The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
LexArts’ decision to name a program coordinator for the Downtown Arts Center could be seen as a reaction to a drop in use of the 8-year-old facility since Actors Guild of Lexington pulled out.
And that is correct, to an extent.
“I have been thinking about it ever since I got here,” says LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark, who arrived in Lexington about eight months after the DAC opened.
He and Lexington actor and businessperson Leslie Beatty would talk about what sorts of things could be done in the center. But there didn’t seem to be much point in devoting a full-time position to the job.
“Actors Guild had all the good weekends for its shows,” Clark said. “There wasn’t any room for us to be creative.”
Now, with financial travails forcing Actors Guild to abandon its DAC schedule, LexArts has brought in Beatty to direct the center’s programming. Clark says Beatty’s combination of artistry and business acumen made her an ideal candidate.
“You have to know the numbers and what things cost,” Beatty says, “and have to know what the artists need.”
Talking about the future of the Downtown Arts Center, Clark and Beatty are in some ways taking a curatorial approach to the space, looking for interesting local programming, and regional and national artists for the black box theater and, eventually, the third floor.
When the DAC opened, the third floor was unfinished, but plans were announced to make it a cabaret and rehearsal space. That never happened, but Clark says LexArts is hoping to work with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government to develop a business plan for finishing the space, which Clark says should cost $300,000 to $500,000.
“We want to keep the space fairly raw,” says Beatty, who admires the third floor’s exposed brick walls and ceiling beams.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich