An almost universal reality for performing arts centers across the country like Bowling Green’s Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is that their revenue from ticket sales is not enough to cover expenses.

Trying to raise ticket prices to cover the shortfall isn’t the solution because when ticket prices rise above a certain level, fewer tickets are sold. SKyPAC also hosts many school groups as part of its mission to create more exposure and appreciation for the performing arts, which is very important but doesn’t generate revenue.

Like nearly all performing arts centers, SKyPAC must depend on financial support from local government and their patrons to keep their doors open. SKyPAC’s situation was adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which stopped ticket sales even as certain fixed costs continued.

Enter Bowling Green businessman Jim Scott and his wife, Rita, who announced last week a $1 million gift, the largest single investment ever made to an arts organization in southern Kentucky.

The donation will be split evenly, with half supporting operating expenses and half going toward establishment of the Rita and Jim Scott Endowment, which will help put the center on more secure financial footing for the longer term.

Fittingly, the primary performance space at SKyPAC will be named Rita and Jim Scott Concert Hall in recognition of their generous gift.

Jeff Reed, chief executive of Arts of Southern Kentucky, which grew out of the merger of Orchestra Kentucky and SKyPAC, described the organization’s future as “very bright thanks to the Scotts’ gift. I can’t thank them enough and will probably be thanking them both every time I see them till the day I die.”

Rita Scott noted that “my husband and I have contributed to a lot of good causes in Bowling Green and I think this building speaks for itself. It’s a wonderful asset to our community. We feel it’s a good place to put this contribution, and that it will keep this place going for years to come.”

Indeed it will.

Their gift along with other more recently announced gifts from the aforementioned Jeff Reed and his wife, Dr. Sherry Reed, for $50,000 and another $25,000 gift from an anonymous donor will strengthen the performing arts scene here, thereby enhancing the quality of life in our area.

We salute all of these donors for their most generous gifts.

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