RiverPark Center, live arts venues struggling during pandemic

RiverPark Center, live arts venues struggling during pandemic
Updated: Sep. 1, 2020 at 5:00 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Owensboro’s RiverPark Center hosts on average more than 300 events each year. But as statewide bans on large group gatherings continue, venue officials say they’re taking a huge hit.

Rich Jorn took over as executive director of the RiverPark Center in November.

“You have all the hopes and dreams of a new position and the things and the direction you want to take,” said executive director of the RiverPark Center, Rich Jorn.

Not knowing that months later, a pandemic would change things for businesses and people everywhere.

“And then the floor drops out. It’s just all of a sudden these things you’ve been planning go away like that,” said Jorn.

Jorn says live arts venues all across the country – just like the RiverPark Center – have taken a huge hit.

“Our industry thrives on two things. It thrives on disposable income and the ability to draw a crowd and a pandemic seems to kill two things – disposable income and crowds,” said Jorn.

The executive director says to bring attention to the problem, live arts facilities across the country will be lighting up red Tuesday night.

“We’re looking to get legislators to understand our industry, our industry is hurting and it’s kind of one of those things – we’re the first to close, we’re gonna be the last to open,” said Jorn.

Jorn says they’ve cut their staff from 13 people when there’s not a show, down to two full and two part-time employees.

“I feel like the RiverPark Center is in a lot better shape than a lot of venues out there, there’s some historic venues especially independent venues that either have or are really close to closing forever and won’t ever open again,” said Jorn.

The executive director says they’re being diligent right now so that when things can open again, they’ll be ready to host shows and events.

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