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Louisville Metro seeks proposals for new city arts and cultural plan

A statue of Abraham Lincoln.
Assessing public art, like the Ed Hamilton's statue of Abraham Lincoln, will be one facet of cultural plan.

In 2010, Louisville Metro Government released a 10-year public art master plan. It’s now expired, and the city wants proposals for the next one.

The request for proposal (RFP) asks contractors for a comprehensive cultural plan for the entirety of Metro Louisville.

This plan would outline the next 10 years of not only public art but cultural hubs and partnerships in the city.

“We do want to make sure that we have a strategic roadmap, which is what this comprehensive cultural plan is, in part, designed to do, to identify strategic goals about how Metro can act as a convener for our arts and culture community long-term, no matter who is in this position in this office or in leadership,” said Jessica Bennett Kincaid.

She is the first director of the city’s Office of Arts and Creative Industries, which didn’t exist until last year.

A big part of that office’s work is coordinating with existing arts organizations on the work they’ve been doing for years.

“If you read through the RFP, it does ask those that might submit to this opportunity to review all of the existing plans and things that have emerged from our community partners in the absence of the city government office leading that initiative,” Bennett Kincaid said.

Bennett Kincaid said it was atypical for a city of Louisville’s size to not have an office dedicated to arts and culture. Even without it, the city fostered a robust cultural scene through the work of local organizations.

The Office of Arts and Creative Industries is recognized as Louisville's local arts agency, which gives it access to more funding opportunities from the federal government.

Bennett Kincaid said that funding can be used to support not only the new cultural plan but the ongoing work of existing organizations.

“The major advantage to having that is that those federal funders will make designated local arts agencies eligible for increased levels of funding if they intend to sub-grant it out into the community,” Bennett Kincaid said.

The Office of Arts and Creative Industries partners with the Fund for the Art in this designation.

Bennett Kincaid said the proposal isn’t meant to replace or minimize the work each local arts organization has done.

The new proposal is meant to work in conjunction with the Imagine Greater Louisville 2025 plan, spearheaded by the Fund for the Arts, and Mayor Craig Greenberg’s economic development strategy plan.

“It’s not to reinvent the wheel or start over from scratch. It's really to identify goals and objectives that we are seeing repeated throughout the community by different partner agencies,” Bennett Kincaid said. “And how can we synthesize that into one guiding document for this office as it enters into its second year of existence.”

A large part of the RFP is to create an inventory and map of cultural assets in Louisville.

“Cultural assets can be performance venues, it can be any resources that are available to our arts and culture community and our creative practitioners and culture bearers,” Bennett Kincaid said. “That will be a key piece that comes out of this process is gathering that information and packaging it in a way that is easily accessible and promoted throughout the community so that people are aware that it exists.”

The RFP also asks contractors to include things in their proposals like community feedback sessions, a plan for cultural asset equity and a timeline for implementation.

Bennett Kincaid hopes to find a proposal that will guide Louisville for the next 10 years.

“I think that Louisville is also primed to be a really great example of how arts and culture serve as a vital tool in creating community and opportunities for healing and thriving and economic development,” Bennett Kincaid said. “This will be a place lifelong Louisvillians love to be and feel welcomed and invested in through arts and culture.”

The deadline to respond to the Louisville Cultural Comprehensive Plan RFP is April 5. City officials will review and score submissions before offering a contract to the best submission. City officials hope to get the plan released to the public within 12 months.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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