that arts education is essential in building things like confidence, critical problem-solving skills, team building, and so much more,” said Christen Boone, President & CEO of Fund for the Arts. “Barbara’s leadership and legacy will stay alive through this incredible gift to our students. The BSSEEF will enable Fund for the Arts to help ensure in-school arts education opportunities for children in Louisville for many years to come.”

Evan Thurmond, a NeXt program graduate and donor to the BSSEEF said, “from a very young age the visual and performing arts have been part of my life and always have been an enriching part of my cultural experience in every place I visit. I choose to invest in the arts and initiatives such as the BSSEEF because it’s important to see that every child has an opportunity to experience the arts the same way I did.”

The current goal is to raise $100,000 to set the floor of the endowment. Sexton Smith will personally match the first $35,000 raised. To make a contribution to the Fund for the Arts in support of the Barbara Sexton Smith Education Enhancement Fund, visit and write “BSSEEF” in the “Comments/Special Instructions” field.

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 2025, the region’s arts and 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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