What a thrill and an honor this has been. After 35+ years, I am retiring from the Fund for the Arts. When I arrived in 1976, our meager offices were on the balcony of a branch bank and we struggled to raise just under $600,000. The total assets of the Fund for the Arts were negative $43,000. Today, assets of the Fund for the Arts exceed $25 million. By 2009, the Fund for the Arts annual campaign reached a record $9 million.

Along the way, the Fund for the Arts developed its own mixed-use $2 million downtown office building, acquired and restored the 1,400 sq. ft. W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre and adjoining support spaces, and developed the 80,000 sq. ft. ArtSpace building as an arts, education, and commercial “work, live, and learn” space. All three projects essentially break-even on an operating basis.

Today the Fund for the Arts has a $6 million endowment fund through the Louisville Community Foundation and a robust education initiative which aims to bring Arts programs to EVERY CHILD in the Metro community.

Futures are a funny and wonderful thing. I plan to de-stress, enjoy my family, become a great bike rider, and serve as an Arts, fundraising and development consultant. I hope to serve my community. It’s been a pleasure.



Allan Cowen

P.S. Barbara Sexton Smith, Acting President & CEO will give you a campaign update below….

WOW! What an exciting week it has been.

On with the show. I’m thrilled to carry the torch and build the legacy as Acting President & CEO. We’re right in the middle of our 2011 Fund for the Arts campaign. Humana kicked off their employee campaign on Monday with a jazz combo playing in the lobby and an art exhibit upstairs showcasing more than 90 works of art created by Humana associates. By Tuesday, Marty Bell had reported a 22.5% increase from the Greater Clark County Schools campaign and the folks at Hilliard Lyons had pledged over $46,000 representing more than a 50% increase!

At the Fund, we don’t call Wednesday “hump day.” Heck – we’re on a roll by then. A TARC bus driver increased her gift from $500 last year to $1,000 this year. That’s commitment! Takin’ it to the streets on Thursday we found ourselves at the airport with the Public Service Officers who wanted to know where to buy tickets and when they could sign their pledge cards whilst Annette Skaggs – their campaign coordinator – sang an Italian aria.

So, it is the middle that counts. Whether it’s the middle of the week or the middle of the tarmac at the airport – STAND UP and be counted

I hope to see you at Actors Theatre during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Click here for ticket information. Or, click here and meet me at the Brown Theatre tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. for the YUM! Brands orKIDStra:  Teddy Bear’s Guide to the Orchestra concert performed by the Louisville Orchestra. And don’t forget to bring your teddy bear!

On with the show,

Barbara Sexton Smith
Acting President & CEO
Fund for the Arts

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