Setting the Stage for the Emerging Arts Scene in South-central Kentucky
The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) houses one of the largest performing arts halls in the south-central Kentucky region. Highlights of the new arts facility include an 1,800 seat state-of-the-art performance hall that serves as the home of Orchestra Kentucky, a 200 seat flexible studio theater for intimate theatrical productions, several multifunctional rehearsal halls and classrooms for students, schools and local arts organizations, an outdoor amphitheater for “theater under the stars” and the SKyPAC main art gallery and children’s art gallery that exhibit the works of youth, emerging and professional visual artists.
The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, opened in March 2012, and was uniquely positioned to offer a multitude of arts-related amenities to the Barren River Area Development District (BRADD) area. SKyPAC possesses the capabilities to bring a wide array of productions including Broadway shows, country & western stars, classical music, bluegrass to newgrass, area school or church choral competitions, movies, lectures, and comedians as well as large corporate gatherings to this thriving community. The Center is very education- focused with multiple rehearsal halls and facilities for educational programming as well as galleries that target both adults and children. The business challenge was how to amass community support around the building of this entity and attain public excitement and engagement ̶ pre-opening, grand opening and throughout the lifespan of the Center.
the pepper group, ltd. engaged with SKyPAC to conduct a series of interviews with key stakeholders and influencers within the area, in order to better understand the ‘pulse’ of the community, including both the opportunities and the barriers as the Center underwent the first stages of construction. Those insights led to the development of a communications plan built upon an integrated targeted messaging strategy that would inform and engage the community simultaneously. In addition we opened SKyPAC up to the public during construction for hard hat tours which allowed the citizens of the region to more clearly envision this new “entertainment room” in their own backyards. Lastly, we embarked on an aggressive social media campaign to rally everyone around each and every step in the development process.
To date, season ticket sales have exceeded goals as a result of branding efforts that have made SKyPAC an outstanding artistic ‘gem’ in the BRADD region. Opening night on March 10, 2012, was a sellout – with Orchestra Kentucky and Grammy Award-winning country music artist Vince Gill onstage for the celebration – a tangible measurement of success and a leading indicator of audience and revenue growth for the future of SKyPAC, as well as a contributing factor for further regional economic development. Prior to opening, during the opening and to date, our strategies have earned significant media coverage with local and regional media outlets.