At the Fund, we believe that art is a right, not a privilege, because art is a fundamental expression of the human condition. We want everyone to be broadening the idea of what we classify as an “artform” and embrace the reality that there are just as many different artforms as there are ways of expressing yourself! Do you enjoy gardening? Cooking? Whittling? Building robots? Good news—you’re an artist!  

But those feel like pretty easy comparisons to more traditional artforms. You don’t have to take a long leap to get from cooking to painting. But what about something that, at first glance, seemingly has NOTHING to do with creativity or the arts? What about running?  

Fund for the Arts Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer Janie Martin is a runner, and she knows that it is just as much of an artform as any other.

“I’m a dancer too, and there are so many similarities with running and dancing,” says Janie. “There are techniques and tricks you have to learn to get your body to do what you want it to do. Like dancing, it challenges you both mentally and physically, and you get better the more you practice.”  

Janie started running by accident back in 2019 when she started dating her now-fiancé, Tony. At first, it was just a fun thing to do together. Now, it’s become a passion.


“I have two goals for every race: have fun, and (because I’m competitive) finish with at least one person behind me. Oh, and wear a cute shirt—’cause if you look good, you run good.”  

Races, like any other form of public performance, are packed with adrenaline—feeding off the energy of the crowd and the sense of community amongst the runners.  

“Everyone has a different creative process for training, because everyone’s body is different. But when you’re there on the course, it’s one big community. It’s thrilling to be a part of it.”  

She says that’s something the running community and the arts community in Louisville have in common. “Everybody belongs. It doesn’t matter your ability, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it—if you love it, if you want to be there, you’re a part of it. There’s always going to be fear, but it’s a judgement-free zone.”  


One of Janie and Tony’s favorite races is the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Mini and Marathon every spring right here in Louisville. The people, excitement, news cameras, dancing, and passing through so many Louisville landmarks make it an unforgettable run.  

For Janie, having her kids there to cheer her on alongside so many supportive strangers remind her of what the arts and running races really do. That’s why this year, she, Tony and their friend Dave are forming a team to run and fundraise for the Fund for the Arts together.

“Races create space for us to be in community,” she says. “I can do all the prep and training in the world, but at the end of my hardest race, it was hearing my kids cheer, it was having Tony come back to run beside me, it was being applauded by a radio news anchor—it was human connection that got me up that hill.”  

Run for the Fund: GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival Mini & Marathon on April 29, 2023 
The Kentucky Derby Festival and Fund for the Arts are dedicated to making our city one unlike any other. This year, Fund for the Arts is one of the official charity partners for the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival mini and marathon, so you and your team can raise funds for the Fund on your run! 
Click here to learn more. 

Published February 15, 2023 for the Fund for the Arts e-newsletter. 

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