Families are invited to celebrate dads on Saturday at the Fatherhood Arts Extravaganza in Louisville..

The event, hosted by Louisville’s Healthy Start program, aims to honor fathers through various forms of art — including visual art, poetry and live music — and shift the narrative about dads.

Regina Moore is Healthy Start’s community outreach coordinator and one of the organizers of the event. She said good fathers can promote healthy development in kids.

“We’re trying to bring the men back in the picture,” Moore said. “Once they get a taste of something that makes them feel special, and we start to change how they think and they start to know that they matter, they start to do differently.”

According to a news release, Louisville’s Healthy Start has served more than 10,000 children since it started in 1998. The program served more than 800 children last year, per the release. It focuses much of its work in five West End ZIP codes — 40203, 40208, 40210, 40211 and 40212 — where the infant mortality rate is double that of the Metro area as a whole.  

Saturday marks the second Fatherhood Arts Extravaganza. The first event, held in 2017, attracted around 40 people. Moore said Healthy Start has struggled with federal funding. She said their budget gets smaller each year and they’ve had to cut back on marketing, which she said contributes to lower turnout at their events.

“It decreases every year. And although the grant decreases every year, expenses go up,” Moore said. “So you always can’t do what you need to do.”

She said this year’s fatherhood extravaganza will cost around $600, but yearly staff salary increases and limited donations make her unsure if the event will return next year.

Moore said people should support programs like this because the work could be saving lives.

“It’s a matter of life and death if you don’t, because our children need dad[s],” Moore said. “Let’s support them. Let’s just do it and make a difference, and things will start to change.”

The second Fatherhood Arts Extravaganza is Saturday from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness at 400 East Gray Street.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.