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

2017 by the Numbers

18,500,000+ Estimated Media Impressions

$375,000+ Raised for Increased Arts Access

20,000+ Opening Night Guests

650+ Awards in the Arts Attendees

250+ Artists At Every Turn

40+ Media Placements

7 Winners

1 Unforgettable Night

See Photos from the 2017 Awards

2017 Sponsors









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Rhonda Gordon Foundation




D. D. Williamson & Co., Inc.
Hilhaven Lodge
Joe and Allison Magliocco
KentuckyOne Health
Kindred Healthcare
L&N Federal Credit Union
Republic Bank Foundation
Sun Tan City & Planet Fitness
University of Louisville
WAVE 3 News


Anthem BCBS in Kentucky
Beam Suntory
Beth Taylor
Bingham Greenebaum Doll
Etscorn & Sons
Equus Realty
Frazier History Museum
Frost Brown Todd
Heaven Hill
Hilliard Lyons
Kids Cancer Alliance
LG&E and KU Energy LLC
Louisville Visual Art- Board of Directors
Mary & Terry Meiners
Northwestern Mutual – Louisville, Inc.
Norton Healthcare
Old National Bank
Pickett Passafiume Architects
Tawana Edwards & The Glenview Trust Company
Thomas T. Noland & Vivian Ruth Sawyer
Todd Lowe & Fran Ratterman
Treyton Oak Towers
Underwriters Safety & Claims
University of Louisville Athletics
University of Louisville Advancement
US World Meds
Z Salon & Spa

Swag Sponsors




2017 National Winners

Stephen Gaghan
The Delta Dental of Kentucky National Award in the Arts

American Screenwriter and Director Stephen Gaghan was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. where he attended Kentucky Country Day School. He went on to study at the University of Kentucky and Boston College. He is best known for writing the screenplay for Steven Soderbergh’s film Traffic, for which he won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2000 at the age of 34. Since then, Gaghan has earned 12 award wins and 17 nominations for his work in film and television, including the Emmy and Oscar. Most recently, Gaghan directed the 2016 American crime adventure film Gold, featuring stars Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, Stacy Keach and Bruce Greenwood.


Tim Daly
The Unbridled Charitable Foundation Inc. National Arts Advocate Award

Tim Daly is an American actor and producer from New York City. He is a national advocate for the arts and serves as president of The Creative Coalition – a nonprofit arts advocacy group formed by members of the American entertainment industry – and he continually advocates for the arts through the Coalition and its Right to Bear Arts campaign. Daly is perhaps best known for his role as “Joe Hackett” on the TV series Wings, and as the voice of Clark Kent in the animated film Superman. Daly now stars in the popular TV series Madam Secretary, and has recently appeared in the TV shows Hot in Cleveland and The Mindy Project. He graduated from Bennington College, where he studied theatre.

2017 Local Winners

Kentucky Shakespeare
The Bobby Petrino Family Foundation Arts Impact Award

This award honors an organization that has demonstrated and leveraged a significant impact in the Louisville community through the arts – Kentucky Shakespeare. Founded in 1949, Kentucky Shakespeare is a nonprofit, charitable organization and professional theatre. It is the oldest free Shakespeare festival in the United States. Grounded in the works of Shakespeare, this organization enriches Kentucky by presenting accessible, professional theatre experiences that educate, inspire and entertain people of all ages in schools, parks, libraries, and more. In its most recent 56th season, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park served more than 25,000 audience members in only 11 weeks, with attendees of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds.


Louisville Story Program

The David Fenley, Founder of UpStartU, Arts Innovation Award

This award is presented to an organization that is fueling innovative work in the arts – the Louisville Story Program. The Louisville Story Program strengthens the community by amplifying unheard voices and untold stories. The organization partners closely with overlooked Louisville residents by providing extensive writing and oral history workshops and editorial support, culminating in professionally-designed documentary books, exhibits and radio programs, in which the authors tell the stories of their lives and communities in their own words. This organization helps to make Louisville a more inclusive city, in which every community member is heard, and where stories are lived together.


La’Nita Rocknettes School of Dance

The Yum! Brands Arts Education Award

This award recognizes an organization that is helping to educate and inspire Louisville’s children for nearly six decades through the arts – the La’Nita Rocknettes School of Dance. Led by Owen Neil, son of founder Anita Lucille Neil, the La’Nita Rocknettes School of Dance provides the opportunity to learn ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and modern dance to any young student, free of charge and regardless of age, color, size, skill level or body type. The mission of La’Nita Rocknettes School of Dance is to help students with their self-esteem and confidence through arts education and on-stage performances.

Paul Owen

The Ronda Gordon Foundation Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award

This award honors an individual who has demonstrated lifetime achievement in the arts in Greater Louisville – Paul Owen. Owen was the resident designer at Actors Theatre of Louisville from 1971 to 2009, designing approximately 1,500 productions during his 38 seasons. Owen’s work was never defined by a specific style, rather Greater Louisville audiences marveled at the variety of his designs. While now in semi-retirement, Owen his passion for the arts has not waned as he frequently designs for Kentucky Shakespeare.

Rachel Mauser

The Lift A Life Foundation Emerging Leader in the Arts Award

This award celebrates an artist who has excelled in her discipline early in her career – Rachel Mauser. Mauser is celebrated for her work in bookbinding, letterpress printing, printmaking and painting. Along with her outstanding commitment to her own practice, she also uses her art as a tool to help young people close education gaps, develop identity and self-worth, and become leaders in their communities. She is the co-founder and co-director of the STEAM Exchange, a community arts center in Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood, where she helps to create passion-driven learning experiences for underserved communities, free of charge.

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