Home » Louisville’s cultural scene is thriving to the tune of $259 million annually

Louisville’s cultural scene is thriving to the tune of $259 million annually

By Kathie Stamps

MRGLSI-2016-300x402The arts and cultural scene in Louisville is so vibrant, so explosive, a steering committee has embarked on a 14-month process for a master plan for the arts, with the goal of leveraging resources and promoting the region for cultural tourism, economic development and quality of life. Lord Cultural Resources of New York City will facilitate the plan, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2016.

Creating 8,000 jobs in Louisville, the economic activity of the arts is $259 million annually, representing $24.60 per person for child care, transportation and other costs beyond event admission.

Fund for the Arts has 15 cultural partners, including the Louisville Orchestra and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and supports projects with 37 organizations, 113 schools and 12 community centers. Fund for the Arts hosts an online crowdfunding platform at power2give.org for Kentucky and Southern Indiana organizations to post their arts and cultural projects for fundraising.

The 2015 Fund for the Arts campaign surpassed its $8.3 million goal by almost $400,000. The goal for 2016 is also $8.3 million. A gala sponsored by Fund for the Arts, Churchill Downs and the Jennifer Lawrence

Foundation on the opening night of Derby Week 2016 was formed to present arts awards in the winner’s circle at the racetrack and to support Louisville’s arts community.

In March 2016, the Speed Art Museum reopened after a three-years $50 million renovation. Founded in 1925 as the J.B. Speed Memorial Museum, today’s CEO is Ghislain d’Humières. He has lived in New York, Chicago and all over the world.

“I have never seen a city quite like Louisville,” he said, “where people grow up, go away to school, start their careers in larger cities, and then ultimately, return to Louisville to raise their families.”

To have such powerhouse arts organizations as the Speed, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky Opera, the Louisville Ballet and so many others “is extraordinary and puts us on par with major metropolitan cities,” d’Humières said. “That is why it is so important for the Speed to be the new hub of creativity, where every generation together can be a part of bringing art from around the world to the Speed and enjoying a vast diversity of programs that will interest all. We are here to make a difference – to foster conversation and build a love of art and culture that is unmatched in Louisville – or the state of Kentucky.”

Kentucky Shakespeare is in its 56th year of providing the country’s oldest free Shakespeare festival; it takes the stage in Louisville’s Central Park each summer. The company also provides performances and education statewide for students and the public each spring, and in the winter of 2016 introduced an indoor production at the Kentucky Center of Performing Arts.

Abbey Road on the River is the five-day music festival over Memorial Day weekend. The first three years (2002-2004) the Beatles-inspired event was held in Cleveland before its run at Belvedere Festival Park in Louisville (2005-2016). In 2017 AROTR moves to downtown Jeffersonville, Indiana, along the Ohio River.

The three-day Forecastle Festival in July at Waterfront Park is centered around music, art and environmental activism. The 14-year-old event continues to grow in attendance, awareness and affiliation with Kentucky bourbon brands, thanks to the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge.

The Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 4th Fueled by Thorntons is one of the many free events on the Ohio River every year, attracting thousands of guests.

Actors Theatre of Louisville

Carnegie Center for Art & History
New Albany, Ind., carnegiecenter.org

CenterStage at the
Jewish Community Center

Central Kentucky Community Theatre
Springfield, centralkytheatre.com
Clarksville Little Theatre
Clarksville, Ind., clarksvillelittletheatre.org

StageOne Family Theatre

Derby Dinner Playhouse
Clarksville, Ind., derbydinner.com

The Filson Historical Society

Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden
Utica, Ind., hiddenhillnursery.com

Humana Festival of New American Plays

Iroquois Amphitheater

The Kentucky Center
for the Performing Arts

Kentucky Opera

Kentucky Shakespeare

Louisville Ballet

The Louisville Chorus

Louisville Visual Art Association

Louisville Memorial Auditorium

Louisville Orchestra

Louisville Youth Choir

Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center

Museum Row on Main

New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater
New Albany, Ind., cityofnewalbany.com

Paul W. Ogle Cultural
& Community Center
New Albany, Ind., oglecenter.ius.edu

PNC Broadway Across America-Louisville

The Stephen Foster Story
Bardstown, stephenfoster.com

Speed Art Museum

St. James Court Art Show

21c Museum

University of Louisville Department
of Theatre Arts

Walden Theatre