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Celebration Marks New Chapter in College History

Seven years after community leaders approached Dr. Barbara Veazey with the idea of opening an art school in Lowertown Paducah, the Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD) has become an integral part of Paducah's creative economy.

Weve come a long way in a very short period of time, Dr. Veazey, president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) told more than 200 people at a PSAD open house and celebration Tuesday. And we are extremely proud and thrilled to showcase our first class facilities, because we know they are second to none.

The open house for PSAD, a division of WKCTC, was not only an opportunity for the college and community to celebrate the official completion of the first two phases of PSAD's Lowertown campus with the 7,000-square-foot Sculpture building and the adjacent 6,700-square-foot Ceramics and Small Metals Building.

   

 

It was also the kickoff for the final phase of the PSAD campus project, which will result in the renovation of the 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street.

Once completed in January 2016, the historic building, formerly known as Kitchens, Inc., will provide 29,400-square-feet of studio space for 2-dimensional design,painting, drawing, graphic design, and digital photography, as well as office and gallery space and a café.

By January 2016, we will realize a $14 million campus expansion driving education and economic development in west Kentucky. With it we will have established a significant regional asset and a school of art prepared to establish itself on a national level.

Aho said the college is moving forward with work toward accreditation by the national association of Schools of Art and Design. WKCTC and PSAD created the first Associate of Fine Arts in Kentucky.

WKCTC secured $2.5 million from the community to renovate the Kitchens building in August. An additional $7.5 million will be funded by state agency bonds. Ross Tarrant Architects of Lexington produced the overall design of the campus.

In addition to celebrating the art schools journey, WKCTC recognized the support of Dr. Michael B. McCall, retiring president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Dr. Veazey and PSAD Dean Paul Aho both said Dr. McCalls support was instrumental to the realization of the art school.

This celebration is a landmark event for us that leads us toward the opening of our final phase of construction," said Aho. "We're very, very pleased with the support from the community and our ability to rightfully recognize Dr. McCall. Without his support, we wouldn't be here."

During the September 30 celebration, Dr. Veazey unveiled a 24-inch tall bust of Dr. McCalls likeness produced by local artist and former PSAD adjunct instructor Linda Ogden. Dr. McCall will retire in January 2015 after 16 years as KCTCS president. "You can have a vision, you can have a dream," Dr. Veazey said, "but you have to have someone who supports you to make it happen."

Dr. McCall told the crowd of more than 200 people that he was honored by the recognition and especially the presentation of the bust. He praised Dr. Veazey and all who supported the colleges efforts to make the art school a reality.

"What Dr. Veazey has been able to put together with this community and what support has been here, has just been remarkable," Dr. McCall said. "It just shows that if you have a vision, you have to look beyond what a building may look like right now, but have the vision of the future of what it will do and can do for your community. That's what's been done here."

A. & K. Construction of Paducah conducted demolition work on the last phase of the art school project -the 905 Harrison St. building this summer. Pinnacle, Inc. Construction of Benton will begin renovations on the building this month.

For more information about PSAD, visit PaducahSchoolofArtandDesign.org.

student working with clay student working with clay students sharing artwork  
Paul Aho speaking at the open house open house crowd in attendance band performing at open house