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A group of concerned civic leaders, not only interested in creating a new, larger venue for the Performing Arts, but also creating an attraction that would help stimulate downtown development, sought support for such a center. In July 2000, Warren County created the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Inc. (SKyPAC) to accept a $6.7 million dollar appropriation from the Commonwealth of Kentucky designed to fund early architectural and feasibility studies, acquire land, hire architects and fund early operating costs.
Since the renovation of Bowling Green’s beloved Capitol Theater on Fountain Square was completed in 1981, the Capitol, along with WKU’s Van Meter Auditorium and area churches, served as Bowling Green’s primary performing arts venues. By the end of the next decade, however, it became clear that local arts organizations had built audiences larger than those venues could accommodate.
In response, a group of committed civic leaders worked to build a new, larger venue for the performing arts that would also stimulate downtown development. In July 2000, Warren County created the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Inc. to accept a $6.7 million appropriation from the Commonwealth of Kentucky designed to fund early architectural and feasibility studies, acquire land, hire architects and fund early operating costs. SKyPAC Foundation, Inc. was formed to manage the operations of the building, to be called the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center.
After a nearly twelve-year journey, the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center opened its doors on March 10, 2012, and quickly became a hub of arts activity for the region.
On October 29, 2020, with the assistance of Warren County Fiscal Court and Judge-Executive Michael O. Buchanon, Orchestra Kentucky and the SKyPAC Foundation merged to operate as a single nonprofit management corporation, Arts of Southern Kentucky. The merger took advantage of the orchestra’s successful 20-year history and the leadership, passion, and expertise of Jeffrey Reed, who serves as artistic director, president, and CEO.
A premier entertainment center, the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is a multi-use facility located in downtown Bowling Green, Kentucky.
With its 1,737 seats, its expansive stage, and its best-in-class theatrical and sound equipment, the Rita & Jim Scott Concert Hall has the capacity to host a wide array of events. In addition to productions by SKyPAC’s three resident companies—Orchestra Kentucky, the Ramsey Theatre Company, and BG OnStage—Scott Hall hosts touring Broadway, country, rock ‘n roll and comedy shows, and movies, school and church groups, beauty pageants, and lectures. The hall is also perfect for large corporate gatherings.
The Renshaw Education Center houses the 2,600 square foot Carol Wedge Studio Theater, the ideal place for intimate productions and gatherings, and the Wedge Education Gallery, which showcases the artwork of local students.
SKyPAC’s Goodwin Gallery displays the best of local, regional and national artists and serves as the home for a permanent exhibit of Dr. Robert Goodwin’s hand-carved bird sculptures and a rotating exhibit of works from the Jerry E. Baker Collection, most notably Joe Downing paintings.
Education is important to Arts of Southern Kentucky. SKyPAC houses dance lessons, theatre and Orff camps, the Golden Chorale (a senior adult choir), the Bowling Green Youth Orchestra, and many other programs that encourage people of all ages to participate and learn about the arts.