Louisville’s Awards in the Arts was established to celebrate 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. Net proceeds of this event go toward the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts.

Organizations receiving grants from the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund at the Fund for the Arts with a focus on excellence, innovation, access, education and youth arts training:

  • $25,000 grant to Actors Theatre of Louisville to support capital improvements at the world-renowned theater;
  • $20,000 grant to Commonwealth Theatre Center (formerly Walden Theatre/Blue Apple Players) to increase capacity of education and outreach programs;
  • $25,000 grant to Kentucky Shakespeare to support the January 2017 production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts;
  • $55,000 grant to the Louisville Orchestra to provide live music for identified Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Opera productions in the 2016-2017 season;
  • $13,000 grant to the Louisville Youth Orchestra to expand the organization’s training and alumni programs;
  • $50,000 grant to support ArtsMatch for Access, a pilot program to increase access to the arts across Greater Louisville.

Awards Presentation

Louisville’s Awards in the Arts will be presented at an event at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2017. Award recipients and a guest will be provided tickets to the awards event. Videos featuring the award recipients may be shown throughout the night and awards may be presented in the Paddock and the Winner’s Circle.

About the Hosts

Fund for the Arts

Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit committed to building a stronger, more vibrant community through the power of the arts. With the help of nearly 20,000 donors, Fund for the Arts supports a range of arts organizations and drives accessibility across schools, community centers, senior care facilities and public spaces. We believe the arts fuel our regional economy, inspire student success, bring people together and simply make Louisville an amazing, unique city. Learn more: fundforthearts.org

About the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation

The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc. The fund supports a variety of charities, including the Fund for the Arts, Boys and Girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, West End School, St. Mary’s Center, Special Olympics and more. Learn more:  jenniferlawrencefoundation.com

About Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Churchill Downs will conduct the 143nd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 6, 2017. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships eight times. Learn more: churchilldowns.com

2016 by the Numbers

18,500,000+ Estimated Media Impressions

$240,000+ Raised for Increased Arts Access

30,000+ Opening Night Guests

750+ Awards in the Arts Attendees

150+ Artists At Every Turn

120 Nominees

50+ Media Placements

6 Winners

1 Unforgettable Night

See Photos from the 2016 Awards

2016 Sponsors









Bob Hook Chevrolet
D. Williamson & Co., Inc.
Kindred Healthcare
Sun Tan City & Planet Fitness


Anthem BCBS in Kentucky
Bingham Greenebaum Doll
Blue Equity Publishing
Blue Grass Automotive
Equus Realty
David H. Fenley
Frost Brown Todd LLC
Tawana Edwards & The Glenview Trust Company
Lamkin Wealth Management
LG&E and KU Energy LLC
Louisville Theatrical Association
Mary & Terry Meiners
Merkley Kendrick Jewelers
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Thomas T. Noland & Vivian Ruth Sawyer
Northwestern Mutual – Louisville, Inc.
Norton Healthcare
Ronda Gordon Foundation
Treyton Oak Towers
University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences
University of Louisville Department of Athletics
University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics
University of Louisville University Advancement
Suzanne & Robert W. Whayne
Z Salon & Spa

Swag Sponsors


Black Forest
Cellar Door Chocolates
Churchill Downs
Fund for the Arts
Lafayette 148
Modellas Custom Tailor Cigars
Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Pursekeyper, LLC
Old Forester
Rebecca Hook Jewelry
Republic Bank
Wicked Sheets

2016 Winners

The Republic Bank Foundation Arts Impact Award

The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts


This award honors an organization that has demonstrated and leveraged a significant impact in the Louisville community through the arts — the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts serves Greater Louisville and the Commonwealth by leading and enriching the artistic, educational and economic vitality of the region, and providing unparalleled programming and cultural events. The organization hosts the Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, Louisville Orchestra and many other arts groups. The center also provides for underserved communities through programs such as ArtsReach, Arts in Healing and the Governor’s School for the Arts. The center’s vision is to inspire, educate and entertain while building lifelong relationships with the arts.

The Bittners Arts Innovation Award

Teddy Abrams


This award is presented to someone who is fueling innovative works in the arts — Teddy Abrams. Abrams serves as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and recently garnered national attention from the Wall Street Journal and NPR. In less than three artistic seasons with the Louisville Orchestra, Abrams has had a transformative impact on the landscape of Greater Louisville with collaborations with the Louisville Ballet and Speed Art Museum. He conducted the Louisville Orchestra in front of thousands on Louisville’s Waterfront and is providing the soundtrack for the 2016 Thunder over Louisville spectacle. Abrams uses his classical background and passion for all styles of music to create musical experiences that are relevant for the community as a whole.

The Yum! Brands Foundation Arts Education Award

StageOne Family Theatre


This award recognizes an organization that is helping to educate and inspire Louisville’s children through the arts — StageOne Family Theatre. As Louisville’s oldest professional theater company, StageOne Family Theatre has served as a gateway to the performing arts for more than 3 million area children in its nearly 70-year history. StageOne’s Spring 2016 production of ‘Harold of the Purple Crayon’ is the first of its kind to utilize tablets to create an interactive audience experience. The mission of StageOne is to inspire and educate children and families by opening the doors to the imagination, opportunity and empathy.

Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award

Edward Hamilton


This award honors someone who has demonstrated lifetime achievement in the arts in Greater Louisville — Ed Hamilton. A skilled sculptor, Hamilton has created some of Louisville’s most esteemed works, including the Abraham Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Plaza. His artwork has been displayed locally at the Speed Art Museum, in addition to many national galleries and landmarks, from Connecticut to Washington, D.C. Hamilton is a leader in the African American community and received a Black Achiever award for his artistic and cultural impact. As a Louisville native, he spends much of his time giving back to the Louisville community.

The University of Louisville Emerging Leader in the Arts Award

Jecorey “1200” Arthur


This award celebrates an artist who has excelled in his discipline early in his career — Jecorey “1200” Arthur. A hip-hop artist known on stage as “1200,” Arthur is a musician, music teacher at Hite Elementary School and universal collaborator. He is both a rapper and trained classical musician. Arthur is Louisville’s newest hip-hop artist, and is dedicated to making a difference on and off stage. The young rapper recently took home a Louisville Music Award and is a leader in the West Louisville Community.

National Award in the Arts

Wendy Whelan


This award honors an artist who has achieved national prominence for her work- Wendy Whelan. Wendy Whelan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where at the age of three she began taking dance classes with Virginia Wooton, a local teacher. At age eight she performed as a mouse with the Louisville Ballet in its annual production of The Nutcracker. She was invited to become a member of the New York City Ballet corps de ballet in 1986 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1991. In 2007, Whelan was nominated for an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award for her performances with Morphoses/Wheeldon Company. She has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and with the Kirov Ballet. She received the 2007 Dance Magazine Award, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she was honored with both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance.

2017 Sponsorships Available

$100,000, $50,000, $25,000, & $10,000
($5,000 Sold Out)

Contact Abby Shue for more information: ashue@fundforthearts.org or call 502.582.0104