Paducah School of Art & Design Grand Opening

Good evening! I’m so happy to be part of the opening celebration for the Paducah School of Art and Design. And I’m always happy to hear music by the students from Hazard Community and Technical College’s School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music.

This beautiful, new, cutting-edge building furthers West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s leadership role the arts in this community.

The School of Art and Design is a great example of the type of vision and partnerships we strive for in all communities.

And what a fitting send off for Dr. Veazy! This grand opening caps off her stellar career, not only at the college, but also in this community. Let’s give Dr. Veazy a round of applause!

Paducah’s leaders had a vision for what they wanted the city to become and is now well known for its commitment to the arts and artists.
The award-winning Artist Relocation Program has helped revitalize Lower Town and the entire city.

The School or Art and Design has played a role in that by bringing more art students into Paducah as well as attracting nationally recognized artists to workshops. The number of students WKCTC is serving in these programs has grown way beyond the original expectations.

The Fine Arts and Applied Science degree programs draw students from several areas outside of Paducah as well as those who live here.

The addition of this new state of the art building that houses all the latest technology along with space for painting and drawing studios, a recording studio, lecture hall and the 1,600 square foot Bill Ford Gallery will allow our students to hone their craft in an atmosphere that’s like none other.

And, now the culinary arts program also has space here. I’m sure the art students and the community will enjoy our culinary students’ delicious creations coming out of the Kitchen’s Cafe!

West Kentucky Community and Technical College and the School of Art and Design have played an important role in the local economy helping add millions of dollars to city coffers.

As I travel across the state and hear discussions about the economy and jobs, it’s clear that if we want to improve our communities and our state, there has to be a larger vision for success.

Through your arts district, historic downtown, museums and floodwall murals, you’ve created something other cities wish they could replicate.

There’s a good deal of research about how a vibrant arts community adds value to cities.

In short, a vibrant arts community is central to defining local culture, community engagement and quality of life.

Much has been written about the value creative people bring to a community. One of the most well-known writers on this topic is Richard Florida.

In his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida defines the creative class as complex problem solvers. He says what they do involves a great deal of judgement and requires high levels of education.

And that’s what West Kentucky Community and Technical College is offering our students… a place to improve their lives and live their dreams.

Here, they not only can enhance their skills, but also can be a vital part of the creative, experiential lifestyle that’s been developed at the school and in the community.

Many communities around the state have seen their younger people move out in search of a better quality of life.

Paducah and West Kentucky Community and Technical College, through their arts community, offer what today’s students and graduates are seeking.
I applaud the vision and leadership of this community and our college for coming together to create not only, this exemplary School of Art and Design, but also for creating the type of community where people want to live and visit.

Congratulations to WKCTC, our art and culinary students, the city and all the partners involved in bringing the new building for the Paducah School of Art and Design to fruition.

Again, thank you for inviting me to be part of it.

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