Caitlin Kannapell and Rachel Mauser are artist entrepreneurs making a difference in Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood. In 2014 they combined forces to create Steam Exchange, a small nonprofit organization that is making a big impact on those it serves.

The Steam Exchange is a community arts organization where people of all ages and socioeconomic levels have access to tools and training to produce creative works. Its mission is to facilitate passion-driven learning experiences where individuals explore the arts through creative play and production. It uses the arts as a platform for young people to engage with concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in innovative ways (STEAM). Steam Exchange aims to foster a sense of community, pride and ownership in the Smoketown neighborhood and to encourage community-based creative entrepreneurship by connecting people with the skills and facilities to develop quality projects.

Caitlin and Rachel first approached the Norton Foundation a few years ago and have received operational grant funding. However, the Norton Foundation is keenly interested in recognizing and rewarding start-up organizations with a unique mission and positive outcomes. In 2017 the foundation provided a one-time grant to Steam Exchange to support the entrepreneurial spirit of Caitlin and Rachel and help them build organizational capacity to continue the organization’s growth and impact.

If you have a chance, check out the pictures on the website ( that show the joy Caitlin and Rachel are bringing to Smoketown youth. They are passionate young women who know how the arts transform lives. Keep your eye on these two – they are hometown heroes.