Arts and Culture

The Louisville-based Fund for the Arts named a veteran, local fundraiser this week as the organization’s new vice president.

J.P. Davis, who currently serves as the director of major gifts at the University of Louisville, will join the group next month.

The Fund for the Arts is the oldest united arts fund in the country, allocating 513 grants to more than 162 schools and community organizations across the region. It has raised over $180 million since its establishment in 1949.

Davis said he hopes to help re-focus the arts group’s fundraising strategies.

“My role will be really focused on major gifts, and really trying to create a planned giving program and just kind of expand out fundraising efforts a little bit in areas that aren’t really in place yet, which I am really excited about,” Davis said.

He grew up in Ashland, Kentucky and moved to Louisville 14 years ago to study public policy at the University of Louisville. His degrees pointed him towards political work in Washington, D.C., but upon finishing his graduate degree, he took a job with the philanthropist Owsley Brown Frazier. That job changed his life.

“That’s what really opened the doors to me as far as fundraising goes,” Davis said. “I really developed a love and a passion for fundraising because what I’ve learned is that in order to really spark change in a community you need to go out and find resources and make it happen.”

Davis said he has always appreciated Louisville’s array of arts programs. And he pointed to his new opportunity to work with the Fund for the Arts as a perfect match.

He views the cultural community as part of the fabric of the city, which separates Louisville from other cities in America.

“The more we can do as a society to promote culture and arts and individuality and humanism—the more that we can really offer these opportunities, especially to students who don’t have access, especially those at-risk students, the better we’re going to be off as a society and community,” Davis said. 

Correction: This story has been changed to properly identify Owsley Brown Frazier.