Paducah's Cultural Tapestry Consists of Arts, Theater and Quilting
PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Young
With needle in hand, a quilter carefully joins pieces of cloth to create a timeless masterpiece. Quilting is an important part of Paducah’s culture – and theater, art, and music are also woven into the fabric of life in this river city.
One of the most interesting blendings of history, art and redevelopment is the city’s Artist Relocation Program in LowerTown, the oldest neighborhood in Paducah. The program was started at the turn of the 21st century as a means to bring artists from around the country to live and work together and give a struggling neighborhood an economic boost. The award-winning concept has brought more than 70 artists to LowerTown.
On stage, the Market House Theatre is one of Paducah’s gems. The theater group dates back to 1963 and offers entertainment, as well as training, in the historic Market House building downtown. The newest venue for the arts is the $44 million Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, which provides a spectacular riverfront setting for musical performances, theater, ballet and more.
The Carson Center is home for the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, formed nearly 30 years ago. The symphony presents pops and classical performances throughout the year, as well as a chorus program, school concerts and a young artist competition.
A number of museums help tell the story of Paducah, including the River Heritage Museum, which is located in the 1843 Petter Building, the oldest surviving antebellum building downtown. The Market House Museum has rotating historical exhibits, as well as a replica of the List Drug Store.
Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah founded the American Quilter’s Society in 1983, and in 1991 opened the museum, which draws 40,000 visitors annually from around the world. The museum was designated the National Quilt Museum of the United States in 2008. The AQS plans its 25th annual quilt show and contest in April 2009.