Pikeville Theatre Project to break ground
PIKEVILLE, KY – The Pikeville City Commission and Jenny Wiley Drama Association will break ground on the Pikeville Theatre project at 10:30 a.m. on October 30, 2012. U.S. Congressman Harold Rogers will be the keynote speaker for the event, which will be held at 218 Second Street.
Construction for this highly anticipated project is scheduled to begin during the last week of October. The Pikeville City Commission pursued a bond sale and acquired land for this high level project, which is expected to be completed in December 2013.
Jenny Wiley Drama Association has agreed to expand services by producing a minimum of five performances per year in the new facility while still hosting summer shows at the amphitheatre in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. In addition, the group will provide arts education opportunities to all schools in the Pikeville and Pike County school districts, as well as work with the liberal arts programs at the University of Pikeville and Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
“When we work together, wonderful things happen,” said Pikeville Mayor Pro Tem James “Jimmy” Carter. “I’m excited that so many communities have worked together to make this this project work. The Jenny Wiley Drama Association brings tremendous talent that will make this theatre successful.”
The theatre project is also expected to encourage economic development. Recently, the Hilton Garden Inn project began construction. Hotels, restaurants, retailers, fuel stations, and other businesses are expected to benefit from this project.
“This project is expected to improve the quality of life for the region, which directly impacts per capita income,” said Pikeville City Commissioner Barry Chaney. “I look forward to seeing this project become a reality. In addition to arts and culture, the project will boost the local economy.”
The goal of the project is to enhance artisan culture and opportunities for the City of Pikeville, Pike County, and the surrounding region. The Artists Collaborative Theatre has already developed a strong community theatre program in Pike County. Jenny Wiley Drama Association hopes to compliment that work with professional theatre.
“We can’t be any more excited about this wonderful opportunity for Jenny Wiley Theatre, the citizens of Pike County and the region as we begin this project,” said Jenny Wiley Theatre executive director Martin Childers. “The new indoor theatre will be completed as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, reminding us of our strong history while envisioning a bright future for the arts in eastern Kentucky.”
Artisan culture and tourism is growing and developing in Pikeville. The City of Pikeville partnered with the Artisan Alliance of Pikeville/Pike County to provide the Bear O’Fair. The project placed 10 bear sculptures around downtown, which has been well received by the community. Five more bears will be commissioned soon. Also, a new, highly visible location on Hambley Boulevard is under renovation for the artisan center.
“When you partner with a well-known, highly qualified professional theatre like Jenny Wiley and mix in the other recent city programs like Main Street Live!, Muscle on Main, Hatfield & McCoy Riding Tours, Blue Water River Trails, the new horse trail, and new RV Park, you create wonderful dynamics of growth focused on arts and tourism,” said City of Pikeville Mayor Franklin D. Justice, II. “I’m proud to be part of this City Commission for their vision and hard work in making Pikeville an example for the rest of the state while creating service demands and business growth”.
The ground breaking event will be open to the public as the community celebrates this project.
Jenny Wiley Drama Association and City of Pikeville sign agreement
Jenny Wiley Drama Association, which governs Jenny Wiley Theatre, and the City of Pikeville have signed an agreement that allows the theatre to expand its year round offerings and bring professional theatre to downtown Pikeville. A new, designated indoor theatre space will be constructed beginning in 2013 to provide Jenny Wiley Theatre with a permanent indoor theatre and to continue the expansion of cultural arts offerings in the City of Pikeville. The intent is to begin construction in May 2013 on a new facility located beside the old Dawahare Department Store, intersecting 2nd St., Hambley Blvd. and Division St., with a proposed completion date of March 2014.
For Pikeville, the focus is on promoting regionalism with a major emphasis on tourism says Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville City Manager and Chairman of the newly created Convention and Tourism Commission. With 200 million dollars in new projects in the area, including the new judicial center, a new hotel in the city and the creation of Café on Main Plaza, outside the East Kentucky Expo Center, the natural progression is to promote the arts, and offer an economic opportunity for the entire region. “Regional participation is very important, and having a recognized established theatre group like Jenny Wiley Theatre downtown, offers the opportunity to bring someone downtown year round, rather than depend only on summer months to visit all areas, it all works hand in hand with each other. This is a project and partnership we are really excited about, and is a great opportunity for JWT to offer year round theatre.”
Jenny Wiley Theatre is thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a full offering of year-round productions and performances for the region. Jenny Wiley Theatre will continue to offer summer musicals on the amphitheatre stage located within Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, as well as educational programming such as the Theatre on Wheels Tour, in-school and afterschool workshops, and school matinees during the year. Beginning in 2014, the proposed 300-seat theatre will feature musicals, comedies, children’s theatre and educational programing, as well as lunch/dinner performances throughout the fall, winter and spring. The indoor facility will also be available for area meetings and conferences. The new facility will eventually house a box office, gift shop, rehearsal space, and the possibility of a café.
Helen Wicker, President Emeritus of Jenny Wiley Drama Association, says: “For several years we have been working toward achieving our vision of being able to offer year-round theatre. The opportunity to partner with the City of Pikeville will now allow us to achieve our mission.” Executive Director Martin Childers added that this opportunity to expand offerings and form new partnerships is unique in the current economic climate when many theatres are having to reduce their scope of work and even close their doors. ”Jenny Wiley Theatre has been an important contributor to the culture, tourism and economics of eastern Kentucky for almost fifty years. We want to ensure that we continue to adapt to the needs and circumstances so that we are here for another fifty years. The ability to produce shows all year long is an important step in that direction,” said Childers.
Jenny Wiley Theatre is a non-profit organization and receives funding from individuals, corporations, charitable foundations, Prestonsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Paintsville Tourism, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Kentucky Department of Travel. The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports JWT with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.