Arts and Culture

The  Kentucky Theatre in downtown Lexington is preparing to celebrate its 90th birthday and a group of local volunteers is working to raise up to $1.5 million for renovations to the movie house.

The theatre, which is owned by the city of Lexington and leased to a private management firm, was last renovated 20 years ago after a fire. Since then, the seats have become worn out and paint has started to chip. But theatre manager Fred Mills says the biggest issue is Hollywood’s ongoing shift away from 35 mm film to digital production of movies.

“This digital conversion with projection and sound, we’ve estimated about $250,000 to do the Kentucky Theatre auditorium.”

Mills says without a digital projector, Kentucky Theatre won’t be able to show new movies. The fundraising group is working with the non-profit Bluegrass Community Foundation to track donations and expenditures. A formal campaign launch is set for next month.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."