The Grand Theatre’s mission is to promote the arts and entertainment in Frankfort’s only Center for the Arts. The overriding purpose, however, is for the Grand to revitalize Frankfort’s underperforming downtown by drawing children, families and residents to our shows to spend money in the community, while drawing tourists who will stay in Frankfort after our shows. As activities at the Grand expand, they will support more restaurants, shops and other entertainment venues. At the same time, our shows and educational activities enhance the quality of life for our residents and serve a persuasive basis for new business to locate in Frankfort. Through this we strengthen our community and reduce our reliance on state government where salaries remain stagnant and lessened benefits devalue career opportunities.
Save the Grand Theatre, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization formed in 2002 for the purpose of renovating the historic Grand Theatre and establishing it as the "center for the arts" in Kentucky's Capital City. After five years of fundraising, sponsoring arts events, and building public support, renovation began in 2007 and the Grand opened in September 2009 as a $5 million dollar facility with 428 seats.
The Grand is a 428-seat theatre with theatrical lighting and sound systems, and a cushioned stage that accommodates dance, acoustic-amplified music, drama, and film. Digital cinema projection equipment was installed in 2013. A satellite dish for live streaming of MET Opera, Art and other programming is utilized. Clear-com headsets and an intercom allow communication among all theatre areas. The art gallery with an additional 90 linear feet of exhibit space has a catering kitchen utilized for receptions and the lobby has a concession stand serving popcorn, candy, soft drinks, beer and wine. The connected historic Hendrick House is for ticket and administrative offices; a green room; prop, dressing and break rooms; and storage. The entire facility is handicapped-accessible. The stage is wheelchair accessible, the theatre has wheelchair and companion seating at orchestra and balcony levels, and bathroom doors open automatically. Assistive listening technology is installed in the theatre.
Past year accomplishments:
1. Completed our Annual fund while expanding donations from other donors past year.
2. Added 3-5 live shows in addition to our season schedule of 12-14 shows.
3. Improved our Summer Children’s Series by scheduling only live performances.
Current year goals:
1. Use our Donor Tree Sculpture, be-nef-i-cent to initiate new fundraising from prior donors and new donors adding leaves to our tree.
2. Have a paid Events Manager to relieve the President and Board Members of these duties.
3. Raise money to repair our office headquarters, the Hendrick House by renovating the façade and replacing windows in the pre-Civil War structure.
4. Enhance and expand our educational programs for schools, home schooled and individuals including more participation in our Summer Children’s Series and theatre workshops. Offer more scholarships to deserving children.
1. The Grand needs to add its first full-time Manager, an Events/Office Manager to reduce the burden on its volunteers allowing the theatre to grow. First year cost of $25,000 rising to $35,000 second year on.
2. The Grand needs to rehabilitate the facade and windows of its 150+ year-old office, back of house space. Estimated cost is $50,000.
3. The Grand needs to expand its donor base to utilize its Donor Tree Sculpture be-nef-i-cent to add money for operations and endowment. Year 2016-17 will see our first use of earnings from our endowment to support operations. Fund raising goal is to exceed $20,000.
4. The Grand needs to find new sponsors to support our educational programming while expanding our audience from area schools. Our goal is $15,000 in contributions.
The unique nature of the Grand Theatre is that its Board and many volunteer supporters fully manage all the events at the theatre. I open our shows telling the audience that the Grand Theatre is the only Performing Arts Center in the universe where the staff is totally volunteer; because we all love the community, want to restore and enhance its downtown while promoting tourism and bring in the arts to improve and enhance our communities’ quality-of-life.
The very moving nature of volunteer support reinforces my belief and that of our organization that we all are doing something important. We all know that we have a wonderfully preserved downtown with a great walking lifestyle for those of us who live within the area. Our downtown, however, still has many vacant storefronts and requires more attractions to make it thriving and viable. As half of the people who work in Frankfort leave at 4:30 for their homes in adjacent counties, we must attract more tourists and daytime visitors to achieve a critical mass to inspire growth.
We also need to develop additional quality housing downtown to encourage more of those who live in other counties to move to Frankfort. With the pending move of the state workforce from the Capitol Plaza Tower, and its possible future demolition, quality residential to replace lost traffic is essential.
The Grand Theatre is one of the reasons that individuals will move to Frankfort, both for the professional workers who attend our events and their families who participate in our educational activities for students. The entire Grand family is devoted to the theatre as a vehicle to take us and Frankfort to another level.
The Grand Theatre has built a considerable organization utilizing the efforts of volunteer Board Members, its President and members of the community to create a business generating over $300,000 in revenues. The impact of the theater has been to draw over 12,000 people annually into Frankfort's downtown filling its restaurants both with those who live here and another approximate 2000 from outside the community. This means that Frankfort keeps more of its effective buying income (EBI) spent at home while bringing people from outside Frankfort to spend their money in our community. As Frankfort is located between Lexington and Louisville the Grand has altered the movement of monies outside the community to bringing those monies back home.
The Grand hosts almost 100 events annually placing a huge burden on its volunteer staff and management.
The theory of the Grand Theatres’ business plan has been to grow the theatre’s business and create a greater revenue base to allow the theatre to add staff to further expand, while ensuring its long-term viability. Through an ambitious events schedule, we have built the support of the city and county who provide us with very limited financial assistance (most Arts Centers are owned and heavily subsidized by government). We have also been successful in raising an endowment, the income from which will help us finance the hiring of staff.
The Grand has been my vision since the mid-1980s when our first effort to create a Performing Arts Center failed. When approached in 2002, I accepted a Board position and then became President in December 2004. In 2005, we bought the theatre building, began events in a rough shell, received $488,000 from the Legislature, $100,000 from the Governor and a County bond issue in 2006 for $3.4 million allowing restoration and expansion of an old movie theatre. The Grand opened in 2009 and is now completing its 7th season.
The Grand Theatre is located at 308 St. Clair Street, Frankfort, KY 40601. Patrons attending the Grand are generally from the Central Kentucky area, but also state-wide and from bordering states. Some of our youth and young adult programs serve students from Kentucky State University (KSU), the only historically black college/university in the state while more serve schools/home-school in Franklin, Anderson, Scott, Woodford, Owen and other counties.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507