Arts and Humanities Local News

After Tumultuous Year, Fund for the Arts Prepares for Next Campaign

This week, the Fund for the Arts will launch its first fundraising campaign under new leadership.

Fund CEO Allan Cowen retired during last year’s campaign. He was accused of bullying certain artists and the fund was criticized for favoring performing arts over visual arts. Interim CEO Barbara Sexton Smith took over after Cowen left and is still at the helm. She expects to handle all of the campaign’s responsibilities until the search for a permanent CEO is complete.

“Our board is more engaged than ever,” she says. “I’m very pleased with the activity of our board members and I know they will get to conducting the search when the time is right but for the time being we are very focused on this audacious plan and this extreme goal.”

Visual artists said last year that the fund favored the performing arts for allocations. A review determined that the fund should be more relevant, innovative and evolutionary. Some steps have been taken to remedy that. For instance, if an arts organization finds a new business to make payroll contributions to the fund, that organization will get three quarters of all the money that business donates.

But the fund hasn’t addressed all of its critics. Artist Craig Kaviar recently called for ten changes to the Fund for the Arts in a letter to the organization’s leadership. A panel put together by the fund is reviewing the budget and allocation processes. Sexton Smith says the panel will suggest change during the campaign, and the fund will try to adjust.

“It’s an evolutionary process,” she says. “That’s the third thing the community asked of the fund was to be revolutionary and change with the times. So we will continue to evolve.”

The goal for this year’s campaign has increased 25 percent, to $9.2 million. The campaign kickoff is Tuesday at noon.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Artists, Advocates to Protest Fund for the Arts

Artists and arts advocates, who have been outspoken about his frustrations with the Fund for the Arts CEO Allan Cowen, will demonstrate outside the fund’s offices later this week.

Complaints about Cowen have increased after a message he left the unsatisfied director of the Louisville Visual Art Association became public.

The protest is being organized by artist and gallery operator Craig Kaviar. It will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on Friday.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Local Artists Hold Fundraiser for Haiti

A group of Louisville artists will have a silent auction at a local gallery tomorrow to raise money to send medical equipment to Haiti. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The artists are part of Burners Without Borders, a relief group that grew out of people who attend Burning Man, a festival in Idaho that focuses on self-reliance and creativity.

The organization formed to first volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and it’s since grown to include projects across the country and overseas.

Now, local members of the group — including Karine Maynard — are trying to raise money to fuel a plane the organization is using to fly donated medical supplies from Florida to Haiti.

“It costs $1,000 for a plane to go from Fort Lauderdale and return,” she says. “And as many planes as we can possibly get sending equipment, we wanted to support.”

Maynard helped organize tomorrow’s event.

“We’re having a silent auction. There’s going to be entertainment, music. There’s going to be donation jars there for the public. Local businesses are donating items,” she says. “And all the donations that come to Burners Without Borders go directly back out and it’s 100 percent volunteer work.”

Maynard says the event will include a variety of work.

“We have artists donating anything from something very small — handcrafted items or hand painted boxes for example — all the way up to Craig Kaviar has donated a wrought iron table,” she says.

The fundraiser starts at 5 p.m., Saturday, at Gallery Exvoto at 634 East Market St. in Louisville.