Little Foundation gives $5 million to arts

Lexington Children's Theatre artistic director Vivian Snipes shared a laugh with Lucille Caudill Little at a 1997 event that was a prelude to the construction of the the theater's Short Street facility. © Lexington Herald-Leader photo by Rob Sumner.

Lexington Children's Theatre artistic director Vivian Snipes shared a laugh with Lucille Caudill Little at a 1997 event that was a prelude to the construction of the the theater's Short Street facility. © Lexington Herald-Leader photo by Rob Sumner.

The Lexington Children’s Theatre has won a $2.5 million endowment from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation to fund its Shooting Stars Youtheatre program in Elliott and Rowan Counties.

Lucille Caudill Little grew up in the Eastern Kentucky counties around Morehead and was an active artist and arts philanthropist in Lexington for most of her life. The Little Foundation has continued to be a significant supporter of the arts in Central and Eastern Kentucky since her death in 2002.

The Children’s Theatre gift, along with a $2.5 million endowment to fund arts scholarships at Morehead State University, which was announced Tuesday, constitute the largest gift ever granted by the foundation.

In a news release, LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said the Children’s Theatre gift, “sets the bar for philanthropic support of the arts in Kentucky. This investment in the Children’s Theatre affirms its importance in the cultural life of Fayette, Rowan, and Elliott Counties.”

Shooting Stars, which has been funded by a $100,000 annual grant from the Little Foundation, presents workshops, theater schools, in-school residencies and performances and summer programs that LCT says have reached more than 35,000 children in Eastern Kentucky. The endowment will replace that grant, which the theater had to apply for annually, with approximately $125,000 a year in perpetuity.

“We are honored that the Little Foundation is entrusting Lexington Children’s Theatre with Mrs. Little’s legacy of providing arts education to young people,” Children’s Theatre executive director Larry Snipes said in the release. “The Shooting Stars Youtheatre in Rowan and Elliott counties will live on as a lasting tribute to her lifelong dedication to the arts.”

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