Arts and Culture

Louisville’s Cultural Pass program is expanding and will now offer youth free arts and culture experiences all year.

Officials announced Thursday that a donation from Republic Bank helped fund the expansion of the program, which previously was only offered during the summer. It offers residents under age 21 a chance to visit museums and cultural institutions for free, in an effort to prevent learning loss among youth.

Performing arts venues are included in the program, too. StageOne Family Theatre Artistic Director Idris Goodwin says exposure to art was essential to his growth.

“My whole life — it’s been paved by the arts. It’s why I do what I do now. But it’s not just because of that, it’s also made me who I am — the values that I have as a human being,” Goodwin said. “The performing arts are such a rich and compelling, and important and transformative, tool to just awaken all of the range of social and emotional — and creativity — that lives inside our young people.”

The program was started by the Louisville Metro Council in 2014 but it is managed by the Fund for the Arts. According to a press release, last year children used the pass for more than 35,000 arts and cultural visits; low-income children accounted for 14,000 of those visits.

“With the expansion of the program, Cultural Pass is poised to have a greater impact on the lives of more young people,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement.

The program is available to residents of Jefferson and Bullitt counties, as well as children in Southern Indiana’s Floyd, Clark and Harrison counties.

Other arts venues taking part in the expansion include the Actors Theatre, Louisville Ballet, StageOne Family Theatre, Commonwealth Theatre Center, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Orchestra, and the Louisville Free Public Library.