Arts center proposal lauded at public hearing

August 20, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Put the arts in the Federal Building and it will draw people and their dollars downtown.

That was the message of those who spoke Tuesday at a public hearing for a $250,000 Renaissance Kentucky grant application that would be used to renovate the building into a community arts center.

More than 60 people attended the hearing and all were in favor of the center. A decision on the grant is expected before Gov. Paul Patton leaves office on Dec. 31, said Julie Wagner, local Renaissance Kentucky manager.

"Sports have stadiums and we have Millennium Park for people to get outside, but there has never been anything outside Centre's campus that says the arts are important," said Dana Dixon, a graphic artist.


To be eligible for the Renaissance money the project must have a life span of 20 years and impact the revitalization of downtown.

"We would be recycling the most magnificent structure in town," artist Virginia Robertson said.

The center's board of directors wants to turn the building space into a gallery space, reception hall, artist's studios, art classrooms and a coffee shop.

Those who spoke at the meeting said that the center would bring all the city's arts programs in town to one central location that would then draw more people to the arts and to downtown businesses.

Terry Crowley, speaking not as a city commissioner but a resident, said that the thought of a bustling arts center three blocks from his house made him excited.

"This effort is a huge piece of downtown revitalization," he said.

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