Audience Magazine - Louisville Arts & Entertainment - September 2021

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A behind-the-scenes look into Louisville’s performing arts and entertainment during this unprecedented time of reflection and artistic creation.

magazine

SEPTEMBER 2021

Special thanks to our premium sponsors whose support lets us provide this publication at no charge to you.

PNC BROADWAY IN LOUISVILLE Middle School Teacher Shares His Passion for Music and Performance. Page 6 | LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA Female Composers Will Take Center Stage in LO's Upcoming Season. Page 10 | KENTUCKY PERFORMING ARTS Exciting Interview with Comedian Rickey Smiley. Page 20 | FUND FOR THE ARTS Victoria Russell Reflects on Her Career and Leadership with FFTA. Page 24 | STAGEONE FAMILY THEATRE How to Acquire a Commemorative, Single-barrel Bottle of Old Forester. Page 30


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EXCITING SEASONS AHEAD The whole future lives in uncertainty: Live immediately. − Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca

There is no doubt we’ve all been living in varying states of uncertainty since the beginning of the pandemic. As we’ve said many times before, one industry that has been profoundly affected by the rollercoaster of the past year and a half is the performing arts. While some of our initial fears have lifted, and most theaters and concert venues have opened up, we’re still facing a somewhat unknown future. But our local performing arts groups are not to be deterred. They are forging ahead with scheduled shows, and making accommodations as needed to keep both performers and audiences safe. A few traveling acts have rescheduled for 2022 out of an abundance of caution, but the majority of local and national performers are moving forward with their plans to get back on stage.

Amy Higgs Managing Editor

In this issue of Audience Magazine, you’ll read about some of the exciting shows on the calendar for Kentucky Performing Arts and Louisville Orchestra. You’ll also read the inspiring story about Gordon Crawford, a teacher who has dedicated his career to bringing musical performance to middle school students. And you’ll get to know Victoria Russell, the first woman of color to lead Fund for the Arts, and her plans to keep the organization moving toward an equitable future. We’re so proud of Louisville’s theaters and performing arts organizations for their perseverance in the face of adversity, and their ability to pivot on a moment’s notice. We also want to give a shout-out to our advertisers for their continued support, which allows us to bring you this monthly publication free of charge. When it comes down to it, no one can predict the future, so all we can do is live for today. Whatever your choice — going to only outdoor performances vs. wearing a mask at indoor venues, or holding off a bit longer on buying tickets — we hope you’ll continue to stand up for the arts in whatever way you feel comfortable. No matter what uncertainties we face in the future, we are in this together! As the curtain rises,

– The Audience Group

G. Douglas Dreisbach Publisher

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TABLE of CONTENTS SEPTEMBER 2021

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GORDON CRAWFORD

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TAKING CENTER STAGE

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PASSION FOR EQUALITY

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RICKEY SMILEY

AS LOUISVILLE AS BOURBON

A U D I E N C E

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TICKET

GIVEAWAYS

SPECIAL INVITES

SHOW PREVIEWS Stay Connected with Sign up for our e-news and be the first to hear about ticket giveaways, special invites, email news alerts, show previews, reviews and the latest happenings in the performing arts scene in Louisville.

CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE FREE!

A behind-the-scenes look into Louisville’s performing arts and entertainment during this unprecedented time of reflection and artistic creation.

PUBLISHER

The Audience Group, Inc. G. Douglas Dreisbach MANAGING EDITOR

Amy Higgs CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Rhonda Mefford SALES & MARKETING

G. Douglas Dreisbach CONTRIBUTORS

PNC Broadway in Louisville Louisville Orchestra Kentucky Performing Arts Fund for the Arts StageOne Family Theatre

To read current and previous Audience playbills and performance guides, go to issuu.com/audience502. On the Cover: Composer Angélica Negrón will premier a new work with Louisville Orchestra in March 2022. Read about her unique musical process on page 10. Photo by Quique Cabanillas.

GOT AN ARTICLE IDEA? Audience Magazine is a platform for the arts in Louisville. If you have an article idea or something you think we should cover, email ahiggs@theaudiencegroup.com © Copyright 2021. The Audience Group, Inc. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Audience® Magazine is published by The Audience Group, Inc. 136 St. Matthews Avenue #300 Louisville, KY 40207 502.212.5177 | Audience502.com S E P T E M B E R

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GORDON CRAWFORD

THE MUSIC TEACHER WE ALL WISH WE HAD by Daniel Chioco


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s another school year begins, Gordon Crawford reflects on what it means to run a meaningful choral program in the middle of a pandemic. Will there be performance opportunities this year? What happens if classes go virtual? What role does music education play during these times? Despite the unknowns, Crawford continues to focus on one fundamental goal: to help his middle school students discover the magic of music. Crawford is the vocal music performing arts teacher at Fredrick Law Olmsted Academy North. Students in his choirs learn vocal technique, choreography, and drama exercises. Out of Crawford’s three choirs (sixth, seventh, and eighth grade), male singers who show promise are hand-picked to join the Ambassadors, a performance choir with the opportunity to perform in local nursing homes, churches, civic functions, and special events. This young men’s chorus learns a wide variety of music and focuses on the essence of performing. “As opposed to making superstars, it’s learning to perform with passion,” Crawford explains. “Music is a gift. We talk about who’s receiving it (the audience), rather than stardom. It’s an opportunity for the students to express themselves through the gifts that they have been given and to then share that gift with others.” To help students express themselves, Crawford first focuses on the music that grabs his students’ attention. “The repertoire is something that I know is going to spark their interest — something that they can be excited about,” Crawford

I realized, wow, if this experience did this for me, how many kids are just like me that need to have their world opened? I wanted to try to bring that same experience to kids. Hopefully it will change their lives as it did mine.

says, detailing how song selection is a collaborative process with his students. “I encourage students to think from the audience's perspective,” he adds. If a performance opportunity comes up, “what kind of music do you think would move this audience? Then we’ll find songs that will appeal to them. Maybe a spiritual reference for churches. If we’re performing for younger students, maybe it’ll be a song they’ve seen on TV and would recognize.”

FROM JEFFERSON COUNTY TO BROADWAY The start of the 2021 school year marked Crawford’s 34th year of teaching. Many of his former students have had successful music careers in high school, college, and beyond. A few years ago, one of his former students had the opportunity to perform on Broadway. He was in the Tony Awards performance of The SpongeBob Musical.

 Gordon Crawford teaches class at Fredrick Law Oldmstead Academy North. Photo courtesy of PNC Broadway in Louisville.

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Afterwards, Crawford reached out to his student to congratulate him on a successful performance. The student thanked his teacher for fostering his love of music and giving him a solid foundation for his career. But that wasn’t all. “ ‘I’m going to be in town — can I come speak to the kids?’ ” Crawford recalls his student asking. When his former student came to meet with the choirs, Crawford played the Tony Awards performance on the TV. “I want to get them on the path of thinking, ‘Hey, I can do this, too.’ ” The kids were enamored and asked, “What was Crawford like when he was teaching you?” “Expectations were high and are still high,” the former student replied. “He was tough, but everyone knew that he loved us.”

CRAWFORD’S CHOIRS CONTINUE TO GROW, BUCKING NATIONWIDE TRENDS Choirs are shrinking. The trend is perhaps most notable in churches, where participation is down by double-digits, regardless of denomination. But it’s not just places of worship. The decline in choral singing opportunities for children and youth has long been an area of concern for music educators. Even prior to the pandemic, participation has been on a downward trend. In fact, more than one in four educators now say that there is no longer a choir program in their school, according to The Chorus Impact Study by Chorus America. Of course, the prolonged impact of COVID-19 is only making the situation worse. Yet at Olmsted Academy North, choirs are growing year after year because the kids understand the opportunities. Middle school boys, who are typically among the hardest to recruit, are especially interested in joining the Ambassadors chorus. In 2019, the Ambassadors learned five different numbers from Hamilton, the blockbuster musical that tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, a man who overcame a challenging start to his life. “They could all relate to what it means to actually stand up for yourself and to go after something that is not given to you... fighting the odds,” Crawford says. Most of his middle school students had never seen a Broadway stage production. But that all changed when Crawford was introduced to Leslie Broecker with PNC Broadway in Louisville, and the Frazier Museum asked if the kids would like to perform numbers from Hamilton at the museum. “The kids were learning songs from Hamilton faster than I could,” Crawford says, explaining how excited they were about 8

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Gordon Crawford with Kyle Hamilton, a former student who was in the Broadway production of SpongeBob SquarePants. Kyle returned to talk with students about his time on Broadway.

the opportunity. “It also made their social studies teachers happy because the kids were excited to share what they knew from the songs.” The choirs had the opportunity to perform three numbers at the Frazier Museum. Soon after, they were invited to The Kentucky Center to see the full performance on stage. At this point, the middle school had been performing Hamilton for three years. This meant that many of the original students from three years ago had already moved on to high school. Well, Crawford reached out to those high school students and invited them to watch Hamilton with his current choirs. “The high school kids still remembered the lyrics and choreography,” Crawford recalls. “I was just floored. I mean, that was the biggest gift I could receive — watching them watch this.” It was a full-circle experience. The kids loved the musical so much that they started to sing along. For Crawford, it was another teaching opportunity. “You’re in the audience now,” he says. “You’re not performing. Let them perform for you this time.”

ENCOURAGING A LIFELONG LOVE OF MUSIC “I wish that in education, especially in performance and music education, that educators would take more of a stance on what’s going to move the kids first,” Crawford says. “Once you have them, you can then allow the other things [musical styles] you want to teach them feed into their musical background.” A U D I E N C E

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Crawford includes life experiences in his classroom, to make performances real for the students, beyond the onstage glitz and glitter.

In other words, Crawford likes to begin by introducing his choirs to the “music of today that moves them.” Once he has their attention, he moves towards “the teacher’s favorite,” which is typically classical or more traditional choral music.

After getting involved in choir and learning violin in orchestra, Crawford would earn scholarships to Ball State University in Indiana. “It really did change my life, change my trajectory,” he recalls.

"You have to let them know that their music matters,” says Crawford. “When they see that you care, they’ll care about what you want to teach them. It’s less of a struggle. If they can see that you care about what matters to them, you’re going to get a lot more mileage out of your program.”

“I realized, wow, if this experience did this for me, how many kids are just like me that need to have their world opened?” he adds. “I wanted to try to bring that same experience to kids. Hopefully it will change their lives as it did mine.”

Crawford’s philosophy on music teaching continues to pay dividends. His choirs have scored the highest rating possible at KMEA, the Kentucky Music Educators Association. It’s a state assessment where schools bring their choirs to be scored by judges. In addition to performance, the choirs are also scored on sight-reading, which is their ability to sing written music upon first sight. The highest rating indicates that students have the ability to sing classical material, which students call “the hard songs,” and that they also have an excellent grasp on music fundamentals, performance, and overall musicianship.

TEACHING FROM EXPERIENCE AND LIFE’S PERSPECTIVES Crawford has been described as “the music teacher we all wish we had.” For his students, it’s not only his heart and skill, but his personal story that they can also relate to. Growing up, there weren’t many opportunities where Crawford lived, especially artistic opportunities. He was bused to school, where his choral teacher opened up a whole new world. P N C

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“I bring my life experiences as well,” Crawford continues. “I want to make the performance real for them, not just the onstage glitz and glitter, but all the hard work that goes into getting there. When they come here, I hope the kids can just drop all inhibitions and become real. I want them to express themselves the best way they know how.” Aside from his degree in choral and instrumental education, (Crawford is able to play and teach all instruments!), he teaches from experience. Crawford played percussion in marching band. He has performed and toured throughout the Midwest. He performs with the “All That” band, which also boasts two members from the school’s faculty. Most recently, Crawford portrayed Mister in Faith Works Productions’ rendition of The Color Purple at Russell Theater. “I try to give the kids those same experiences,” Crawford says. “These kids need to know they are not stuck in their environment. When they see someone on stage who looks like them, they think, ‘Wow. I can do this, too.’ It can happen for you.” I N

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LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA HIGHLIGHTS THE WORKS OF FEMALE COMPOSERS by Denise Lacey-Corcoran


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ouisville Orchestra has a long history of commissioning original works. In the late 1940s, Maestro Robert Whitney, and Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley, made commissioning and recording new works a priority. The commissioning project was so well-received that LO became the first orchestra to create its own record label, First Edition Records. Perhaps its most famous commission to date is Orchestral Variations, written in 1957 by Aaron Copland. The Louisville Orchestra eventually created nearly 150 records containing more than 450 works by 20th century composers. During its 2021-2022 season, the Louisville Orchestra will continue this tradition by presenting many new works and much music of our time. Most especially, the LO is excited to have commissioned new music by two dynamic female composers, KiMani Bridges and Angélica Negrón. Michelle Winters, LO’s Director of Marketing, says Bridges and Negrón are “the current representatives of this continuum of women composers.” But female composers did not spring out of thin air, she adds. “There have been these unsung, unrecognized, talented women who have worked for centuries in this medium, and now these are the women of our time and they deserve their time on stage. They deserve their chance to communicate with audiences,” says Winters. “I think that it’s important to get their point of view about what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to say.”

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

KiMani Bridges, a Louisville native, will premier a new composition in May 2022, at the Louisville Orchestra's final concert of the season.

She adds that she wished school systems required that at least one piece on each concert be written by a person of color, one piece by a female composer, and one piece by a living composer. She feels that exposing children to more composers, from varied backgrounds, should start at a young age.

“Representation [of female composers] is huge and it matters a lot, so it’s important especially when things have systematically been erased, and with a very clear intent, we’ve been taken out of the history books,” says Negrón. “I think it’s really important to name the names and also sometimes to talk about the experience.”

In addition to Bridges and Negrón, esteemed female composers Valerie Coleman, Louise Farrenc, Lili Boulanger, Gabriela Lena Frank, Clarice Assad, and Hannah Kendall will also be featured during LO’s new season.

“I think it’s amazing that the world is progressing enough to where we’re realizing our mistakes and the groups of people that have been put down and pressured,” Bridges says. “And I think, personally, it should start younger. We shouldn’t have to wait until college or even high school to learn about female composers or people of color composers.”

Angélica Negrón

ABOUT THE ARTISTS Puerto Rican-born composer Angélica Negrón’s music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2), while The New York Times has stated that she has a “quirky approach to scoring” and a “capacity to surprise.”

 Angélica Negrón uses Ototo technology to experiment with sounds.

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“I’m super excited to work with Louisville Orchestra. It makes such a huge difference to be collaborating with an orchestra that does a lot of new music, that is really committed to commissioning living composers. Teddy Abrams is running a very beautiful playground that is there to be explored, which is a composer’s dream.”

− Angélica Negrón

Her many accomplishments include holding the position of teaching artist for New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers Program, commissions from numerous organizations including the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Botanical Garden, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, plus performances at venues including the Kennedy Center, The Ecstatic Music Festival, and Bang on a Can Marathon. She has composed numerous scores for films, including Landfall (2020) and Memories of a Penitent Heart (2016). One of Negrón’s pieces, gone, uses custom-made Bricolo robotic instruments. This piece was commissioned to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the So Percussion Summer Institute.

KiMani Bridges Louisville native KiMani Bridges is an award-winning composer and flutist who currently attends the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Bridges was fortunate to participate in the Loretto Project’s Pathways Initiative Program and Luna Composition Lab. Her many accolades include being the 2020 recipient of NextNotes High School Creator Award and the G. Schirmer Prize. Bridges’ pieces have been performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the University of Louisville, and the New Works Festival at The Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) at DuPont Manual High School. One of Bridges’ pieces, MidNight, written for solo clarinet, premiered on Musaics of the Bay's "Stay-at-Home Symposium,” in February 2021. The composition was inspired by Susana Aldanondo's painting, "Special."

INSIGHTS FROM THE COMPOSERS Audience Magazine recently sat down with Bridges and Negrón to learn more about their influences, their creative process and what advice they would give to aspiring composers. What propelled you into choosing composing as a career? Angélica Negrón: Definitely a curiosity for sounds around me. I grew up playing violin, and even though I was involved in music since I was pretty young, I never knew that you could write music because I never saw a living composer — or played anything by a living composer — when I was growing up. I was just very curious about the sounds around me, including in orchestra... Composing for me is a way to unpack things that I’m not able to articulate with words. So, I think that’s a big reason why I keep doing it. 12

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KiMani Bridges: I started composing during 11th grade. I took a composition class to understand what music was because I was confused about... why music was written. In doing that, I found that I really enjoyed it. It made me understand myself, and music, better. So, I was like, if I like doing this so much, why not just go into it? Why not go into the thing that you understand the most and that makes you feel the most expressive? Are there any female composers who have influenced you? AN: So many! I would say one of the first ones was Björk. Just kind of seeing how, even though she was an experimental pop artist... all the collaborations with orchestras, string quartets, and the very fluid existing in the pop world and also incorporating things from the classical tradition, too, in a way that felt very much like her own. That was really inspiring... And at that time also was Rachel Grimes. Her group was a huge inspiration for me early on and still is. I’m now very lucky to call her a friend... Composers like Pauline Oliveros and her pioneering with electronic music, and also as an accordionist. Meredith Monk, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Julia Wolfe, Tania León. Most of my favorite living composers are women. KB: Every composer I’ve ever met has had an influence on me. The three that I can think of, who influenced me the most, are Ellen Reed, Missy Mazzoli, and Valerie Coleman. Missy and Ellen, I met through the Luna Lab. Valerie Coleman is from Louisville, and she connected with me through Luna Lab, also. I do enjoy their music, but what specifically influenced me, what inspired me from them is just that they’re able to be themselves — how they carry themselves... They always encourage me to go for what I want, be ambitious, to not be afraid of doing it, and if it fails, so what? Are there any specific types of ensembles, or specific instruments/voice types, that you especially like to include in your compositions? AN: I love them all! I really, really, love to write for voices. And also, unusual objects and using them in electronics — so sampling things and recording. I often start with a sound library, collecting sounds from my apartment or outside. I never get tired of hitting a wok or a pot from my kitchen, with different mallets or just manipulating that and seeing where that takes me. That for me is always very exciting. I love writing for strings, too. A U D I E N C E

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Angélica Negrón's piece will be performed in March 2022 at the Festival of Latin American Music. Photo by Catalina Kulczar.

A lot of my music involves electronics, along with acoustic instruments... I’ve been, for the past few years, exploring different ways that you can make electronic music more engaging visually... As part of that exploration, I’ve been using a technology called Ototo, which is capacitive sensing technology. What it does is measure the capacitive of objects, so whether or not they can conduct electricity, basically... I put an alligator clip from this little Ototo synthesizer to either a leaf from a plant, or a cauliflower, or a vase with water. Then when I’m touching the object, my body is completing the circuit, which is triggering a note that I have on my computer. It could really be any sound, it doesn’t matter what object I’m using... I’m really interested in combining different aural and visual layers to open new spaces for people to create their own meanings. KB: I will write for anything. The weirder the better — that’s really fun to do! I like to write for bigger pieces because there’s more instruments that I can do a lot with. I also like really long pieces. I can also do solos. In my opinion, they’re kind of hard to do because you have one instrument... It’s just a different way of thinking. But I’ll do anything! What advice would you give to young musicians who are interested in composition? AN: One of the things that’s really important for me is that they realize that there are many different ways to create music. 14

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That traditional notation is just one way. They can explore many different other ways and they can also move from one to another and they don’t have to stick with one. They can make music in their bedroom with Garage Band recording their voice, using graphic notation, using words, instructions to tell the performers what to do, and with friends in a band... Also, something that might seem obvious for them was, for me, a huge struggle — write the music that you want to write. Sometimes, especially when you’re within the box of academia or studying with someone, it’s very easy to get lost in that and kind of write music that you think others might want you to write. KB: Just do it! Think about this in the most logical way possible. You want to write music, right? So, you’re going to attempt it. You probably think you’re not good at it. You might be, you might not, but you never know until you try it. Also write for yourself when you start writing... because your own opinion is the only one that should matter in the final product...You can be influenced by [other composers] but don’t try to be them... Be your own person. Have your own opinions. Just be yourself and be honest.” For more information on Louisville Orchestra's upcoming concerts and to purchase tickets, click here.

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THE KENTUCKY ARTISAN CENTER AT BEREA FROM 9 AM - 6 PM CAFE IS OPEN FROM 9 AM - 4 PM

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LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA AT HOME Experience the music and unique point of view of two dynamic female composers who will be featured in LO's upcoming season.

 VIDEO: gone by Angélica Negrón

 VIDEO: MidNight KiMani Bridges, Michelle Hromin, Susana Aldanondo

 VIDEO: Negrón’s, Gray Sound Sessions, are a great way to experience her use of Ototo technology.

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As seen in

SPECIAL FEATURE

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KOSAIR CHARITIES:

CHANGING KENTUCKY & SOUTHERN INDIANA by Carrie Vittitoe

It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture what a loved one’s serious health condition could mean for a family’s finances, even with the benefit of health insurance. Ainsley, a toddler who was born with a variety of complex medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, hypotonia, and a genetic disorder called megalencephaly-capillary malformation syndrome, has had more medical care and health care expenses in her short two years than some people have in their entire lifetimes. “You never want to hear something is wrong with your child. We have been sad, mad, angry, anxious, and fearful of the unknown,” says Kelly, Ainsley’s mom. Kosair Charities understands that families 18

with medically fragile children feel this range of emotions, and in response has created the Kosair Kids Financial Assistance Program to make positive change in Kentuckiana and ensure that children like Ainsley get the care they need while also minimizing the financial stress and strain of that care on families. It was through this program that Ainsley was able to get a pediatric “Tomato Chair” for safe eating and playing, even though it was not covered by her family’s insurance. The program is easy to utilize and doesn’t add cumbersome restrictions. “We had a wonderful experience with the application process. It was very simple and painless,” Kelly says.

care. In prior years, the Kosair Kids Financial Assistance program has been able to meet applicants’ needs, but for the first time since the program was begun, its budget has been met. In its last fiscal year, over $350,000 was provided in direct financial assistance. To continue helping Ainsley and other children like her, Kosair Charities is promoting Give for Good Louisville on Sept. 17, and relying on the generosity of donors to help Kosair Charities continue its mission. Every dollar raised on this day of community-wide online giving will provide direct financial assistance to cover medical care, therapy, and equipment so that children like Ainsley can reach their potential.

In the same way that Ainsley’s medical needs don’t wait, neither does the financial urgency of paying for medical

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For more information, click here


Children in our community need you. Funds are running out. Support Kosair Charities during Give for Good Louisville on September 17 to make sure no child goes without the crucial medical care, therapy, and equipment they need to reach their full potential. All proceeds will support the Kosair Kids Financial Assistance Program. Donate now: kosair.org/event/give-for-good-louisville

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AUDIENCE INTERVIEW

RICKEY SMILEY NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO PERSONALITY BRINGS HIS OBSERVATION-STYLE HUMOR BACK TO LOUISVILLE by G. Douglas Dreisbach


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ow that live and in-person shows are back, we’re excited to talk with some of the entertainers who will coming to Louisville to share their stories and find out what we can look forward to about their show. This month, we’re featuring famed comedian, Rickey Smiley, who has performed with the biggest names in the business, appeared in multiple movies and TV shows, and even has a nationally syndicated radio show. Rickey is bringing his “Y’all Goin’ to Hell” tour to the Brown Theatre on Friday, Sept. 10. We can’t wait to check it out!

You really don’t have to get motivated to do stand-up comedy. It’s a great job with some wonderful opportunities, like going to comedy clubs, colleges and theaters all over the country. It’s a lot of fun to travel and is definitely a blessing.

Audience Magazine publisher, G. Douglas Dreisbach sat down with Smiley to get the scoop on his return to Louisville. G. Douglas Dreisbach: You’ve had quite a career so far, performing for some of the legends of comedy, starring on various television shows, including one of my wife’s favorites, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and your own nationally syndicated morning radio show. What keeps you motivated and focused on your career, and ready for the next big thing? Rickey Smiley: I would have to say the light bill, the gas bill, the water bill, the mortgage, college tuition (laughing). No, just kidding. I have been performing for 31 years. I started Nov. 13, 1989, and it has really been a lot of fun. You really don’t have to get motivated to do stand-up comedy. It’s a great job with some wonderful opportunities, like going to comedy clubs, colleges and theaters all over the country. It’s a lot of fun to travel and is definitely a blessing.

GDD: We’re excited about your upcoming show at the historic Brown Theatre on Sept. 10. How would you describe your comedy to someone who has never seen you perform? And what can we look forward to about your Louisville show? RS: It has transformed over the years. Now, I feel like I am just having a conversation when I am on stage. I used to do bits, set up punch lines, and then do the punch line. Now I’m just kind of up onstage having fun and doing a lot of observation humor, talking about myself and things that are going on with me, and things I experience. It is really much easier than it was before, because now I can just be me. With my radio show, I am on the air every single morning, so I get an opportunity to exercise that comedy muscle. The on-stage show is similar but without the commercials. I just go straight through, and it’s a lot of fun.

 Don't miss Rickey Smiley at the Brown Theatre on September 10! Photo courtesy of Kentucky Performing Arts. K E N T U C K Y

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Known as a "clean comic," Rickey Smiley's original characters include “Mrs. Bernice Jenkins,” “Lil’ Daryl,” "Joe Willie,” and “Beauford.”Photo courtesy of Kentucky Performing Arts.

GDD: Who were some of your early influences and mentors that helped shape who you are today and influenced the content in your performances? RS: Steve Harvey was a great mentor of mine, and many other comedians. George Wallace was a great mentor. Also, the people I had an opportunity to open for, starting out my career, too. I have had a lot of great mentors, people to show me the ropes, and people that I’ve worked with, people to look up to for an example on how to perform like Mark Curry and Tommy Davidson, all the guys from In Living Color. It was just an absolute pleasure to have them as mentors, and of course, Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor — you watch all of that in high school, so I had a lot of people to look up to. The bar was set really high. GDD: What have been some of your career highlights that you are proud of?

GDD: Are your shows scripted? Or do you adjust based on the audience reaction? How does that flow? RS: Yeah, I just kind of adjust based on the audience. If I have an audience that is really into it and just perfect, I can probably stay onstage all night. Some audiences may not laugh as hard as other audiences, just depending on what you are doing, so I might have to work a little bit more. It is interesting noticing that northern audience might react in one way, but the further south you go, the reaction can be the opposite. It all depends on the audience. It seems that I always try to play it one way, and end up going in the opposite direction because you get to having fun, and you get off track. GDD: Is the Rickey Smiley we see onstage representative of the Rickey Smiley offstage? RS: Offstage I’m pretty laid-back, chill, watching news and documentaries. Right now, I am watching A&E’s First 48. But onstage, I’m just a totally different person.

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RS: Def Comedy Jam was one of my personal highlights. Having the opportunity to hold the BET ComicView in 2000 and again in 2004. That was a personal highlight. I was on national television every night. Showtime at the Apollo was historical, HBO’s Snaps, and then I got into some TV shows and some movies. So, yeah, it’s been great. It’s been a great run so far. GDD: What do you hope the guests from your Louisville show learn about you that maybe they didn’t know prior seeing you live? RS: I want them to say, “I didn’t know he was that funny,” You can only be so funny on the radio, but I just hope they have a great experience and walk out of there with their stomachs hurting from laughing.

For more information and tickets to see Ricky Smiley on Sept. 10 at the Brown Theatre, visit KentuckyPerformingArts.org.

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VICTORIA RUSSELL IS THE FIRST WOMAN OF COLOR TO LEAD FUND FOR THE ARTS by Julie Engelhardt


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ouisville is the setting for an amazing display of artistic and cultural offerings, including musical and theatrical venues and performances, youth orchestras, ragtime bands, community centers, museums, historical sites, and so much more. All of this is made possible thanks to a long-standing champion of the city’s cultural community, Fund for the Arts (FFTA).

It’s amazing when you stop to think about how FFTA has been a staple in Louisville since 1949. Its founder was Charles R. Farnsley, Mayor of Louisville in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. It is the oldest arts fund in the country, providing more than $172 million in grants, facilities and support for Louisville’s arts groups and programs. For a nonprofit to serve as long as FFTA has, it must continually implement changes that reflect current needs and evolving situations. A significant shift took place earlier this year when FFTA named Victoria Russell as Chair of its board of directors. She is the first woman of color to hold this position. The most recent female chair was Nancy Lampton, President of American Life Insurance Company of Kentucky, who served in 1985 and 1992. Other female Chairs were Mary Norton Shands, who served from 1979 to 1980, Mrs. Dana C. Byck Sr. who served in 1970, and Mrs. Charles W. Allen Jr., who served in 1969. Russell is no stranger to taking on a variety of leadership posts in her hometown. She is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Officer at Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits, and is the first person to hold this prestigious position at the company. In addition to Fund for the Arts, she also sits on the boards of the Chestnut Street YMCA and Leadership Louisville Center.

In summer 2021, the Fund's Cultural Pass offered children free access to experiences at local arts venues. Russell says that one of the next steps is to find ways to transport people to these sites.

ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY Russell grew up on the East side of Louisville and attended Wilder Elementary, Barret Traditional Middle School (her mom was her science teacher at the school), and Ballard High School. Her mother made sure that she and her twin sister, and their older sister, were well-rounded individuals, not only in academics, but also in the arts. “It was really important to her,” Russell says. “Our mom loved the orchestra, and every year we’d go see The Nutcracker.

 Victoria Russell has worked for Humana, Brown-Forman, and Papa Johns, and joined the Fund for the Arts board in 2019. Photo courtesy of Fund for the Arts. F U N D

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Getting involved in how dollars were allocated through our community impact committee was a big passion of mine. I’m still involved in that committee. We are casting a wider net and are more inclusive about the organizations we support. − Victoria Russell

Part of that was due to my grandfather, who worked for BrownForman, and they were the sponsors. They had a family night, which was the dress rehearsal, and we’d go see that.” Russell’s mother also made certain that her daughters knew how to play a musical instrument. “It was just a question of which one,” she says, laughing. “My twin sister and I chose the French horn, but we had to start with the trumpet because we were too little to hold a horn when we first started to play.” They were about 9 years old when they began lessons. Russell went on to attend college at the University of Kentucky and played in the UK band. At one time, Russell had aspirations of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, but then realized how much time she would need to dedicate while in school. She studied business and marketing, receiving her undergraduate degree in marketing and management in just three years. She went on to earn an MBA in marketing.

In late 2020, Russell started getting calls about potential job opportunities. One company was Beam Suntory. She was excited about this possibility as she’d always wanted to return to a career in the spirits industry after leaving Brown-Forman. “I was like, ‘This is a cool opportunity,’” she says. “I loved meeting everyone on the team, but the CEO and his personal commitment to D&I was incredibly refreshing. I had not come across anyone quite as passionate about it and personally committed as well. It wasn’t just, ‘It’s the right thing to do.’ A lot of CEOs and leaders at that level can talk about it, they have the right words, but sensing their personal actual commitment was what was different. So I thought, ‘Yeah, I think I want to do this,’ and I accepted the offer.” She has been in her newest role since January.

MAKING AN IMPACT ON THE ARTS Russell joined the Fund for the Arts board in 2019.

Russell’s first full-time job out of college was for Humana where she worked in compensation and human resources. After that, she worked for Brown-Forman for about a year and a half, then joined Papa John’s in marketing analytics. “I absolutely loved it,” she says.

“I give credit to JP Davis, who was heavily involved with the Fund,” she says. “He has been an incredible advocate of the arts in our community. JP got me really interested in the work of the organization and ways their impact had evolved.”

Her role at Papa John’s took an interesting turn when she was offered the position of Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “I transitioned into this role back during the crisis with everything that was going on with the founder,” she says. “The CEO at the time, Steve Ritchie, handed me a paper one day with my job description. I was terrified, but anything worthwhile is a little terrifying.”

When she first joined the board, the Fund was focused on increasing accessibility as a part of its Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 plan. “There were spaces around diversity and inclusion which spoke to my passions,” Russell says. “Getting involved in how dollars were allocated through our community impact committee was a big passion of mine. I’m still involved in that committee. We are casting a wider net and are more inclusive about the organizations we support.”

Russell adds that she “learned a ton” in that role. She was extremely pleased by the progress the company made, and was proud to be part of one of the most dramatic turnaround stories for a company that size.

When you start reallocating funds to be more equitable and inclusive across the city, you still have a limited number of dollars, she adds. But it’s a challenge worth working through.

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Another challenge the Fund has faced is exploring new ways to raise money. Russell says the board has had good conversations with new CEO, Andre Kimo Stone Guess, about how to be more creative with fundraising. “Historically, a lot of workplace giving campaigns offered a big means of support,” Russell says. “Workplace giving overall is down, so there’s a big push to become more creative.” The younger demographic isn’t donating as much as their older counterparts did at one time. “Getting the community to know what the Fund for the Arts does, why you would want to support it and connecting people into the organizations that the Fund supports is important,” she adds. “That’s why having a variety of sub-organizations is so important, ones that speak to our younger demographic and population.”

FOCUSING ON SUSTAINABILITY AND EQUITY Russell enthusiastically states that she is very optimistic about FFTA’s future. “We are all really excited about Andre as the new CEO and what’s to come,” she says. “I think that with the connection between him and former CEO Christen Boone, he’ll continue to carry the torch. I think the things that were important before are still important.” From an equity standpoint, “we’re working to ensure that is always sustainable and ongoing,” she adds. “We did a lot during 2020 and the commitment to continue to do that is still there, which is exciting.” One program, the Arts and Race Equity Task Force, is now an official committee of the board. “This was established during Christmastime as a listening tour, focusing initially on the Black community,” Russell says. “We wanted to focus on what’s happening within the black community and black artists, trying to create a plan around that. We now have plans to expand that more.” The Fund also wants to increase board diversity and representation for the Sustaining Impact Grant (SIG) organizations that they support. The organization held an interest meeting with other diverse communities and their leaders to ensure they’re successful when they come onto the boards of these organizations. Former CEO Boone implemented a matching program of these diverse leaders with some of the SIG organizations to increase board members. “So instead of saying, ‘Hey, we think you should diversify your board,’ the Fund has definitely made lots of strides to help support organizations and giving them the tools to do that,” Russell says. When asked why arts are so important to and for a community, Russell says, “One of the initial things I would say when I think about bringing people together, particularly with things that have gone on over the last year, is, ‘How can we be a part of some of the healing that happens in the city?’ I think the arts have always been big on connecting people, even from an emotional standpoint — how you express your feelings even.” F U N D

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Fund for the Arts works to provide equitable access to arts education by bringing world-class arts experiences to children in almost 150 schools and community centers. Photo courtesy of Fund for the Arts.

Russell is also very interested in offering more opportunities to expose youth to the arts. “I know, for example, that with the Louisville Orchestra and Teddy Abrams, there’s a lot they’re doing from an education perspective, like with JCPS,” she says. “I’m thankful that I was privileged enough for my mom to take me as a kid to see things like the orchestra, but I think that level of access hasn’t typically existed across the community. How can we increase more access for that, for the kids in the community, and the adults included?” One way is through programs like the annual Cultural Pass, which is offered through a partnership with Louisville Metro Government, Arts & Cultural Alliance, the Louisville Free Public Library, regional public libraries, cultural venues, and the Fund for the Arts. It provides children, and an accompanying adult, with many free opportunities to experience the arts in our community. In 2021, the Cultural Pass offered access to experiences at venues such as the Farmington Historic Site, StageOne Family Theater, the Louisville Nature Center, and the Thomas Edison House. Russell says that one of the next steps is to find ways to transport people to these sites who may not have ways to get there. To learn more, visit Fund for the Arts. T H E

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DOCTOR OF EDUCATION (ED.D.): LEADERSHIP Banking and investment veteran Paul Ratterman wanted to build on his MBA and professional experience by learning in-depth research skills. To do it, he chose Spalding University’s EdD: Leadership program. The result: Banking schools around the country are now eager to read and learn from the research conclusions of Dr. Ratterman’s capstone project titled, “An Exploration of Ethics Education in U.S. Graduate Banking Schools.”

Dr. Paul Ratterman, Ed.D.

Managing Director of Fixed Income Capital Markets for Stifel Financial

“The Spalding EdD program gave me the opportunity to go much deeper into a topic than I ever would have been able to. And the diversity of the program, diversity of the class allowed me to see things from many different perspectives that I would not have been able to before.”

Spalding University Class of 2021

Learn more about our Doctor of Education in Leadership at spalding.edu/edd.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

LEADING ETHICAL AND EQUITABLE CHANGE Spalding University’s EdD: Leadership program provides innovative leadership education with a global mindset. The low-residency leadership program is open to a diverse cohort of professionals who work in a variety of fields, including education, business, healthcare, social services, and the arts. The classes in the leadership program at Spalding University are in a hybrid format. Students attend four annual weekends of in-person instruction, punctuated by a themed panel discussion with provocative leaders. During these residencies, students work collaboratively with instructors, classmates and community practitioners. These on-campus learning experiences are complemented by personalized online instruction that completes each class. The Doctorate of Education in Leadership is a broad-based degree that offers practical application. Doctoral students perform research and help resolve a real-world leadership issue as part of a capstone project. Graduates of Spalding’s leadership program stand out as drivers of change and innovation. They graduate with enhanced leadership skills, advanced academic abilities and enriched lives. S E P T E M B E R

 VIDEO: Spalding University student, Clifton Griffin, discusses his experience in the Ed.D. program

For more information on the EdD: Leadership program, click here.

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AS LOUISVILLE AS BOURBON

STAGEONE CELEBRATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY WITH COMMEMORATIVE BOTTLES OF THE COMMONWEALTH'S FAVORITE LIBATION by StageOne Family Theatre


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f you’ve attended elementary school in Louisville, you’ve likely been to a production at StageOne Family Theatre. Whether you walked through the doors at the Women’s Club of Louisville in the earliest days, at St. Francis of Rome Community Center (now the Holy Trinity Clifton Campus) in the 1970s or the Bomhard Theatre at Kentucky Performing Arts (since 1982), you’ve been a part of the StageOne Family, whether you knew it or not! Even during the past year when theatres were shuttered, we shared virtual programming with over 60,000 students in their classrooms. StageOne is as much a part of the fabric of Louisville as horses and bourbon. This year, we’re celebrating our 75th Anniversary with a special gift for you, a commemorative single-barrel bottle of Old Forester bourbon. The Old Forester Single Barrel program produces a limited number of single barrels each year. Old Forester single barrel is bottled from one individual barrel, so there is no other bourbon exactly like it. “When planning the celebration of our 75th Anniversary, we thought, ‘what better way to celebrate than with the Commonwealth’s favorite libation?’ and we needed a bourbon that was as unique as the experiences that happen at StageOne,” says Andrew D. Harris, Producing Artistic Director. Harris, along with then-Board Chairman Jonathan Riehm and StageOne staff members, were presented with three different barrels ranging in age and rack rows. The StageOne 75th Anniversary commemorative bourbon barrel was selected for its unique nose and robust flavors.

This unique bourbon is marked with a purple wax seal of the 75th Anniversary and comes with a commemorative StageOne 75th Anniversary glass. Photo courtesy of StageOne.

Barrel Host, Tyler Mirt, described the 75th Anniversary Commemorative Bottle as “an ode to oak,” including “rich nose of cherry, ripe banana and cedar with background hints of saline and lemon. The palate is full and viscous with a pleasant bitter oak backbone and textured caramel and cream. Seamless transition to the finish with rich, dark vanilla, charred sweet oak and dry wood tannins. Extremely balanced and drinking

 StageOne will celebrate their 75th Anniversary with commemorative single-barrel bottles of Old Forester bourbon. Photo courtesy of StageOne. S T A G E O N E

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Actress Caisey Cole performing at StageOne's 75th Anniversary Family FUNraiser for young audiences. Photo by Jon Cherry.

beautifully at nearly 6 years old, this single barrel expression is truly a testament to the barrel from which it came.” This truly unique bourbon is marked with a purple wax seal of the 75th Anniversary and comes with a commemorative StageOne 75th Anniversary glass. A limited number of gifts are available for donations of $200 and above made between September and November 2021. Donations to StageOne Family Theatre directly impact accessible programming like in-school Drama Across the Curriculum residencies that align artistic practices for learning with core academic standards, Storytellers performances that promote literacy and social emotional development in the very young, and opportunities for more than 60,000 students to see highquality productions with their classrooms every year.

A HISTORY OF SPARKING THE IMAGINATION StageOne Family Theatre is known throughout the region for sparking the imagination of children and families with transformative theatre experiences that help develop a lifelong love of the arts in our city. Add this special bourbon bottle to your collection to celebrate your own transformative theatre experiences. Then celebrate the many lives impacted by StageOne throughout the years, like Omar Morris, an actor who came to Louisville from Texas in 1997. “StageOne gave me one of the best experiences of my life,” he says of a performance of The Great Gilly Hopkins, directed by former Artistic Director J. Daniel Herring that toured in New York. Omar later met his wife here in Louisville, and became a middle school teacher and theatre director. Lauren Coffey, from the Career Center at Bellarmine University, remembers attending StageOne productions as an elementary school student. “StageOne helped foster my love of live theatre,

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which influenced a decision to get involved in drama programs in high school and college,” she says. “The theatre has shaped me not only personally, but I credit the skills I gained on stage to skills I use every day in my profession as well.” Steele Whitney was a student actor at StageOne who is now pursuing theatre professionally. “Even as a sixth and eighth grader, I knew that everyone that came to see the show would leave it feeling different. Theatre is for all, and StageOne helps to make that into a reality... StageOne Family Theatre is a gem in a very special artistic city.” StageOne Family Theatre 75th Anniversary events kicked off in April 2021 with “Looking Back & Playing It Forward,” a virtual fundraiser and celebration of story. In August 2021, StageOne continued the festivities with an in-person Family FUNraiser. This free event brought performances and activities from across the community to thank families for decades of support. 75th Anniversary activities will continue through May of 2022, celebrating the lives impacted by StageOne. Don’t miss the opportunity to support StageOne’s mission to foster empathy and spark the imaginations of young people and their communities through the transformative power of live theatre by taking home your commemorative Old Forester Single Barrel Bourbon bottle today. Thank you for being a part of our StageOne Family for 75 years. Let’s raise a glass to 75 more!

Donations of $200 or more made now through November 2021 will receive the commemorative gift, based on availability. To make a gift, click here or email stageone@stageone.org.

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An Ode to Oak "Extremely balanced and drinking beautifully at nearly 6 years old...truly a testament to the barrel from which it came"

Make a gift of $200 or more in celebration of StageOne's 75th Anniversary and receive a special one- of-a-kind, single barrel bourbon gift with commemorative glass

www.stageone.org/celebrate-75/ S T A G E O N E

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St. James Court Art Show

EVENTS WE LOVE

ST. JAMES COURT ART SHOW:

ANTICIPATION & EXCITEMENT October 1 - 3, 2021 As we get closer to this year’s St. James Court Art Show Oct. 1-3, excitement is building for what is expected to be one of the biggest, and most anticipated, shows to date. We’re excited to share a few highlights, plus a new feature you can look forward to this year.

RECENT AWARDS The St. James Court Art Show has been awarded not just one, but two awards from Sunshine Artist magazine. The renowned art show has been named the #1 "Best Fine Art and Design Show of the Past 10 Years" and the #3 "All-Time Favorite Best of Show of All Time," as voted on by the magazine’s artist subscribers. View the full announcement by clicking here.

PRINT UNVEILING The unveiling of the second edition in the St. James Court Art Show print series, “A Sense of Place: A Collection of 34

Fine Art Prints” was held Sept. 9 at The Filson Historical Society. This year’s giclee fine art print features a glimpse into the history of one of the Court’s most prominent residences: the Cawein House. It's former owners, Malcolm Bird, Bob Smith, and Jim Perry, were instrumental in the early renovations of many homes on St. James and Belgravia Courts. Their early work launched the preservation movement, Restoration Inc., which resulted in the entire neighborhood of Old Louisville receiving a Historic Preservation District designation in 1974. Artist Mark Bird will discuss the inspiration behind the print series and his 2021 print. This collectible watercolor print series has replaced the annual poster competition previously hosted by St. James Court Art Show, and acknowledges the significance and irreplaceability of the Old Louisville neighborhood in which the show is located. S U B S C R I B E

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SPEED ART MUSEUM EXPERIENCE New this year: The Speed Art Museum Experience at St. James Court Art Show will give visitors the opportunity to walk through an installment reminiscent of Old Walnut Street. (Think of the speakeasy scenes from the Outkast's Idlewild movie or Ms. Celie's Blues from "The Color Purple," but more kid-friendly). Vendors representing Black-owned businesses along the corridor, including a pop-up record shop, will be part of the exhibit. Shauntrice Martin, Speed Museum’s first Community Connections Artist-in-Residence, will curate this installation, which will be live from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day of the art show.

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For more information, visit StJamesCourtArtShow.com.


ST. JAMES COURT ART SHOW OCTOBER 1, 2 & 3, 2021

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

SIX UNIQUE SECTIONS ∙ ONE ART SHOW ST. JAMES COURT ∙ BELGRAVIA COURT ∙ FOURTH STREET ∙ 3RD STREET THE 1300 SECTION ∙ WEST END BAPTIST CHURCH SECTION

64 YEARS OF TRADITION & OVER 600 ARTISTS SET IN BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC OLD LOUISVILLE S E P T E M B E R

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EVENTS CALENDAR Audience is your connection to the performing arts and entertainment of Louisville. Below are some of the events we are looking forward to in the coming months and we hope you enjoy them all!

SEPTEMBER

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A Concert for Unity: Louisville Orchestra Classics Series Teddy Abrams, conductor 8PM, Whitney Hall Tickets & Info

10 Rickey Smiley, Y'all Goin' to Hell Tour 7PM, Brown Theatre Tickets & Info

11 Hayes Carll 7PM, Headliners Music Hall Tickets & Info

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9/19: Jo Koy

19 Jo Koy – Just Kidding Tour Comedy 7:30PM, Brown Theatre Tickets & Info

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9/12: Franco Escamilla

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Franco Escamilla Payaso USA Tour Comedy Performance Fully in Spanish 7PM, Brown Theatre Tickets & Info

14 Sublime w. Rome & Dirty Heads 7PM, Waterfront Park Tickets & Info

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Son Volt w. John R. Miller 8PM, Headliners Music Hall Tickets & Info

Andrew Schulz: The INFAMOUS Tour Comedy 7:30PM, Brown Theatre Tickets & Info

30 Teddy Talks Schubert Louisville Orchestra Classics Series Teddy Abrams, conductor 8PM, Whitney Hall Tickets & Info

NOVEMBER

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Tommy Emmanuel w. Jerry Douglas Guitarist – Songwriter 8PM, Brown Theatre kentuckyperformingarts.org

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Ron White 22 8PM, The Louisville Palace WFPK Waterfront Wednesday Tickets & Info Low Cut Connie (9PM), Slotrust 23 (7:30PM) and Wombo (6PM) Music of Prohibition: Louisville Orchestra OCTOBER Pops Series Bob Bernhardt, conductor 1-3 8PM, Whitney Hall 65th Annual St. James Tickets & Info Court Art Show Old Louisville 24 Come meet your friends from Nurse Blake Audience502 and the arts The PTO Tour community at our booth! 7PM, Bomhard Theatre

11/9-14: Waitress

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Waitress Broadway in Louisville Whitney Hall louisville.broadway.com

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Holiday Pops: Louisville Orchestra Bob Bernhardt, conductor Whitney Hall louisvilleorchestra.org

Tickets & Info

The Second City Remix 8PM, Bomhard Theatre Tickets & Info

For more of our preferred arts and entertainment recommendations, visit Audience502.com/audience-events

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KENTUCKY VACCINE SWEEPSTAKES

Enter to Win: tah.ky.gov

Team Kentucky’s #VaxandVisitKY provides a great incentive to Kentuckians to get their shot of hope: a COVID-19 vaccine! The drawings also raise awareness of how Kentuckians can obtain an appointment for one of the safe and effective vaccines. Eligible Kentuckians who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can register for a chance to win a safe-cation at any of Kentucky’s 45 state parks. Safe-cations include golf, lodging and campground gift certificates.

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