New Series Supports 2020 Seasons and Opening Night Performances of Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Shakespeare

LOUISVILLE, KY (December 10, 2019) – Churchill Downs Foundation and Fund for the Arts today announced the Churchill Downs Opening Night Series to support the 2020 opening night productions of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Shakespeare. The series builds on the success of Churchill Downs and Fund for the Arts’ five-year partnership that culminates each year with a celebration of local arts during Churchill Downs’ Opening Night of Kentucky Derby Week and Spring Meet.

The three arts organizations supported by the Opening Night Series will also join hundreds of other local artists to perform at Churchill Downs Opening Night presented by Budweiser to kick off next year’s Derby week. Over the past four years, Churchill Downs and Fund for the Arts have brought more than 1,000 artists to the event to delight and entertain guests with live performances throughout the track. The evening’s theme is always orange, the color of creativity and encouragement, and includes 11 live races. Opening Night is Saturday, April 25, 2020. Tickets start at $19 and are available now at www.ChurchillDowns.com.

“We are proud to support the 2020 opening night productions of three of our region’s premier arts organizations through the Churchill Downs Opening Night Series,” said Tonya Abeln, President of the Churchill Downs Inc. Foundation. “The series expands Churchill Downs’ support and celebration of our local arts scene from the racetrack on Opening Night of Derby week to Louisville’s favorite performances across the city throughout the year.”

“Actors Theatre is thrilled to join our colleagues at the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Shakespeare in partnering with the Churchill Downs Foundation and the Fund for the Arts to support some of the most exciting moments of any artistic season: opening nights! During the upcoming 44thannual Humana Festival of New American Plays, we will premiere five productions from eight outstanding playwrights, and I look forward to joining the Churchill Downs Foundation and the Fund for the Arts in celebrating with all our Festival artists and audiences,” said Robert Barry Fleming, Artistic Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville. “It is thanks to the longtime support, advocacy, and passion of both these partners that we at Actors Theatre can fulfill our mission of inspiring the community and creating work that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.”

Through the Churchill Downs Opening Night Series, Churchill Downs will be a Supporting Sponsor of the 2020 Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays in March and April, the Presenting Sponsor of Louisville Ballet’s “Kentucky! Volume 1” in April and the Presenting Sponsor of the opening production of this summer’s free Shakespeare Festival in Central Park.

During Derby Week’s Opening Night at the track, Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs also host Louisville’s Awards in the Arts. This separately-ticketed charitable event celebrates the local arts community and its positive impact on our region. Most of all, Awards in the Arts celebrates the artists and their talent and passion for transformative and inspiring works of art. Seven Awards in the Arts grants are given during the evening including the National Award in the Arts, National Arts Advocate, Lifetime Achievement, Arts Innovation, Arts Education, Arts Impact and Emerging Leadership.

As part of this announcement, Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs are also opening three opportunities for funding and recognition for Greater Louisville artists and arts organizations.

  1. Call for Artists at Opening Night
  2. Awards in the Arts Nominations
  3. Opening Night Series Call for Project Applications

Applications and nomination forms for all three opportunities are now open, and are due by 11:59pm EST on Friday, January 31, 2020. Go to https://fundforthearts.org/awardsinthearts/ to learn more.

Louisville’s Awards in the Arts celebrates the extraordinary arts community in the Greater Louisville region and the arts tremendous contribution to our unique cultural landscape and quality of place. But most of all, Louisville’s Awards in the Arts were established to celebrate the artists themselves, their talent and passion, to create, produce and present transformative and inspiring works of arts, in and for our community.

“This event positions our world-class arts and culture community at the forefront of one of the biggest weeks in Greater Louisville,” said Christen Boone, President and CEO of Fund for the Arts. “The arts are one of this communities most visible and impactful assets alongside thoroughbreds and bourbon. We are grateful for our 5-year partnership with Churchill Downs to bring Opening Night and Awards in the Arts to life.”

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 2, 2020. The track’s 2020 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 25-June 27. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships nine times. www.ChurchillDowns.com.

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 www.fundforthearts.org

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