Renovations are already underway at the Kentuck Museum Building in historic downtown Northport, but more financial help is needed to ensure that the two-story, nearly 100-year-old structure is restored to glory. On Friday, April 10, the Kentuck Board of Directors announced it is embarking on a $1.1 million capital campaign to raise funds for the project.
Kentuck Steering Committee Chair David Pass said to date, they’ve raised just over $700,000, thanks in part to the City of Northport’s $300,000 contribution in December, and additional help from Alabama Power Foundation, which donated $50,000.
“We still have a long way to go, and we need help,” Pass said. “It’s going to take everybody who loves Kentuck’s support to hit the goal that we have. But it will be well worthwhile once we do.”
In March of 2013, a bat infestation and subsequent cleanup forced Kentuck officials to move out of the building. Structural damage was later found, sending repair costs soaring. Now, plans are moving forward to restore the Museum.
Pass said this is a “long-overdue aesthetic renovation,” one which allows for multi-use areas for classes and community events.
“Our goal is to create a bright, modern, visually compelling space where the West Alabama community can come together to make art and celebrate art.”
The construction project involves a complete renovation of the Museum, making both floors useable by artists, staff and community members. The first floor will include exhibition space for artists and an improved floor plan for the Kentuck Gallery Shop, as well as a kitchen and ADA accessible restrooms. The second floor, which was previously used for storage, will house staff offices and a large conference room.
Harrison Construction received the renovation contract for the building; Ellis Architects designed the new layout. The two local companies previously teamed up to renovate the Allen and Jemison Building at Seventh Street and Greensboro Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa into the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center.
Kentuck Executive Director Amy Echols is excited about the partnership with the two companies.
“Their quality workmanship, support of cultural community assets, and attention to historical details make them a perfect fit.”
How To Help:
If you’d like to contribute to the renovation effort, visit www.kentuck.org/restore. Make the checks out to Kentuck and mail them to:
Kentuck Art Center
503 Main Avenue
Northport, AL 35476
Anyone wishing to donate can also call the Art Center at (205) 758-1257.
Photo: Christopher Edmunds