LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 20, 2018) – The Kentucky Center announced today it has bought historic Brown Theatre from from the FFTA Properties Inc., a sister organization of Fund for the Arts. Although the Fund for the Arts has owned the building since 1997, The Kentucky Center has managed the operations and programming for the last 21 years. The building was gifted to the Fund for the Arts in 1997 and transferred to FFTA Properties Inc. in 1998.
The new acquisition will enhance The Kentucky Center’s portfolio of programming offerings, in addition to increased community engagement activities and events. The acquisition also resolves a seating capacity gap within the center’s growing family of venues, offering up a new option for shows that require a mid-level venue with more than 1,400 seats. The Brown Theatre is an integral piece of The Kentucky Center’s strategic vision for growth, which also includes the development of the new Paristown venue, expected to open in 2019.
“The acquisition of the iconic and beloved Brown Theatre enhances our growing ‘campus of venues’ across the community,” said Kim Baker, president and CEO of The Kentucky Center. “The Kentucky Center is honored to carry on the rich tradition of this classic venue, as it has long served as a hub for performing arts in Louisville.”
The Brown Theatre is currently home to Kentucky Opera and provides live performances that range from rock concerts to classic ballet performances, community arts education programs and more. The Kentucky Center anticipates no changes to the current lineup of shows and plans to continue to utilize the venue for its original intended purpose – to provide a variety of live stage performances and shows to continue to enrich the robust and ever-evolving arts scene in Louisville.
“Fund for the Arts is excited for this new chapter of the historic Brown Theatre where the community will continue to experience world-class, inspiring performances,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts president and CEO.
The Brown Theatre originally opened in 1925. During the Great Depression the venue served as a movie theatre after live act bookings could no longer afford to perform during those challenging economic times. In 1962, live performances returned to the Brown’s stage, offering performances in every imaginable genre, including musical performances, dance, theatre and more. After a series of ownership changes in the 1970s and 1980s, the Theatre was donated to the Fund for the Arts in 1997, with The Kentucky Center contracted to operate and program the venue.