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Room with a view

Oldham County Arts Center
unveils new stage

Former sanctuary remodeled
into live performance area

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer


CRESTWOOD, Ky. (September 2005) – Throughout early August, the sounds of hammer and saw greeted visitors to the Oldham County Arts Center in Crestwood, Ky. Drastic improvements have been made to transform the stage area into a more theater-friendly atmosphere.

OC Arts Stage

Photo by Don Ward

Workers widened the
stage by 50 percent and
removed partitions in
last month’s upgrades.

The arts center was the previous home of the Crestwood Baptist Church at 7105 Floydsburg Road. The former church sanctuary was renovated from a worship center to a performing arts auditorium. An expanded stage was needed to improve the sight lines, enabling the audience to better view the entire area.
East and Westbrook Construction Co. completed the bulk of the upgrades to the Performance Hall area.
“We removed visual barriers that were left over from when the space was a worship space and removed two step-up choir risers at the rear of the stage,” said David Thurmond, the center’s program coordinator.
With a capacity of 450, the arts center will be used for performances, rehearsals, exhibits and receptions for the performing arts. A “Mission Possible” project was held July 31 in which approximately 75 community volunteers spent the day cleaning, polishing, weeding and mowing. Volunteers included Oldham County school staff, civic clubs, businesses and individuals within the community who had a desire to spruce up the building. An open house was held Aug. 9.
By completing the inside upgrades, “we will essentially be converting the performance space from an abandoned church worship area to a theatrical stage area suitable for music, dance theater and special events,” said Thurmond.
The useable area of the stage has been increased by 50 percent. The stage has been leveled, and a new stage floor has been installed. Large holes that were once in the back wall, housing the baptistery and organ speakers, have been filled in, covered and painted. In addition, electric and sound receptacles have been relocated.
This work is funded through private donations, fund raising projects and matching grants solicited by the Oldham County Educational Foundation. The cost of the project totals $70,000, said Alan Fryrear, foundation president.

OC Arts Stage

Photo by Don Ward

The stage was finished just in time for the
Bluegrass Independent Film Festival.

The foundation’s purpose is to provide a formal group that fosters business and community support for the public schools in Oldham County. Through community understanding and awareness, community-business-school partnerships and fund raising, the foundation enhances educational opportunities in the Oldham County Public Schools. The foundation supported this project because “we felt that this met one of our goals,” Fryrear said.

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