LEXINGTON KY 40508-1945
Contact Information
Address 300 E. THIRD ST
LEXINGTON , KY 40508 1945
Phone (859) 280-2201
Fax 859 280-2261
Contact Name Ashley C. Smith
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2011
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer Since reopening our doors in October of 2010, The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center continues to strive to expand cultural programming, activities, and exhibitions for the city wide community. We hope you can take part in one of our many events and experience firsthand the pride we take in supporting the arts.

In order to meet our mission and provide services for the region, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. Your contribution will make a difference in our community by allowing us to continue in our efforts. Remember, every donation will make a difference regardless of size. Contributions can be mailed, submitted through our website, or called in. We also accept in-kind donations and appreciate the time and skills committed by our dedicated volunteers.
Thank you for your support.
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement The mission of The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center is to preserve, promote, present and celebrate diverse cultures with special emphasis on African-American cultural heritage through artistic presentations of the highest quality, educational programming and outreach, film, and opportunities for community inclusion.
Background Statement Vibrant. Alive. The place to be and be seen. Between 1948 and 1963, the Lyric Theatre was a thriving entertainment centerpiece for Lexington’s African-American families.

Originally built as a movie house, the Lyric opened at the corner of Third and Deweese Street (now Elm Tree Lane) in Lexington. And it quickly became a cultural icon.

Everyone has his or her favorite memory – the movies, fashion shows, vaudeville acts, local concerts, pageants – but during the ‘50s it was Jazz, Soul and R&B music that took center stage, with big-name acts like Ray Charles and Count Basie.

Soulful sounds filled the theatre with other notable performers including: B.B. King; Wynonie Harris, who wrote Good Rocking Tonight, recorded by Elvis Presley; Mercer Ellington, the only son of Duke Ellington; and Billy Brown, formerly of the Dominos, who formed The Checkers and began recording for King Records.

Entertainment wasn’t the only draw. Numerous small black-owned business – from clothing stores to ice cream shops – were launched in and around the theatre.

Before closing in 1963, the theatre returned to its roots as a movie theatre, featuring horror films and black cowboy movies plus Saturday morning cartoons.

The new Lyric offers much more than a chance to relive history. It’s bigger and better than ever. And it promises to be as popular as it was 50 years ago.

Impact Statement

In 2014, The Lyric Theatre proudly forged new partnerships with community organizations such as Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, Roots and Heritage Festival, Japan/American Society of Kentucky and the Lexington Children's Theatre. Our ability to strengthen existing relationships with entities such as Roots and Heritage Festival and WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour allowed us to fulfill our mission and vision greater than before. Phenomenal acts such as The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Don Flemons, Bela Fleck, and Lee Ann Womack graced the historic Lyric stage bringing us closer to our rich entertainment roots. Exhibits from The Lexington History Museum, Frank X. Walker, Bing Davis, and Gary Bibbs showcased in our Gallery and Museum. We are proud to provide the opportunity to these talented individuals and organizations to educate the community on the importance of the arts. As we navigate the remainder of 2015, The Lyric desires to expand its mission fulfilling programming. We are seeking to implement new and innovative technologies within our facility that create a more engaging and dynamic guest experience. This fall, we aim to release our inaugural season featuring ticket packages and subscriptions set to include benefits and perks to the purchaser. Looking outside of our four walls, we envision our reach into the community to stronger than ever with initiatives focusing on increasing the cultural proficiency for students in the region. 

Needs Statement
Above all, The Lyric desires to create culturally relevant programming that is price conscious and accessible to a large range of community members.
Our top 5 organizational needs include:
  1. The creation of an organizational endowment. $10,000 goal to begin the fund.
  2. Software program and programmer to develop interactive technology used to bring oral history project to life. $30,000 goal.
  3. 50 new volunteers.
  4. Corporate partners to provide support and invest towards the creation and expansion of Lyric signature programming.
  5. New donors contributing an annual gift starting at $20 each.
Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Visual Arts
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts Education
Geographic Areas Served
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Abdul Muhammad
Company Affiliation Prime Lending Mortgage
Term Jan 2015 to Dec 2016
Board Members
Mrs. Soreyda Benedit-Begley Soreyda Benedict-Begley DesignsVoting
Mrs. Juanita Betz-Peterson RetiredVoting
Mr. George Brown Friends of the Lyric BoardVoting
Mr. James Brown 1st District Councilmember Lexington Fayette Urban County GovernmentExofficio
Mrs. Shuling Fister ArtistVoting
Mrs. Glenda George Lexington Fayette Urban County GovernmentVoting
Mr. Chester Grundy University of KentuckyVoting
Mrs. Roz Heise WoodSongsVoting
Mr. John Hingsbergen WEKUVoting
Mr. Robert Jefferson RetiredVoting
Ms. LeTonia Jones Non Profit Criminal Mitigation ServicesVoting
Mrs. Paula King Lexington Fayette Urban County GovernmentVoting
Mr. Abdul Muhammad Prime Lending MortgageVoting
Mrs. Melissa Murphy Lexington Fayette Urban County GovernmentVoting
Ms. Candice Rider Thomas P. Miller & AssociatesVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 10
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 60%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 87%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 35%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Mrs. Glenda H. George
Company Affiliation Lexington Fayette Urban County Government
Term Jan 2015 to Dec 2016
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Donald R. Mason
Term Start Mar 2015
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 49
Contractors 6
Retention Rate 66%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 2
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Development Coordinator
Title Education and Marketing Coordinator
Title Box Office Manager
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
CEO Comments

Description The Lyric's Historic East End Walking Tour is a two mile, approximately two hour walk that is held in the spring and fall seasons. Along the way, the history of the development of homes and small businesses of both black and white residents will create a picture of what the third quadrant of Lexington, known as the East End, really looked like from 1780 through the 1960s. Tours are led by local Historian Yvonne Giles.
Budget 900.00
Category Education, General/Other Adult Education
Population Served Adults, Blacks, African Heritage, General/Unspecified
Program Short Term Success

We continue to reach our short term goal which is to educate the general public of significant locations and noted people throughout the historic East End. We have a consistent audience number and are reaching a diverse group that consists of current and former residents, historians, educators and the general curious public.

Program Long term Success

We hope to see this program grow and reach a minimal of 40 people per tour. In order to accommodate this growth there needs to be more individuals trained to lead the tours and become more knowledge of the people and historic landmarks within the East End community. There are several trails our guide, historian Yvonne Giles, has created and there is an abundance of information that she knows through her personal research. By increasing our attendance we understand that additional funds will need to be secured for our marketing efforts. Our long term goal is to able to market this program in a way that would reach a broader audience (ie bill boards, television/ radio opportunities).

Program Success Monitored By

We consider this program a success because of the amount of people we reach and the diversity of our audience. This fact that it has been a self-sufficient program also attests to its success and we look forward to seeing it grow.

We monitor our program by the attendance count and overall responses from the patrons which have all been favorable.
Examples of Program Success

Last year we held six (6) tours and 98 people attend them total - that is an average of 16 people per event. We are happy to offer different routes of Lexington’s East End during each tour. We consider it a successful program because the amount of people we reach and the diversity of our audience.

Description For the past four years, The Lyric has provided summer youth programming on Saturdays that focuses on creative expression and character building. The Lyric's goal has been to offer the children of Lexington three classes each month that help to improve student's concentration, self-confidence, and self-expression. These classes provide instruction in music (African drumming), the creative and preforming Arts (creative writing, acting, and sewing) as well as classes in life skills and physical and mental health.

Our target audience is children within Lexington's East End; however, as long as space is available The Lyric does not reject interested children from other areas. Participants range from ages 6-18, depending on the class and experience level of the instructor.
Budget 2500.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), At-Risk Populations, K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short Term Success

We encourage our volunteer teachers to write out an agenda, spelling out the activities for each day and goals to be reached from each meeting of the course; it is through this that the children are able to leave each day with the satisfaction of learning or creating something new with each subsequent class. These individual lessons culminate at the end of each course to a final project (i.e. a performance in African drumming, a final journal in creative writing, a final product in sewing, etc). With the final project, the child is not only able to have the satisfaction of an end product after the month of courses, but also given the pride that comes with showing this end product to friends and family.

Program Long term Success Through the combination of caring adults teaching our classes and variety of opportunities that fit within The Lyric's mission, we are able to offer a complete program that intellectually challenges the youth.
From observing the children throughout the classes we've seen their confidence grow- not only in the skill they've learned but also in their enthusiasm to assist their classmates and willingness to contribute to their classes. The skills and impressions left with the children through this course will have a lasting effect on them. Through our array of courses and offering two separate months of courses, the children are allowed to pursue creative and personal education and benefits through multiple avenues and not be limited to one scope of artistic education.
Program Success Monitored By

We mainly gauge the success by the response of the children and their families. We keep track of the children’s attentiveness, attendance of the course, and progression of the class as a whole among other factors. Because the desired outcome of the classes are the more abstract benefits of self-confidence building and creative outlet for the children, this method of watching the classes’ development as a whole gives us the ability to gauge how much the children are taking away through the children’s actions and reactions to both the teacher and material being taught.

Examples of Program Success

Again, with more abstract benefits being the desired outcome, it is hard to substantiate the success of the program with any sort of statistic or data collection method. We look to the happiness and attentiveness of the children during the courses themselves, the development each child goes through with the learning of new lessons and the new skills, abilities, and confidence with which the children walk away from the program possessing. It is these intricacies and outcomes by which we deem our program a success year by year.


This summer, we host our 4th annual Summer Film Series program. The series was designed to be an inter-generational experience and open up conversations between adults and children. We created an opportunity for the older generation to share movies that they fondly remembered with the younger generation. Films ranged from comedies starring Television Hall of Fame comedian Bill Cosby and cinema classics with Academy Award Winner Sidney Poitier.

Budget 7500.00
Category Community Development, General/Other Neighborhood Revitalization
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families
Program Short Term Success

As for short-term success, the Summer Film Series offers a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to get together and enjoy an educational, entertaining and free activity together. For older generations, it is a chance to reminisce upon the old days of Sunday films at The Lyric, and for younger it is the chance to enjoy the classic movie-going experience with modern amenities. One of The Lyric’s goals is to be an open place of congregation for the community, and this free and inviting afternoon event is a perfect way to welcome our community in.

Program Long term Success

The long term goals of the Summer Movie Series are highly comparable to that of The Lyric itself – As The Lyric is an institution that uses its unique and diverse history (with special emphasis in African-American culture) to help build and strengthen it and the community’s future. The Summer Film Series looks back upon the history of African American cinema and tracks this history to its profound influence on more modern day film. It is through this exploratory, educational, and enjoyable movie going experience that multiple generations are able to enjoy classic African American film while also observing how it has developed and how film of the modern day has built and flourished upon this storied past.

Program Success Monitored By

With the benefits of the program being community outreach and inclusion along with educational purposes and general entertainment, we look to the response of our patrons to gauge success. It is through attendance, comments from guests, and general reactions that we are able to determine the value of our program and its importance to the community.

Examples of Program Success

We have seen a marked increase year by year of attendance to these film showings, with compliments to the programming schedule as well as word of mouth and media interest increasing. It is through this encouragement and enjoyment from our patrons, as well as the diversity of the attending patrons, that we are able to consider the film series a success. This coincides greatly with our mission of celebrating diversity in the community (with special emphasis on African-American culture) as well as our institution being one of community inclusion.


In celebration of Black History Month we host an annual Black History Convocation. We target 5th and 6th graders who attend Fayette County Schools near the facility. We bring in noted guest speakers from the area. Key note speakers have included local historian and University of Kentucky Professor of History Dr. Gerald Smith and Former 1st District Councilwoman Andrea James. 

Budget 200.00
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), Adults,
Program Short Term Success

For a field trip activity, this event helps children to celebrate African-American history while it also helps to highlight African-American businessmen and women on a local level each year during Black History Month. This local involvement of professionals helps to make children more aware of the history that is being written every day in their own community. It also helps to educate the children of the history that is still being written around them- with their involvement.

Program Long term Success

Going along with The Lyric’s mission, this annual event helps to promote, explore and educate students on diversity in the community and the greater bluegrass/state region. For Black History Month, this event highlights African-American businessmen and businesswomen in a variety of professional trades and allows for children to hear their stories and how their diversity and past has affected them throughout their lives. The stories of these professionals helps build self-confidence for children of all cultures and teaches them to overcome adversity to pursue their goals.

Program Success Monitored By This program has been monitored by overall attendance and reaction from the audience. The first year we had 285 attendees, the second year we increased our numbers by 59%. We also incorporated a trivia with attendees from each school- this game increased interaction and children's overall enthusiasm for the program.
Examples of Program Success

The increasing attendance of the program as well as the active involvement with Lexington businessmen and businesswomen, as well as politicians and professionals from other walks are the reference point to which we can show the program’s growth since its inception in 2012. As The Lyric and its influence and growth within the community continues to move forward, our events have followed suit and gained more momentum, allowing us to further both the diversity and size of the groups coming in but also strengthen the quality of programming such as the Black History Convocation.

Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2015
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2017
Projected Revenue $545,000.00
Projected Expenses $545,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$150,000
Individual Contributions--$0--
Investment Income, Net of Losses--$0--
Membership Dues--$0--
Special Events$2,781$0--
Revenue In-Kind--$0--
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$231,068$332,656$104,267
Administration Expense$173,018$102,704$190,475
Fundraising Expense--$0--
Payments to Affiliates$32,416----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.151.15
Program Expense/Total Expenses58%76%35%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%--0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$198,652$223,395$181,086
Current Assets--$149,042$69,407
Long-Term Liabilities--$0--
Current Liabilities--$22,560$16,884
Total Net Assets--$200,835$164,202
Form 990s
2015 Form 990
2014 990 2014
2013 990 2013
2012 990 2012
2011 990 2011
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Registration Yes
Address 300 E. THIRD ST
LEXINGTON , KY 405081945
Primary Phone 859 280-2201
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Donald R. Mason
Board Chair Mr. Abdul Muhammad
Board Chair Company Affiliation Prime Lending Mortgage