On Monday morning, Mayor Greg Fischer and members of the arts and cultural community announced that this year’s Cultural Pass for youth would include a record number of organizations offering free or discounted activities.
Passes to youth under 21 are now available for pick up at all Louisville Free Public Library branches and Metro Louisville Community Centers. Thirty-eight venues are offering Cultural Pass deals.
All youth need to qualify for a Cultural Pass is a library card. One adult will receive free entry per visit when they accompany a youth under 16. The 2017 Cultural Pass is sponsored by Churchill Downs, in partnership with Metro Louisville, Fund for the Arts, Arts and Culture Alliance and LFPL.
Christen Boone, chief executive of Fund for the Arts, said the goal of the organization was similar to the goal of the pass, “To bring more art to more people in more places.” Fund for the Arts is a new partner, thanks to Churchill Downs, she said.
Youth can sample classes at the Louisville Ballet School or see a show at the planetarium or visit a handful of historic sites.
Part of the goal of the pass, which was created during the city’s 25-year plan Vision Louisville initiative, is to combat summer learning loss. The mayor cited studies that say it can take children anywhere from four to six weeks in the fall to catch up to the learning level that they were at when school let out in the summer.
Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (D-2), speaking to the children in the audience said, “I don’t want you standing in front of the community center saying ‘we don’t have anything to do.’ ”
Mayor Fischer said, “That’s the voice of love right there.”
More than 50,000 children enrolled in the program last year. Youth who visit at least five of the participating venues are eligible for T-shirts, raffles and additional tickets and memberships. Registration is also available online.
LFPL’s Director Jim Blanton also announced the summer reading program, which is superhero-themed this year. That program will kick off on June 3 at the Main Library. Students who enroll will receive a free backpack (this year’s pack has a built-in cape!). The Louisville libraries are also offering around 450 different programs this summer, he said.
“There’s no reason to say ‘I’m bored’ this summer,” said Mayor Fischer.