Kentucky Shakespeare, Paul Owen and More Win 2017 Awards in the Arts

Kentucky Shakespeare, Paul Owen and More Win 2017 Awards in the Arts Individual artists and arts organizations inspiring Greater Louisville and the nation through their art will be honored as part of the second annual Awards in the Arts, presented by Delta Dental of Kentucky and Joy Mangano.

Fund for the Arts, Jennifer Lawrence Foundation and Churchill Downs co-host the awards program and today announced the local award winners.

"Awards in the Arts was created to celebrate Louisville artists who are transforming our city and building a stronger, more vibrant community," said Christen Boone, president and CEO, Fund for the Arts. "Our 2017 local award winners were selected by a committee of artists and engaged community representatives, including last year's Awards in the Arts winners - Wendy Whelan, Edward Hamilton, Teddy Abrams and Jecorey '1200' Arthur, to name a few."

The award recipients will be recognized with an awards ceremony and VIP reception in the Stakes Room at Churchill Downs Racetrack on Saturday, April 29. This event will take place as part of Kentucky Derby Week Opening Night presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester. Opening Night is a partnership between Churchill Downs and Fund for the Arts.

The awards recognize artists from a variety of creative disciplines - performing arts, visual arts, crafts and more. Local awards include the Arts Impact, Arts Innovation, Arts Education, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Emerging Leader in the Arts. Each award winner will take home an original statue created by local artist Brook White and a cash grant.

The local winners of the 2017 Awards in the Arts are:

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 has helped 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's 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.

The national Awards in the Arts winners will be announced at a later date. For more information about Louisville's Awards in the Arts, or to purchase event tickets, visit

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 and supports world-class institutions, community organizations and arts-in-education. Fund for the Arts also hosts ArtsMatch, a crowd-funding program, the nationally recognized NeXt! leadership development program for young professionals, and leads collective action across the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit

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. For more information, visit

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 2017 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 29 -June 30. The track will host the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the ninth time in 2018. For more information, visit

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