The Capitol Arts Center’s supporters want the community to know the historic theater is as vital as it’s ever been.

After the long-sought replacement of the county-owned theater’s ailing HVAC system, the theater is ready to host an inaugural event of sorts to kick off a new era, according to Rob Hankins, vice president and chief of external affairs for the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, which operates the Capitol.

On Saturday, the Capitol will host a free fundraiser to call attention to the newly revitalized theater.

“I think it’s just an opportunity just to show off the Capitol and kind of relaunch it,” he said.

The fundraiser begins at 5:30 p.m. and features a screening of “Wayne’s World 2” at 7 p.m.

The original plan was to screen “Woodstock the Movie,” a documentary about the famous festival in honor of the event’s 50th anniversary, but Warner Brothers pulled licensing rights for the film until September, said Lynn O’Keefe, a member of the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Foundation board of directors.

“Wayne’s World 2” was chosen as a backup movie because a central aspect of its plot involves Wayne trying to organize a spiritual successor to Woodstock.

“We’re still honoring Woodstock,” she said. “It’s just with some goofy guys.”

Before the screening begins, the event will feature music from Woodstock provided by DJ Matt Pfefferkorn and a formal county proclamation declaring August as Capitol Arts Center Month.

For years, the Capitol has been utilized less than O’Keefe would like because of issues with its faulty HVAC system, though she said she’s excited about upcoming plans to schedule more events there.

“I’m over the moon about the whole thing,” she said. “This has been a project that’s been near and dear to my heart since I first came on at the SKyPAC Board of Directors.”

While the Capitol is a more reliable venue than it has been in years because of its new HVAC system, there are still some small improvements SKyPAC wants to see at the Capitol, like remodeling the restrooms and fixing aesthetic damage resulting from a formerly leaky ceiling.

“We’re really encouraging donations because ... there’s still things that need to be fixed,” she said.

The fundraiser can also be thought of as the inaugural event for a revamped screening schedule, O’Keefe said.

From now on, the Capitol will be holding more screenings than in years past, she said.

On some Tuesday nights in the foreseeable future, the Capitol will show documentaries and independent films and some Friday nights will be dedicated to family-friendly movies. On Thursday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons in which the theater is not hosting other events, the Capitol will be available for outside groups to organize screenings there, O’Keefe said.

Hankins said the fundraiser calls attention to the Capitol’s history while building excitement for a more active future for the theater.

“It will be an opportunity to pay tribute to the past and look forward to the future of the Capitol Arts building,” he said.

Hankins also said SKyPAC hopes the community is receptive of the Capitol’s resurgence.

“We’re just excited for the renovations and the upgrades,” he said. “We’re hoping people take advantage of it.”

– Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit


General assignment reporter focusing on features and regional coverage.

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