When I was in fifth grade I attended my first children’s theatre performance in our school “cafitorium”. (For the younger generation that was a 60’s innovation combining an auditorium, gym, and cafeteria). Sixth grade gave me my first sneak preview of an orchestra performance when a classmate got sick and, in his place, I got to attend a performance of a real live symphony orchestra using his ticket. I sat in the third balcony and almost couldn’t even see the musicians, but I could hear the music! By junior high, I displayed a little artistic talent. In ninth grade, I was selected for Art classes at our local Art museum.
While each of my early arts experiences weren’t much, the collective impact on my life was enormous. I became passionate about the Arts. The Arts became my mission. I even studied painting and design in college and taught Art before starting my career in Arts administration as a management intern in 1973!
You know it’s funny….I never thought much about who paid for the shows or Art classes. I only knew my parents didn’t and I knew I didn’t get much of an opportunity to really understand the Arts because my school offered few opportunities.
The point of my story is simple. And, the answer to the question of who pays should be obvious to each of us. When we each think of the “why?” and “why not?” of supporting our Arts – that answer is also very obvious – it’s about our kids….our community’s children. In Louisville, we gather together to support our Arts through our gifts to our Fund for the Arts campaign as individuals at home and at work. We understand that while we each might have our favorite form of Art – at the end of the day it’s about our Arts “together”.
Through the Fund for the Arts 5×5 program and our EVERY CHILD Arts Education Initiative* – we have provided funding for more than 300 projects in over 100 schools in our region. We’re even working to announce a special encore initiative in May that will further expand the program for our schools (stay tuned for details). Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren will get their Arts experience this year through Fund for the Arts-supported programs from Actors Theatre’s playwriting workshops for high school students to Stage One and Kentucky Shakespeare programs for elementary school students.
Arts opportunities shouldn’t be by coincidence or random luck. A student shouldn’t only get to attend if someone gets sick leaving an extra place. You know it. I know it. And, we all know we can’t do it alone. We do it “2gether”.
*5×5 and EVERY CHILD Arts Education Initiative
Major support provided by Chase. Additional support provided by:
The Community Foundation of Louisville