Historic buildings are often community treasures and preserving these structures reminds us of our past and the important role these places took in shaping our community. The Capitol Arts Center is one of those particular treasures. Built in 1890, the Capitol was a staple in downtown Bowling Green located in Fountain Square Park and known at that time as, Columbia Theater. In the 1930’s, it was redesigned, rebuilt, renamed, and became a movie house. After decades of operating as a cinema, the Capitol Arts Center closed it’s doors in 1967 and remained dormant for ten years.
The Capitol marquee is a staple of downtown Bowling Green and featured in the works of many local artists. Giving this vintage piece a face-lift is a part of re-energizing Fountain Square Park and inviting more visitors to the theatre. All of the SKyPAC Youth Theatre performances take place at the Capitol. Each year at Halloween, the WKU Campus Activities Board features “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The HearBG Group recently featured the Sam Bush story. We also held our Visual Arts Summer Camp in the Houchen’s Gallery this past summer.
Our Facilities and Maintenance Foreman, Gerald White, along with many on our SKyPAC facilities crew worked on this project for over a month. Initially, Landmark donated funds for the project to assist with replacing all the panels underneath the marquee that needed painting and trim work. Erskine Concepts assisted with a majority of the visual and structural repairs. All the electrical wiring, the milk glass and framing was replaced on the marquee thanks to the help of Kevin Moran at Marquee Metals. The neon lighting was also replaced at no cost thanks to Bob Basham at Neon Campus. Production Manager Robert Megel said, “Thanks to the generous support of the individuals, the Capitol marquee is back to its original glory.”