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Eric Gurevich


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 5, 2019) – Stage One Family Theater’s producing artistic director, Idris Goodwin, has received the 2019 Allan Cowen Innovation Award from Fund for the Arts. The award was presented to Goodwin at the Fund’s 70 Years of the Arts Celebration on January 29. This annual award fosters creative intellectual exploration in the pursuit of innovation in arts leadership and organizational evolution in Greater Louisville.

Idris Goodwin & Allan Cowen

“Fund for the Arts is proud to support Idris Goodwin’s creative vision while honoring Allan Cowen’s many years of serving our community through the arts,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts president and CEO.

The award-winning playwright, director, orator and educator will use this award to advance accessibility to the arts, one of the five priorities laid out in Imagine Greater Louisville 2020— the community’s vision for arts and culture. Over the course of a year, Goodwin will study narrative performances that can ‘pop up’ in a variety of contexts and spaces without losing any potency. He seeks to use this knowledge to develop a selection of portable and adaptable work that can be performed within a variety of traditionally “non-theater” spaces— including indoor, outdoor, public and private spaces— and experiment with engaging, sustainable plays that can be brought directly to the public.

“Idris is forging a new and exciting path for public performance and live storytelling that literally brings theater to the front door of our community,” said Allan Cowen. “I am enthusiastic about the future of ‘pop up’ theater and the affordances to access it provides, reflecting the pillar of arts access defined by this prestigious recognition.”

The Allan Cowen Innovation Award provides funding to Greater Louisville arts leaders to pursue professional development opportunities, which allow them to explore innovative ideas, further develop their skills, and advance the arts community long-term. Established through a gift by the Bertram Klein Family, the award is given annually in honor of Allan Cowen’s 37 years of service to the arts. Cowen’s innovations have served as a foundation for arts organizations and the arts sector across the United States.

“I am honored to receive this year’s award from the Allan Cowen Innovation Fund for Advancement in the Arts,” said Idris Goodwin. “As the Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) industry begins to prioritize innovation and new work, I want Stage One to be a leader in the conversation. One of the ways we can do that is thinking about theatre as also a “what” and not just a “where”. Imagine what it means for theaters with ties to community to view their entire city as their playground?”

Previous Recipients Include:

  • 2017: Teddy Abrams and Andrew Kipe, Louisville Orchestra
  • 2016: Lindy Casebier, Louisville Visual Art Executive Director
  • 2015: Matt Wallace, Kentucky Shakespeare Producing Artistic Director
  • 2014: Alison Huff, Commonwealth Theatre Center Managing Director

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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