Join us for arts-centered community conversations that challenge tradition, question social narratives and invite varied perspectives.

View information about our past Awakenings events below:

Subordinated. Marginalized. Internalized.

Often lauded as a delightful sexual farce, The Marriage of Figaro initially served as commentary on the power of the privileged.

Join us as we look at the systems in place in our society that perpetuate injustice, and the layers of obstacles that repeatedly put people at a disadvantage.

Embedded into classism is the exclusion of peoples. How can equitable opportunity benefit a community?


Holly Houston, Family Court Lawyer
Kelly Kitchens, Stage Director
Everett McCorvey, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre
Edgardo Mansilla, Americana World Community Center
Sadiqa Reynolds, Urban League
Stacy Ridgway, Kentucky Performing Arts, Access Services
Kellie Watson, Metro Louisville, Office of Equity and Diversity

Additional partners:

University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research
Center for Rural Development
Legal Aid

Performances by Jecorey “1200” Arthur.

Kentucky Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro will feature period silhouette costumes* that are crafted from denim and jean fabrics. Select pieces will be on display alongside historic denim from the Historic Locust Grove archive. As we discuss classism, we will look at the evolution of the textile; how it went from a working class fabric to being more accepted in fashion and society.

* Costumes originally constructed by New Zealand Opera.
Additional costumes constructed by Seattle Opera Costume Shop.

Privileged Systems: Perpetuating Injustice
Tuesday, January 21, 6:30—8:30
Hosted by Historic Locust Grove

561 Blankenbaker Ln, Louisville, KY 40207

Program is free of charge and open to the public with RSVP.

How do you return home from war when the world has left you behind?


Neglected by his country, forgotten by his young children.

Upon returning home from Vietnam 9 years after his capture, Thompson was greeted only by his wife, Alyce. Glory Denied is the achingly beautiful story of Jim and Alyce’s painful reunion in the aftermath of war.

Their story inspires us to understand the experiences of our local combat veterans. How do they want to be welcomed home? How do they integrate from military to civilian life? How can we support them in this process? How can the arts help to share their stories?


Don Parrish & Tom Raisor, Veterans of Battery C
Carolyn Furdek, Veteran and Author, Locked-In
Jeremy Harrell, Founder / Chairman of Veteran’s Club and also Co-Chair of VCAL; Kentucky Veteran of the Year
Heather French Henry, Veterans’ Advocate
John Miles III, Veteran Coordinator, Office for Veterans, Louisville Metro Government
Joseph Mechavich, Opera Conductor and Kentucky Opera’s Artistic Advisor

Special Invited Guests:

Betty Stone, Spouse of Battery C Veteran, Skippy Stone
Jeff Thoke, Honor Flight Bluegrass
Lindsay Gargotto, USAF Veteran; Athena’s Sisters Founder

With performances from the cast of Kentucky Opera’s Glory Denied.

Welcoming our Heroes Home: Bridging the Divide
Tuesday, October 1

5 pm — Informational resources for Veterans
6 to 8 pm – Interactive panel discussion and performances

In partnership with and hosted by The Frazier History Museum

Frazier History Museum
829 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Free admission and pizza courtesy of Papa John’s Veteran Employee Resource Group
Follow the conversation at #GloryDenied

Unblaming Carmen:
Harlot. Seductress. Wild Gyspy.
How do female stereotypes vindicate perpetrators and blame victims?

Bullied. Threatened. Murdered. Blamed.
Carmen’s story will help us understand intimate partner violence, intimidation, and domestic abuse. What local resources are available to those affected? How do we become better informed advocates for them? And how can art help share their stories in a safe environment?

Mary Sue Barnett, Louisville Coalition for CEDAW
Diana Dinicola, Flamenco Louisville
Gretchen Hunt, Director, Office of Victims Advocacy, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
Amy Leenerts, Free2Hope
Elizabeth Wessels-Martin, Center for Women and Families
Elizabeth Batton Sorensonmezzo-soprano
SGT Tim Stokes, SVU-Sex Crimes Unit, LMPD Major Crimes Division

With insights into artists’ interrogations of conventions surrounding women and labor as seen in the Labor&Materials exhibition currently on view at 21c Museum Hotel.

Program is free of charge & open to public with encouraged RSVP.
Follow the conversation at #Carmentoo

21c Museum Hotel Louisville, Gallery Two
Free and open to the public