Clean-up and restoration crews are already working at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts president Kim Baker provided what little update she could following Wednesday’s fire. She started by thanking people locally, statewide and nationally who reached out with support.

“We’ve received hundreds of calls,” Baker said.

She also thanked the staff at the center and the Louisville Metro firefighters who responded to the call.

“This was a very difficult fire. They were up there on a challenging site,” Baker said, adding that it is unclear when the building will reopen, but people will be “working around the clock” to get it open.

While she declined to provide too much information about the cause of the fire, citing an ongoing investigation, Baker said that it started inside the barrel roof. The Kentucky Center leaders are working with the state, which owns the building, to understand what occurred.

Kim Baker

“It’s been really tough,” Baker said, adding: “It’s been hard for the staff certainly, but I also think it’s been hard for the community. People really, really care about this organization.”

Baker did not know the value of the damage to the building and declined to say whether the contractor could be held responsible. The majority of the damage is water-related and contained in the lobby.

“There is a little bit of damage within the theaters, but the majority is in the lobby area and, of course, on the roof,” Baker said, noting that the barrel roof and copper roofing are visible following the fire and some paint is peeling.

The Kentucky Center also is bringing in experts to look at its art collection. The collection had already been covered to protect it from the renovation construction, Baker said. Staff is mainly concerned about “The Coloured Gates of Louisville,” a work by artist John Chamberlain, that hangs in the Bomhard Theater.

The center’s box office is closed but tickets for upcoming shows are still available online.

The PNC Broadway in Louisville production “Waitress” is slated to run June 26 through July 1, and Baker said “We are optimistic that the show will go on.”

However, Looking for Lilith’s production of “We. Are. Here.” will have to move to a new venue. That venue has not been chosen yet, so it is unclear if the play will debut Friday as expected. Keep an eye on Looking for Lilith’s Facebook page for updates.

The center is also working with Floyd Central Theatre Arts to relocate its production of “Newsies” slated to run June 22-23.

Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]


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