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Arts and Humanities Local News

Fund for the Arts Campaign at Midway Point

With the local economy still in a precarious situation as the year ends, the Louisville Fund for the Arts annual fundraising campaign is making some strides and working with arts groups to make many adjustments. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Fund for the Arts president and CEO Allan Cowen says the annual campaign — which is now at its midway point — has fared well despite the economy. The campaign did not set out to top last year’s $8.8 million total or even set a goal, but

Cowen says that navigating a battered local economy has been tricky.

“The downside has to do with there’s some companies that either are different corporate structures now or have different-sized business in Louisville — and how you adjust to that is always a challenge,” he says.

He also has seen employees from many area businesses respond well to workplace fund drives held so far.

“Our fall campaign at places like the [Louisville] Water Company, Baptist [Hospital] East, Norton’s [Hospital] — have all been really stellar,” he says. “They all represent double-digit increases.”

Cowen says the Fund also has worked worked with member arts groups to raise earned income and reduce budgets.

“The 15 percent reduction in expenses has been essentially across the board,” he says. “Virtually every arts group supported by the Fund for the Arts has had to tighten their belts — some even more dramatically than that.”

Cowen says Stage One children’s theatre and Music Theatre Louisville, which merged several years ago, has had to cut its budget up to 40 percent. That contributed to this week’s closing of the theaters’ scene and costume shop.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Fund for the Arts Gets $8.8 Million of $10 Million Goal

The Louisville Fund for the Arts announced the results of its annual fundraising campaign today. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The Fund for the Arts raised $8.8 million this year — falling short of its $10 million goal set before the economic crisis deepened last September. Much of the money raised will go to support its 14 member organizations.

The organization’s president and CEO, Allan Cowen, says the economy was behind the shortfall. He says workplace fundraising dropped and corporate giving fell about $500,000.

“The losses we had to this year had to do with structural changes in some of the businesses as opposed to people cutting back their budgets so much,” Cowen says. “But we met with a company who’d been extraordinarily generous for the past ten years, and they weren’t in a position to do as much this year. Well, how can you complain?”

Cowen says recent annual campaigns have worked to raise the money need to get members’ budget sheets in order. Now that the largest members are in the black, the Fund for the Arts is looking to help Stage One and Music Theatre Louisville climb out of debt in the coming year.

“We only have a couple chunks of— only two organizations that have any operating debt remaining,” he says. “And that’s probably a multimillion dollar change in existence.”

Cowen says the Fund distributed $1 million to member organizations last year to help stabilize their budgets and looks to make $800,000 in grants this year.