Local artists and art groups will take over Churchill Downs on April 29. | Courtesy of Fund for the Arts

Calling all Louisville artists and cultural groups who specialize in live performances and installations: Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs would like you to participate in their annual celebration of local arts — which also serves as Churchill Downs’ opening night — by submitting proposals by Feb. 13.

Sponsored by Old Forester and Stella Artois, the second annual event will take place at the racetrack on Saturday, April 29, and it’ll once again feature more than 200 artists in various mediums. Along with kicking off racing the week before Derby, the celebration helps raise money for Louisville’s arts community and includes the Awards in the Arts ceremony.

A scene from last year’s Opening Night | Courtesy of Fund for the Arts

What’s different about this experience is the artist can choose where’d they like to set up and work or perform — from the Infield to the Paddock and even a “roving” option where you can wander throughout the complex. Also, the artists selected will be compensated for their work.

“We are monetarily compensating artists for any work they do, and hoping the arts (and the artists) can gain a wider audience by doing so,” says artist coordinator Mo McKnight Howe (who also owns Revelry Boutique Gallery). “This event began as a way for Churchill Downs and Fund for the Arts to engage local artists and benefit them while bringing transformative arts experiences to horse racing fans who otherwise may not experience our world-class arts community.”

Those interested should read the instructions below and submit their proposals to McKnight Howe by midnight on Feb. 13. Her email is [email protected].

Proposal and Submission Specifications (as provided by the Fund for the Arts):

Event Overview & Goals
Artists are invited to submit a short proposal to participate in Churchill Downs’ Opening Night celebration of the local arts community to kick off 2017 Derby Week. The Opening Night performances/installations will be live and take place throughout Churchill Downs racetrack on April 29, 2017. Live horse racing will take place on the track throughout the evening.
The goals of the Opening Night arts celebration are:
  • Celebrate the local arts community and kick off Derby week.
  • Entertain and expose Opening Night patrons to the arts in our community through interactive and exciting performances.
  • Raise money for the local arts community.
Required Specifications
Proposals must include the following:
  • 1-2 paragraph description of performance or installation (photographs, drawings and links are welcome)
  • Performance or installation location at the racetrack (see below for examples)
  • Detailed budget, including time, materials, rentals, transportation, etc.
Format & Submission
  • Submit PDF, JPEG and Word proposals to Mo McKnight at [email protected].
  • Submit non-electronic proposals to the Fund for the Arts offices located at 623 W. Main St. with attention to Mo McKnight Howe.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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