Fund for the Arts and the Imagine Greater Louisville 2025 Steering Committee in partnership with PBS, KET, The Muhammad Ali Center, and Louisville Metro Government are announcing the resurgence of the transformational Imagine Mural Festival, which had its inaugural year in 2019.
The new Imagine Mural Festival will bring together collaborative teams of interdisciplinary artists to create multimedia art installations in the downtown Louisville blocks adjacent to the Muhammad Ali Center.
The festival will coincide with the premiere of PBS’s new Muhammad Ali mini-documentary series celebrating the life and legacy of Louisville’s own Muhammad Ali. The new four-part documentary is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns and will air on KET on September 19-22, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.
The festival’s interdisciplinary murals will be created in the weeks leading up to the PBS premiere and will be unveiled at a festival event on September 18, 2021, part of an Ali Premiere Week series of events that will also include a free in-person screening event hosted by KET and the final national virtual conversation around the film.
The central theme of this year’s Imagine Mural Festival is We are the Home of the Greatest…, which celebrates the legacy of Muhammad Ali, the city from which he hailed, and the only place in the world that is charged with preserving and sharing his legacy with the world.
“Ali is known all over the world as the G.O.A.T., the Greatest of All Time, and our city has the honor to claim him as a native son,” said Andre Kimo Stone Guess, President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts. “With this festival, we are excited to celebrate Ali’s legacy while also spotlighting the continuum of greatness that emanates from his hometown to this day.”
“The arts are the soul of our city, and we are blessed with an amazing array of brilliant and compassionate artists who love their hometown – just as Muhammad Ali did,” said Mayor Fischer. “I look forward to seeing the fruits of this effort to connect The Greatest with the greatness of our city’s diverse artists and creatives.”
Jeanie Kahnke, Senior Director of Public Relations and External Affairs for the Muhammad Ali Center said, “We are pleased to partner with Fund for the Arts, PBS, KET, and Louisville Metro Government to bring this festival to life. This is a perfect opportunity to share the six core principles that Muhammad embraced throughout his life and to celebrate his local and worldwide impact through art right here in his hometown.”
The 2021 festival is the second iteration of the Imagine Mural Festival, which had its inaugural year in 2019. The festival grew out of the Imagine Greater Louisville cultural plan and it showcased local, national, and international artistic talent by bringing a variety of traditional murals to Louisville’s historic Smoketown neighborhood.
Earlier this year, the Fund for the Arts and a cross-sector team updated the Imagine Greater Louisville cultural plan to ensure that it adequately addresses the current and future needs of the community as we work to heal and rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic and the undeniable call for racial equity in our city.
“As we work to heal our community and rebuild our connections after more than a year of isolation, it is important that this iteration of the mural festival be highly collaborative,” said Guess. “We are inviting artists of all disciplines to participate as we bring a multimedia experience to downtown Louisville’s public spaces.”
Murals will be one element of collaborative multimedia works of art created during the festival. The additional elements of the multimedia artwork will be connected and shared online via QR codes.
Groups of artists from diverse backgrounds and arts disciplines (including visual, literary, spoken word, poetry, music, and film) are invited to apply to create murals and associated content that will address the festival’s theme by amplifying and celebrating the six core principles that Ali lived and embraced throughout his life: confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, giving, and spirituality.
This is a call for interest and qualifications only. Applicants should not pre-identify a site for their work or present a final concept for a mural or other artwork at this time. Applicants should be prepared to provide a statement of intent to collaborate and an interest in the festival’s theme along with sample images or videos of previous work.
If selected to participate in the Imagine Mural Festival, applicant teams will submit a proposed concept and final budget for an interdisciplinary artwork specific to a site identified by the festival’s committee.
The deadline for collaborative artist groups to submit their application of interest and qualifications is August 1, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit fundforthearts.org/muralfestival
About Fund for the Arts Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund is a convener, promoter, leader, and driver of Imagine Greater Louisville 2025, the region’s arts and cultural plan. It facilitates the largest arts grant program in Kentucky as well as conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country. For more information, visit