Home » Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plans a more competitive, educated and creative region

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plans a more competitive, educated and creative region

IGLLOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 10, 2017) – A group of area artists, community, civic, business, arts and culture leaders today launched a long-term plan for how arts, culture and creativity can grow and help improve the Greater Louisville community.

Called Imagine Greater Louisville 2020: An Arts & Culture Vision to Transform the Region, the plan outlines a number of strategies to make arts and cultural opportunities more accessible across all neighborhoods, to increase educational attainment by ensuring students have exposure to the arts, and to leverage arts and culture as a way to attract talent and tourism across the region.

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 is the result of 18 months of community meetings and workshops led by a steering committee of artists, gallery owners, arts and culture leaders, educators, business and neighborhood leaders, and incorporating the input of nearly 5,000 members of the community.

“Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 is a call to action for how we can come together to leverage our creative resources to address our community’s greatest challenges and capitalize on our greatest opportunities,” said Roger Cude, Enterprise Vice President, Human Resources, Humana, and a member of the Imagine Greater Louisville steering committee. Roger will co-chair the implementation steering committee with Penny Peavler, President & CEO of the Frazier History Museum.

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 has three key objectives. First, by connecting the dots between the arts and culture sector and the community’s priorities, this will spark greater collaboration and engagement of arts and culture as a meaningful partner in community solutions. Second, encourage artists and organizations to ask themselves how they can best support the shared vision for a stronger community. And lastly, inspire greater investment in the creativity and diversity of the arts and culture sector to realize our common aspirational vision.

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 identifies 15 strategies, organized under five key priorities:

• Access – providing more art for more people in more places
• Cultivation – supporting artists, creative professionals and arts and cultural organizations
• Education – making arts and culture part of every child’s education and every adult’s lifelong learning
• Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – fostering cultural equity break down cultural barriers and build bonds across the community
• Promotion – showcasing arts and culture as part of our unique sense of place and helping attract and retain talent and grow tourism

Progress made on a number of plan’s strategies

Strategies identified in Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 include creating a hub to map all arts opportunities across the region, creating an arts-business accelerator, studying the impact of arts on health, providing after-school arts programs in at-risk neighborhoods, identifying and connecting cultural districts, and creating a bus tour showcasing Louisville’s arts and cultural landscape. See the attached list of early wins for each priority.

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 will be led by a Steering Committee of arts and culture and cross-sector individuals. This committee will provide feedback, direction and oversight, and report, at least annually, to the community. The Arts & Culture Alliance will serve as a primary liaison to engage arts and culture organizations in all aspects of the plan implementation, and Fund for the Arts will provide administrative support to the Steering Committee and communications to the community.

“It’s exciting to think about what this plan might inspire through its connection to other community plans and priorities,” said Kim Baker, President of Arts & Culture Alliance and President of the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts. “We hope Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 will help bring focus to the fact that arts and culture are essential to raising the entire community up; something the ACA is all about.”

“Arts and culture have the power to transform the region, to help advance a more competitive, economically stronger, more educated, creative and compassionate region,” said Christen Boone, President and CEO, Fund for the Arts. “Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 will be the roadmap that takes our creative community forward in a way that contributes tremendously to our community’s bottom line.”

New York-based Lord Cultural Group led the planning and community involvement effort to create Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, alongside local economic development consultant Eileen Pickett.

New initiatives and integration through the creation of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020


• New Library Artist in Residence program

Opening in early summer 2017, the Louisville Free Public Library’s new South Central Regional Library will feature an artist-in-residence program, The Collider, which will serve to connect the public with an array of artists from across the community. This unique studio space, made possible through funding from Councilwoman Madonna Flood, will provide a welcoming atmosphere that encourages patrons to interact with artists in order to learn about a variety of mediums including: visual arts, traditional crafts, music, dance, digital arts and more.

“The program will allow the Library to provide ongoing experiential learning opportunities that dynamically engage the community. This program also reflects the importance of expanding access to the arts throughout the community, a key strategy for Imagine Greater Louisville 2020. The Collider will be a fantastic example of how arts and creativity can be fully integrated into daily life and accessible to everyone in every neighborhood,” said Jim Blanton, Louisville Free Public Library.

• Proposed Russell Arts & Culture District

“Louisville Central Community Centers hosted the American Institute of Architects’ Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) in 2015 leading to a commercial redevelopment vision for Muhammad Ali Boulevard, between 6th and 21st Streets. SDAT recommendations include emphasizing strategies to create a new arts and culture district in Russell to trigger economic revitalization by connecting our downtown business district to west Louisville. This plan is a critical leverage opportunity for the City’s Russell Choice Neighborhood Initiative, as it will spur creative place-making opportunities along Muhammad Ali to define the district, while advancing the arts as a key economic driver in our community. The plan for the Russell neighborhood aligns perfectly with strategies developed through the community – wide process of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 and we hope this alignment will build momentum to bring the arts and cultural district to life,” shared Kevin Fields, President & COO, Louisville Central Community Centers and a member of the steering committee.

• Art + Health Innovation

Founded on the belief that health and well-being are culturally created, not professionally provided, the Center for Art + Health Innovation (CAHI) is already operationalizing ideas and strategies at the intersection of the art + health in Louisville and beyond.

“We know that arts therapy works well at the individual level, what is less understood is how arts and culture strategies can move beyond the individual and pioneer into the wilderness of unopened life where artists are trained as social entrepreneurs to impact community wide health outcomes and drive policy change,” said Theo Edmonds, Chief Imaginator of IDEAS xLab. “We are seeking to make Louisville and Kentucky a national center of excellence in both practice and research at the intersection of art + health. So, it is significant that we have been able to connect our work to the Cultural Plan which will be important as we begin to bring our work to scale in the coming years.”

CAHI is a strategic partnership between artist-innovation group and creative place making pioneer, IDEAS xLab, Creative Agents of Change Foundation and the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), housed within the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. CAHI’s signature program is Project HEAL (Health. Equity. Art. Learning.) which employs a transdisciplinary perspective throughout its development, implementation, and evaluation. In addition to Project HEAL, IDEAS xLab also has other ongoing health innovation projects with Humana and the Norton Cancer Institute.


• Artist Accelerator

“Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 is focused on mobilizing our arts and cultural communities as a driving force for Greater Louisville. The Community Foundation of Louisville is honored to be a part of this effort, and we are excited to announce a $250,000 commitment over five years to fund a new initiative, Hadley Creatives, a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Mary Alice Hadley, a true ‘creative.’ A five-month learning and engagement experience for local artists led by New York-based Creative Capital, Hadley Creatives seeks to generate long-term impact for participating artists while also helping to cultivate and support a thriving arts community. The Community Foundation of Louisville is a force for good, committed to creating lasting impact and making our community one where people and place thrive. A thriving community is one that attracts artists and creative professionals and nurtures cultural institutions, both new and established,” said Susan Barry, President & CEO, Community Foundation of Louisville.

• Creation of an Independent Artist Association

“Between being Managing Director of Commonwealth Theatre Center and board leadership roles with Arts & Culture Alliance, my professional life is deeply immersed in institutions, but my personal life is associated with artists from across the community. I’ve long felt a disconnect between the two and recognize so much potential for deeper connection and meaningful engagement. Through participation on the Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plan steering committee, it became clear to me that the time is right for a cross-disciplinary artist association that connects opportunities to artists and artists to opportunities. I am helping to launch a new organization deigned to empower and support individual artists and creative professionals through strategic networking, cross-sector collaboration, mentorship, career consultation, pooled resources, practical skill-building, and a digital hub to aggregate opportunities. Through a level playing field and equal access, we will help artists figure out what ‘success’ means to them and then help them achieve it. The Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plan has identified how arts and culture can better serve our community; this new association will connect individual artists & creatives to those initiatives – creating social change through art – authentic, impactful, relevant art,” said Alison Huff.


• Expansion of after-school art lessons and programs

The Neighborhood Art Academy is a proposed pilot initiative that will provide afterschool arts programs in underserved neighborhoods, for those unable to participate in private lessons or without transportation to arts programs.
Integration with JCPS Vision 2020

“Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 directly supports the work of JCPS Vision 2020: Excellence in Equity. With the inclusion of education as one of the key priorities in the plan, the advocacy for arts and cultural experiences help strengthen our efforts to ensure all students are provided with equitable access,” said Suzanne Wright, JCPS Director of Curriculum and Community Engagement.

• Arts integrated training for YMCA staff led by Kentucky Center for Performing Arts
The Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 report offers a vision in which we work together to leverage the resources of the entire community. An early win in this vision can be seen in a collaboration between The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and the YMCA. As a provider of summer camp educational enrichment programs at JCPS schools, the YMCA was interested in deepening their arts integration, particularly with literacy connections. When they asked Christen Boone, President and CEO of Fund for the Arts, she directed them to The Kentucky Center which has been a leader in Arts Integration training. Out of this introduction grew an opportunity in which the YMCA will contract with The Kentucky Center to create a customized professional development training for their staff around arts integration prior to their summer camps and benefiting thousands of students, many of whom attend Title I schools.


• Adoption of a Cultural Equity Statement

The Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 steering committee adopted a Cultural Equity Statement and worked with the Louisville Urban League to provide a diversity training with more than 50 leaders from the local arts community.

“Bias is real for all of us and the good news is once we begin to recognize the bias we carry with us, we can work toward improvement,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, President & CEO, Louisville Urban League. “One of the most urgent priorities that arose out of the community feedback for Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 was the need for greater diversity, inclusivity and equity in and among our arts and culture sector. Even before the plan was finished, local arts and culture leaders came together to participate in a training session to recognize bias and begin to develop strategies for diversity, inclusivity and equity. I am proud to live in a city willing to have tough discussions and openly work towards social and cultural equity for all of our neighbors.”


New Cultural Tourism initiatives at Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Southern Indiana Convention & Tourism Bureaus

• Louisville

“Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 integrates seamlessly and helped to inform the creation of the top leisure tourism initiatives of the Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau,” said Karen Williams, President and CEO, Louisville Convention Bureau. “The strategies identified in the plan will help us more effectively tell the story of the region’s arts and cultural offerings in the context of attracting visitors to our community. To that end, the CVB has launched an aggressive new leisure travel marketing, advertising and sales campaign focused on providing specific suggestions for how the potential visitor can use Louisville as an arts and culture destination and/or experience arts and culture while they are visiting. Customizable 24, 48 and 72 hour ‘Can’t Miss Experiences’ featuring performing arts, visual arts, galleries, cultural events and more are highlighted in advertising placed in our largest feeder cities and bookable directly on the CVBs website. Arts and culture will also be an official part of the approved curriculum in the CVB’s new Certified Tourism Ambassador Program that will officially launch in May. The program is an industry-recognized certification for hospitality and tourism professionals that will help enhance the quality of the arts and culture experience of visitors in our community by making front line industry staff more aware of what the destination has to offer.”

• Southern Indiana

“Arts and Culture broaden and enrich a visitor’s experience. Being involved in Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 helped us appreciate these principles even more. We know that arts and culture give our destination a unique sense of place, so we promote our artistic and cultural offerings. We are in the business of storytelling. We tell our destination’s story, and we engage with visitors to help them create memories and, in turn, tell their own stories. Travel, like arts and culture, has the power to break down barriers and bring people together. In our leisure marketing efforts, we hope to give visitors a space where they can connect with the people they travel with – their family members, friends, business associates – as well as people they meet along the way,” said LuAnne Mattson, Director of Communications, Southern Indiana, Clark-Floyd Counties Convention & Tourism Bureau

• Arts and culture integration into GLI new Talent Attraction Initiative

“Talent is the lifeblood of economic development,” said Kent Oyler, President and CEO of Greater Louisville, Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce. “GLI has participated from the beginning in the development of the Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plan because we know that arts and culture are strong drivers of talent attraction and retention and economic development overall for our region. We are excited that the Imagine plan integrates with GLI’s talent attraction and retention strategy and we are looking forward to the opportunity to build greater alignment and accelerate growth for our community.”