The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has notified the City of Paducah that it will be receiving an Our Town grant in the amount of $75,000. The City applied for the grant last August on behalf of Market House Theatre (MHT). The grant will help fund MHT’s Next Stage Campaign, a multi-million dollar project to expand arts education and performances to meet the increasing demand for arts programming.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu says, “The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations. The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Market House Theatre to cultivate vitality in their communities through the arts.”
Paducah’s award is one of 89 grants totaling $6.89 million supporting projects across the nation. The NEA received 274 eligible applications and will be administering grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
The City of Paducah prepared the grant application on behalf of Market House Theatre. Mayor Brandi Harless says, “I’m thrilled that the NEA is awarding Paducah an Our Town grant. The City of Paducah prides itself on its commitment to historic preservation and to developing Paducah into a premiere arts and entertainment destination. Furthermore, the City and Market House Theatre have a common goal and commitment in advancing arts education and civic engagement to create positive opportunities for participation in the arts.”
The Next Stage Campaign is an estimated $5 million project to expand arts education and enhance the Market House Theatre’s current arts campus. Renovations will be made to nearly 44,000 square feet of historic space and will include significant upgrades to 10 historic buildings. Enhancements include the addition of four classrooms, two rehearsal spaces, and a scene shop for off-site set construction. Furthermore, the project will double the stage and audience capacity of the Studio Theatre.
"It is an honor to have been selected as one out of 274 projects that applied for this national grant this year," Campaign Co-Chair Kristin Williams says. "The Theatre has been committed to the Market House Square for many years and this project allows us to better utilize the existing performance space there, as well as to create additional state-of-the-art classroom, performance and rehearsal spaces in the other buildings the Theatre owns."
MHT Executive Director Michael Cochran says, “The Our Town grant is a nice addition to our campaign and will go a long way in improving the Theatre’s existing assets. Market House Theatre has served this community for more than 50 years. When complete, this project will be paid in full and will include sustainable sources of revenue that will allow the Theatre to continue to operate in the black for many years to come.”
With the support of the Board, community leaders, businesses, and other MHT supporters, the non-profit arts organization has acquired five buildings in the last two years, including the Finkel’s building at the corner of Kentucky Avenue and 2nd Street. So far, the Next Stage Campaign has raised $2.3 million. For information about how you can support the Campaign and Market House Theatre, contact Cochran at 270-444-6828 or visit www.markethousetheatre.org.
The NEA’s Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places through strategies that incorporate arts, culture, and/or design. All Our Town grant awards are made to partnerships that consist of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity. For more information about the Our Town grant program, visit https://www.arts.gov/national/our-town.