Kentucky Center President Debunks Myths

by ekramer on April 8, 2010

The President of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts spoke to the Louisville Downtown Rotary Club today about the center’s role in the community. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

(To listen to the entire presentation, click on Listen to the story.)

Stephen Klein talked about how the Kentucky Center provides performance space to local arts groups at reduced rates and fosters education programs, including the annual, statewide Governor’s School for the Arts.

But Klein turns his attention to the new arena when asked a question. He says he and his colleagues are “scared” about how the traffic will affect the center and its patrons.

“I’m pretty aware and everybody is pretty aware that it’s going to take a lot of tweaking,” he says. “That even if all the plans and all the signage and all those things are as developed, there are going to have to be changes somewhere just to take care of the realities.”

Klein says on a busy evening, the center has an average of 3,000 patrons who have had easy access and parking in the area.

But Klein’s main topic where a list of myths, that include that the center is “just a building” and that the state completely funds its operations and programs. Klein says the state does own the building and has paid utilities, insurance and maintenance since it opened in 1983. But even that’s declining.

“While the state originally paid 100 percent of the funding for those areas, since 1987 their contributions in absolute dollars has decreased 15.5 percent,” he says.

Klein says, adjusted for inflation, that amounts to a 31 percent funding decrease.

But the first myth Klein debunked concerns the Louisville Fund for the Arts.

“The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts is not the Fund for the Arts,” he says. “The Fund for the Arts is not the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. What we are is a state-owned building and a leader in the commonwealth’s arts community. So, when you give to the Fund, you’re not giving to us.”

Klein says the Kentucky Center provides local arts groups with performance space at reduced rates. The Fund for the Arts raises money to subsidize the budgets of its 15 member organizations, primarily the Louisville Orchestra, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Louisville Ballet and the Kentucky Opera.

Klein says the center’s funding comes from revenues, corporate sponsorships, foundations and individual giving.

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