Monday, September 22, 2008

Nation's first fine-arts extension agent helps start community theater in mountains of Eastern Ky.

Eastern Kentucky is known for its rich artistic heritage, and a new theatre in the state's easternmost municipality gives local performing artists a place of their own. (Encarta map)

The Black Box Theatre has its grand opening tomorrow in Elkhorn City, population 1,000 or so. The 5,000-square-foot space seats 120, and the stage can be arranged six different ways to meet a variety of performance needs. "Not only will aspiring and professional actors and artists be able to use the facility to showcase their creativity, but it will generate income for Elkhorn City and Pike County," said Stephanie Richards, the University of Kentucky fine arts extension agent for Pike County and the first fine arts extension agent in the U.S.

The facility will also be used for art education. Katie Pratt writes for the university's College of Agriculture, "In addition to hosting various plays and performances, Richards said the theatre will provide opportunities for local young people to explore various art forms, in which they can develop critical thinking skills and build self-esteem. They are already holding classes for an afterschool theatre program." The facility already has this year's theatre season fully booked. Richards says, "Our goal is to have something going on in the facility every day of the year." (Read more)

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