PRESTONSBURG – Exciting changes took place for Floyd County’s premier entertainment facility – the Mountain Arts Center – on Wednesday. Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and the City of Prestonsburg came together in an effort to improve and build upon the already successful performing arts facility. The city and the college have agreed to combine resources and co-manage the facility. Prestonsburg City Mayor Les Stapleton and council members Harry Adams, Tim Cooley, David Gearheart, Fred Goble, Kimber McGuire, B.D. Nunnery, Roy Roberts and Don Willis spend many hours discussing ways to improve the City of Prestonsburg. This collaboration has been in development for some time and will bring more resources and opportunities for the community and patrons of the Mountain Arts Center.
“This partnership will bring many resources to the MAC such as grant writing opportunities and public relations and media support that can bring more people to the facility which will improve tourism opportunities,” said Stapleton.
With the retirement of current Executive Director Keith Caudill, a new Executive Director was named. Clayton Case has been tabbed the new Executive Director of the Mountain Arts Center. Case has been serving as the director of Fine Arts at BSCTC. He is well-known for his partnership with Laura Ford in the creation and coordinating of the Big Sandy Idol Competitions in local area high schools. Case is also no stranger to the Mountain Arts Center. He joined the Kentucky Opry when he was a sophomore at Betsy Layne High School. Mentored by the legendary Billie Jean Osborne, he shares the same drive, passion, love of music and the recognition that there is amazing talent in Eastern Kentucky. His experience, knowledge, drive and passion to promote the talent in Eastern Kentucky and the local community make Case an excellent choice to fill the Caudill’s big shoes.
BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson spoke on his excitement to be a part of the community and to be in a position where he can use his skills and knowledge from previous positions to work with the City of Prestonsburg and promote the development of a work ready community.
“If people work together in an open way with porous boundaries – that is, if they listen to each other and really talk to each other – then they are bound to trade ideas that are mutual to each other and be influenced by each other. That mutual influence and open system of working create collaboration,” Devin Stephenson said as he quoted the celebrity, Richard Thomas.
This agreement demonstrates the power of true collaboration and community development. By leveraging resources, the MAC will continue to serve as a multi-purpose facility, providing educational opportunities, and community and outreach programs. It also allows local, regional and national performers to share the stage. This partnership will bring a number of college resources including: marketing and public relations resources, webmaster expertise for the redesign and launch of a new interactive MAC website, grant writers with experience and knowledge of grant development for local, state, regional and federal opportunities, information technology specialist to assist with the maintenance of the MAC network and computer systems, and most important the collaboration with the BSCTC Fine Arts Department. With this collaboration, college credit can now be awarded to students who participate in the MAC private instruction classes such as vocal, violin, and piano. With the access to the BSCTC Fine Arts Department, it is the intent of the agreement to expand the current private instruction offerings to include visual art, photography and other fine arts programs, based on demand. The development of new programs and the availability of additional resources will enable Case to meet the expectations he now faces as Executive Director.
“This is home to me I feel like this is where I need to be,” said Case. “This will be great for all entities involved to be able to leverage the resources to afford the students interested in the fine arts program every opportunity available. I am excited to develop a Performing Arts Academy for the student interested how to work the lighting studio, the recording studio, the video studio, the front of the house sound system all those things are going to be involved in our Fine Arts Academy.”
It is an exciting time for the Mountain Arts Center, BSCTC, the City of Prestonsburg and Eastern Kentucky. In addition to Case, the new administration staff of the MAC includes Stapleton, Stephenson, Assistant Director Shelly Crisp and Booking and PR Agent Joe Campbell.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.