Danville, KY Arts & Culture
Offerings include museums, galleries, festivals and historic sites
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto
Present-day artists and attractions along with historic charm and preservation are what help make Danville-Boyle County a nice place to live and visit, with several interesting things to see and do.
On the Centre College campus, Norton Center for the Arts is where visitors can attend a variety of performances and events. For theater lovers, Pioneer Playhouse serves dinner and a live show Tuesdays through Saturdays during summer months, while West T. Hill Community Theatre produces plays year round and maintains a vibrant children’s theater program.
Since 1998, the Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County has fostered art awareness, education and events, including a twice-yearly Art Hop Stop where downtown businesses stay open late to host gallery-goers. A biannual Art-full Raffle raises funds for scholarships, while the Commission’s Community Arts Center showcases exhibits and performances and offers classes in dance, music and visual arts.
Stephen Rolfe Powell Studio
World renowned glass artist Stephen Powell is an art professor at Centre College and has also opened his own Stephen Rolfe Powell Studio in Danville. On display are several of his colorful large-scale blown glass sculptures, with his artistic style often described as playful and whimsical. Many of his pieces are so huge that it took a team of glass artists to complete them under Powell’s direction.
Take a tour of the Ephraim McDowell House Museum, a National Historic Landmark named for one of the area’s early physicians. Or go small at the Great American Dollhouse Museum, where a world of miniatures can intrigue tall and tiny visitors alike, with attractions like a playroom, classroom and gift shop.
Kentucky’s state constitution was signed in 1792 in Danville’s Constitution Square, and the park houses several original and replica historic structures of the era. Well worth a visit is Boyle County Courthouse where 10 constitutional conventions were held, while Danville National Cemetery is the resting place for Civil War dead. In addition, the Battle of Perryville was the bloodiest battle in Kentucky history and is memorialized with a reenactment each October and a museum.
McDowell Park is near Centre College and features a statue commemorating the Confederate States of America, and The Farm is an old working plantation transformed into a bed-and-breakfast where guests can get a full ag experience by working with the farm animals.
Events and Festivals
The Great American Brass Band Festival brings 40,000 fans to Danville each June for music, food, fireworks, a hot air balloon race and other fun. Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue presents life as it was lived in old times, complete with traditional country music and working craftspeople.
Each September, Oktoberfest on Main features good food, craft beers, live music and fun, and literature lovers shouldn't miss the Writers Day Celebration at Penn's Store in Gravel Switch, a month-long event that brings in songwriters, poets, authors and more for sessions and lectures.