LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS) -- It's opening night at Churchill Downs, kicking off one of the biggest weeks in horseracing and in Kentucky.

"One week from today, this place is going to be popping with 170,000 people," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.

While Churchill Downs may be known more for what happens on the tracks, Saturday evening's Awards in the Arts was about more than horseracing. It was about celebrating the artists, like award recipient Linda Bruckheimer, who help define the Bluegrass State.

"I love being able to represent Kentucky. I mean there's no better place," she said. "I grew up here. I was fortunate enough to be able to come back here and to be around people who love it as much as I do. There's nothing better than that."

Among those in attendance was a familiar face in actress and Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence who was back in her hometown supporting her fellow Kentucky artists.

"Our arts community is as good as anywhere in the world," Fischer said. "And so it's wonderful for them to get that recognition, be on the stage with an international celebrity that's our hometown girl Jennifer Lawrence and all the graciousness and hospitality she's provided as well."

"This city's been great about taking care of its arts enclaves of music and visual arts and Jennifer's been so great for boosting up the idea that we need to protect the arts," Terry Meiners, the host of Great Day Live and 840 WHAS, said.

Bruckheimer, who was honored with the Unbridled Charitable Foundation Inc.'s National Arts Advocacy Award, walked the orange carpet with her husband, famous Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who told WHAS11 he was excited this time, it was his wife who had to give the speech. Linda Bruckheimer said being married to another creative mind makes her all the more cognizant of how important it is to have support from fellow artists.

"I know everybody needs that encouragement and rapport and it just magnifies it when people are all together," she said.

All the proceeds from the event go towards the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund.