Glema Mahr Center for the Arts Endowment Funding Reaches $2 Million

In the mid-1980s, when Madisonville Community College (MCC), Madisonville’s Community Improvement Foundation, and the University of Kentucky (UK) accepted responsibility for development and coordination of what is now the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, everyone knew that consistent long-term funding of the Center -- first known as the Fine Arts Center -- would also be an on-going issue and community priority. Community Improvement Foundation and auditorium committee leadership such as Anne P. Baker, David Pritchett, Dr. Dan Martin Allen Rudd, Janet and Frank Corum, Dr. Judy Rhoads, Rod Tompkins, Barbie Hunt, O.T. Rudd and Bill Corum knew that a quality arts program schedule would cost a lot of money each year without even considering building and utility upkeep costs. According to Allen Rudd, a current member of the Madisonville College Foundation, that was why MCC and UK were such important partners in the Foundation’s original “grand scheme.” “The community college system gave us a measure of security knowing our vision of a performance center would be maintained and stabilized” Rudd said. “We as a community foundation and arts advocates could focus on funding and getting programs on the stage.”

This endeavor of funding the arts through short and long term sources makes June 2012 a special time for the Glema Center and those patrons and supporters who have supported local programming since 1992; on June 6th Madisonville Community College and individual members of the Madisonville College Foundation announced that arts-related endowment and trust holdings now exceed $2 million in market value, including $400,000 that is designated to local theatre programming and permanent support of the Anne P. Baker Gallery. Private endowment income and annual gifts now comprise about 30% of the Glema Center’s annual budget.

Don Fishman, long-time arts supporter, current Foundation member and former chair of the Arts Center Advisory Committee, sees endowment growth as evidence that Hopkins County “got it right in the first place.” “We as a community and college now spend about $660,000 signing national shows, producing local shows and maintaining our Arts Center every year.” Fishman said. “We have enjoyed entertainers like the Temptations, Cloris Leachman, the Doobie Brothers, Chet Adkins, The Louisville Orchestra, Glen Campbell, the Pointer Sisters, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Marie Osmond, Aaron Neville and Garrison Keillor over the past 21 years and the community continues to support us financially each and every year. This speaks well for everyone in our county, as well as our friends from Muhlenberg, Webster, Caldwell, Henderson, Christian, and Crittenden Counties.”

The Arts Center’s Advisory Committee hopes to continue aggressive fund development over the next decade, and involve members of “Generation X” and recent MCC graduates in preparing future performance schedules and local programming that is beneficial and entertaining for the entire region. Programming will continue to evolve to meet the tastes of a changing population. Current Advisory Chairman David Lang of Trover Health System said recently that “we want to have a Center celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2041 that is financially sound and is still known for affordable, quality programming. We owe that to our families and those who have supported us over the past two decades. This announcement of our endowment total should make everyone in Hopkins County proud, and remain committed to the arts. Our upcoming 2013 schedule of shows will show commitment to long-term programming while continuing to nurture local talent.”