Arts of Southern Kentucky ends first fiscal year on ‘high note’

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:33 AM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Arts of Southern Kentucky has announced a “successful” first year of operation, and has also been able to create a foundation and permanent endowment because of that success.

“ASK has successfully completed its first full fiscal year in a strong financial position, thanks to the support of the community, Warren County government, and ASK leadership,” according to a release from the organization. “In March 2021, Rita and Jim Scott donated $1 million to the organization with the naming of SKyPAC’s primary performance space as the Rita & Jim Scott Concert Hall. Building upon this momentum, Robert Ramsey gifted $1.7 million to create the Ramsey Theatre Company, a professional Broadway production company.”

Leaders credit spending controls, strong ticket sales, increased rentals and over $1 million in additional gifts that have allowed ASK to finish its first full fiscal year of 2022 with an operating surplus exceeding $500,000.

“With an eye set towards the long term future and fiscal viability of the organization, the ASK Board made the decision to incorporate the Arts of Southern Kentucky Foundation, starting with over $1 million in assets, and later to also establish a permanent endowment for the organization,” according to a release. “All of this, combined with no long-term debt, positions ASK for financial viability well into the future with a stability that has not previously been available for the organization.”

“As we began Arts of Southern Kentucky in uncertain times, our Board took the responsibility of ensuring the viability of the organization very seriously. We are thrilled that the hard work and conservative planning approach has proven to be successful during the pandemic,” said Chair of the ASK Board of Directors Beth Sigler. “Now that our first fiscal year is behind us, we turn our efforts to the future of ASK, by focusing on the sustainability of the organization, which will allow us to responsibly grow and enhance our offerings and programs. The ASK Foundation will play a key component in that effort as will the continued support from our community.”

In addition to being in a strong financial position, ASK has made strides from increased efforts with engaging the community.

In the past season, ASK launched the SKyPASS program, which provides access to programming to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy the experience by partnering with local non-profit organizations to distribute free tickets to their service clients.

As well, ASK has expanded the Curtains Up! program to allow area educational performing groups free use of SKyPAC facilities and hosted over a dozen nonprofit meetings free of charge.

A diversity committee was created to reach a wide variety of audiences and interests in an effort to be more representative of the full population of the Southern Kentucky community, and the Golden Chorale was formed to provide senior adults with fellowship and performing opportunities.

Finally, ASK has formed partnerships with ArtWorks, Fountain Square Players, the Baker Arboretum and the Kelly Autism Center to further its mission to enrich lives through artistic experiences.

Much of the success of the organization can be attributed to the exceptional leadership provided through guidance from a strong Board of Directors that has remained unwavering in its support from Arts of Southern Kentucky President and CEO, Jeff Reed.

Reed founded Orchestra Kentucky in the fall of 2000, and spent more than two decades creating artistic opportunities bringing to stage his experience with conducting orchestras in Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, South Korea, Milan, Italy and St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 2015, the University of Louisville named Reed its Alumni Fellow for the School of Music in recognition of his distinguished work in his chosen field.

In 2008, he received the Jefferson Award for public service in South Central Kentucky.

Reed attributes the success related to the operation of the organization to a lean staff that has done an excellent job of controlling expenses while also maximizing income.

The 2022-2023 season features over 40 events, including Orchestra Kentucky concerts, Broadway and BG OnStage productions, children’s programming, school day concerts, comedians, hip-hop, country, rock and Christian-Gospel acts, movies, theater, dance, and a jam-packed Christmas season.

To learn more about how you can support the arts in our community to ensure the same opportunities are available for generations to come, visit the Arts of Southern Kentucky website at:

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