A scene from last year’s Awards in the Arts | Photo by John Nation, courtesy of Fund for the Arts

Awards in the Arts — Louisville’s version of the “artsy Oscars” — once again will be held during opening night of Churchill Downs at a fancy VIP ceremony featuring major artists and proponents of the arts in Louisville and beyond.

Fund for the Arts, the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation and Churchill Downs created Awards in the Arts in 2016 to celebrate artists and organizations.

Stephen Gaghan | Photo by Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times

The awards recognize both national and local talent, and leading this year’s winners are Louisville native and screenwriter/director Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic,” “Gold”) as well as actor Tim Daly (“Wings,” “Madam Secretary”). Gaghan won the Delta Dental of Kentucky National Award in the Arts for his contributions to the film industry.

Daly won the Unbridled Charitable Foundation Inc. National Arts Advocate Award for his work with The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit arts advocacy group.

Local winners include Kentucky Shakespeare for the Bobby Petrino Family Foundation Arts Impact Award; the Louisville Story Program for the David Fenley (founder of UpStartU) Arts Innovation Award; and the La’Nita Rocknettes School of Dance for the Yum! Brands Arts Education Award.

Rachel Mauser

Actors Theatre resident designer Paul Owen was given the Ronda Gordon Foundation Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award for his work with the company from 1971-2009, designing sets for more than 1,500 productions in 38 seasons.

Letterpress artist and co-founder/co-director of Smoketown’s Steam Exchange Rachel Mauser received the Lift A Life Foundation Emerging Leader in the Arts Award.

The awards will be handed out Saturday, April 29, during a sold-out ceremony at Churchill Downs. However, general admission to the track that night is $10, and those interested in the awards can check out art performances and installations throughout the track and watch the awards on the Big Board between races. The first race starts at 6 p.m.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). 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."