Allan Cowen

Michael Newton Award
1992

Allan Cowen was appointed executive director of the Fund for the Arts in Louisville, KY, (the oldest united arts fund in America) in November 1976, and in May 1982 was named president and CEO. In his first campaign in 1977, the Fund raised more $600,000; in 2003, the amount raised exceeded $7.6 million. Donors to the Fund have also increased from 5,000 in 1976 to more than 30,000 in 2003. In celebration of the Fund's 40th birthday in 1989, the Fund purchased and renovated its own riverfront office center, made possible by gifts from three Louisville arts patrons. As well as housing the Fund offices, the building serves to augment the Fund's income stream through commercial rentals. In 1997, the historic Brown Theatre was deeded to the Fund and Cowen developed its restoration and revisioning plan and oversaw the capital drive to raise $4.3 million for the project. This restoration was recognized by a Louisville Cornerstone 2020 Award, a preservation award from the Louisville Central Area, and the Louisville Historical Society's Downtown Preservation Award. In 1992, Cowen received the highest award given by Americans for the Arts, the Michael Newton Award, for excellence in united arts fundraising. In 1998, he was just the second recipient of the newly-established Hugh Finn Community Service Award in the Arts. In 2000, he also received, on behalf of the Fund, the 1999 Governor's Award for the Arts, Pioneer Award in celebration of the Fund's achievements over its 52-year history.