A local arts leader says action taken by the board Fund for the Arts to reprimand CEO Allan Cowen (cow-in) is not enough.
Cowen was rebuked for allegedly threatening the job of Louisville Visual Art Association director Shannon Westerman in a voicemail last month. Westerman and others had published a letter in Business First saying many visual arts groups receive little or no money from the Fund for the Arts.
Visual Art Association board president Benton Keith says Cowen should’ve been fired for his actions, because they’re part of a pattern of bad behavior.
“I know more people will come forward and what I’d like to do is continue to gather facts, and then I think it would be most appropriate to have a face-to-face meeting with the Fund for the Arts executive board, which I’m going to ask to do, once all the facts are gathered,” he says.
The chair of the Fund for the Arts board says he hasn’t heard the same complaints and the board has already made its decision about Cowen. A statement released Saturday says Cowen’s behavior will be professional and appropriate. Cowen did not return a call for comment.
Cowen’s supporters tout the CEO’s fundraising success. But Keith says a better-behaved CEO would do better.
“I think this community has the capability to give a lot more—a significant amount more—than it currently gives, especially to the arts organizations and folks have held back because of the current leadership,” he says.