Owensboro’s RiverPark Center Receives $1 Million Grant to Reduce Debt
Owensboro and Daviess County governments are issuing a $1 million grant challenge to the RiverPark Center. City and county leaders will give the performing arts facility money to get out of debt, but first the center must raise $1 million on its own. There is an Aug. 31 deadline.
If successful, the generous challenge grant from Daviess County Fiscal Court and the City of Owensboro will lift a debt burden of $4.6 million that has saddled RiverPark Center since 1992. It would enable RiverPark Center to use future funds for programs to improve the quality of life in the community, focusing on arts in education.
“Once that goal is reached, Daviess Fiscal Court will match the $1 million using surplus funds it has accumulated in the county’s hotel room tax fund. That money can only be used to pay off bond debt,” Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said.
“It makes no sense to leave this facility strapped,” Mayor Ron Payne said. “It is incumbent on us, in view of all the work we are doing downtown.”
Torie DiMartile Wins Poetry Out Loud State Championship
Torie DiMartile, a senior at Beechwood High School in Fort Mitchell, won over 20 other Kentucky high school champions in the sixth annual Poetry Out Loud state finals in Frankfort. DiMartile had finished second in 2009 and 2010.
“Wow, I didn’t believe after three years I finally came in first,” DiMartile said. “Poetry Out Loud has also taught me to be a better speaker, a better reader and a better writer.”
DiMartile and a chaperone will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Finals April 27-29. Beechwood High will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books for its library.
The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest will award $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes.
Tyler Poteet, a senior at Butler Traditional High School in Louisville, finished second. He won $100 and his school gets $200 to purchase library books.
DiMartile and Poteet will be invited to recite poems at the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration April 25 in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.
Poetry Out Loud, presented by the Kentucky Arts Council in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
Smithsonian Institution Pledges to Sell More American-Made Products in Gift Shops
Smithsonian Institution officials, at the urging of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pledge to stock more American-made merchandise in their popular Washington, D.C., museums’ gift shops. One shop in the National Museum of American History will carry only U.S. products.
Kentucky artisans have long been recognized by and participated in Smithsonian Institute programs. The pledge to seek more American-made merchandise is expected to increase opportunities for Kentucky artists.
Sanders wrote to the museum in January expressing disappointment in the lack of American-made products in the national institution’s souvenir shops. His letter was cited by ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer during a week of high-profile news reports about products made in America.
Representatives of the fine craft industry responded with letters urging recognition and promotion of the high-quality work of America’s studio-based artisans.