Fund for the Arts Kicks Off 2017 Campaign with Annual Arts Showcase
Major Gift from Churchill Downs Ensures Cultural Pass Continues to Make Arts Accessible to Louisville Youth

LOUISVILLE, KY, JANUARY 10, 2017- Fund for the Arts today kicked off its 2017 campaign to expand the reach and impact of the arts across Greater Louisville at its annual event at Churchill Downs. During the event, Fund for the Arts announced a new partnership with Mayor Greg Fischer and Churchill Downs to continue the Cultural Pass in 2017 and beyond through a major gift from Churchill Downs. Other key initiatives include the second annual arts showcase and Awards in the Arts celebrations to kick off Derby week at Churchill Downs to celebrate and recognize local artists.

Led by 2017 Fund for the Arts Campaign Chair and LG&E and KU President and Chief Operating Officer Paul W. Thompson and other community leaders, the event energized several hundred volunteers, civic leaders and arts patrons who are dedicated to the Greater Louisville arts community and work to drive attendance, participation and financial support. Attendees enjoyed performances by Jecorey "1200" Arthur, Kentucky Shakespeare, Lincoln Performing Arts Elementary School, Appalatin, Louisville Central Community Center and After School Urban Arts Collaborative that includes River City Drum Corps, La 'Nita Rocknette School of Dance and the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy.

Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs Returns in 2017

Fund for the Arts, Mayor Greg Fischer and Churchill Downs today announced a new partnership to extend the Cultural Pass into the summer of 2017 and beyond through a significant charitable gift from Churchill Downs and support from additional community organizations. The Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with Louisville Metro, Fund for the Arts, Arts and Culture Alliance, and Louisville Free Public Library offers Louisville's youth free admission during the summer to dozens of arts and cultural venues across Greater Louisville. The new partnership will help expand the Cultural Pass program and ensure its long-term success.

The goals of the Cultural Pass are to reduce barriers to the city's arts and cultural venues, establish life-long relationships between Louisville's children and its arts and cultural institutions and create learning experiences during the summer through hands-on educational activities. Since the program launched in 2014, nearly 150,000 Cultural Passes have been issued to Louisville students.

"Churchill Downs is proud to support the Mayor's office and Fund for the Arts to help ensure that every child in our community has access to the arts and the opportunity to connect with Louisville's rich cultural organizations," said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. "The Cultural Pass is part of our ongoing commitment to support Louisville's vibrant arts community."

Opening Night Celebrates Greater Louisville's Arts Community

For the second year, Churchill Downs' Opening Night presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester will kick off Derby week by showcasing and helping to raise money for Greater Louisville's arts community on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

During the evening, Opening Night guests will enjoy live racing and live arts performances throughout the racetrack and on Churchill Downs' Big Board. A portion of the proceeds from Opening Night will benefit Fund for the Arts. Last year's event featured more than 200 artists, including a flash mob by Kentucky Shakespeare in the Paddock and a 12-piece jazz band in the infield. Artists are invited to submit a proposal to participate in the 2017 event to Artist Coordinator, Mo McKnight Howe at [email protected] by midnight on February 13, 2017.

Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, Churchill Downs, and Fund for the Arts to host the second annual Awards in the Arts

During Opening Night, the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, Churchill Downs and Fund for the Arts will co-host the second annual Awards in the Arts. The VIP event presented by Brown-Forman and Delta Dental of Kentucky celebrates and recognizes artists and organizations who make Greater Louisville's arts community vibrant and world-class and includes a premiere cocktail lounge, dinner, awards presentation and exclusive performances in Churchill Downs' Stakes Room. Last year's event sold out with nearly 750 guests and generated $240,000 for the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts.

The co-hosts opened nominations for individual artists, performers and craftsmen who have achieved national recognition, lifetime achievement and emerging talent. Other awards will recognize artists and arts organizations in the categories of innovation, impact and arts education. Award recipients receive a $5,000 cash award to advance their work and are presented a custom award made by local artist Mike McCarthy. Nominations for Louisville's Awards in the Arts can be made online at Nominations are due January 27, 2017.

For sponsor and ticket information, please call 502.582.0100 or email [email protected]

Fund for the Arts Launches 2017 Campaign

Fund for the Arts announced the continuation of partnerships today as part of its annual arts showcase and campaign kickoff.

"I'm honored to chair the 2017 Campaign and be supported by a passionate campaign leadership team to increase the impact the arts have on our quality of life, education and economic development," said Paul W. Thompson. "We are incredibly thankful for the involvement of businesses and individuals who will help make 2017 an exceptional year for increasing the access to the arts across Greater Louisville."

The regional nonprofit celebrated wide-spread community engagement with hundreds of volunteers, workplace campaign coordinators and arts supporters. A primary source of donations to Fund for the Arts is supported through workplace campaign contributions from employees at nearly 200 local companies. One of the oldest and highest campaigns of its kind in the country, on a per capita basis, Louisville contributes at 3-times the national average.

"When every member of our community has meaningful access to the arts, our community can truly thrive," said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. "I am looking forward to working with Paul and the entire community to generate the support needed to make our community stronger and more vibrant through the arts. Art is simply a defining force that drives educational attainment, our regional economy, and the quality of place for everyone who lives, works, and learns across Greater Louisville. With the generous support of nearly 20,000 donors, we are able to positively transform our cultural and artistic landscape."

To learn more about the Fund for the Arts annual campaign, visit

2016- Landmark Year for Fund for the Arts

  • Combined with support from corporate, individual and foundation donors, the 2016 campaign generated over $8.3 million with donations from 298 companies, 427 volunteers, and totaled 18,389 donors with an average gift of $452;
  • Fund for the Arts supported 14 Cultural Partners who cumulatively reached more than 1 million in attendance and created over 400,000 transformative arts experiences for students in Kentucky and Southern Indiana;
  • Reach nearly doubled from 2015 with 563 grants to 232 schools and community centers in 29 counties and 87 unique zip codes;
  • 49 nonprofit organizations received support with nearly $500,000 to fuel arts and culture related projects through the recently closed power2give online crowdfunding platform;
  • Launched ArtsMatch for Access, a new online crowdfunding platform powered by the Fund with matching funds provided by the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts. The public is encouraged to learn more and donate via

About the Fund for the Arts
Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the arts to drive economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country and supports world-class institutions, community organizations and arts in education. Fund for the Arts also hosts the nationally recognized NeXt leadership development program for young professionals, and leads collective action across the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously 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 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 6, 2017. The track’s Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 30-Nov. 27. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships eight times and the event will return to the track in 2018.

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