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Glema Mahr Center for the Arts

In Hopkins County, art and culture have a home at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Madionsville Community College.

“I truly believe that humanity, that individuals need something outside themselves to help them laugh and sing. It is different things for different people,” said Brad Downall, director of the Glema Mahr Center.

The center began as a dream among arts-minded citizens in the 1970s, and the center opened in 1991. Arts supporter Janet Woodall Corum recalled the opening.

“It was a great event because it was the dream…of so many people in Madisonville and Hopkins County who had really devoted a lot of hours to making this happen,” she said.

Glema Mahr devoted many volunteer hours to the center, Corum said. In 1991, Mahr donated money to fund a charitable trust for the center, and the center was named for her, said Downall. “This was her heart,” he said.

Downall said the center not only presents artists from the national and international scene, but it nurtures artists in its community. “We took it as part of our mission, and we started a community theater,” he added.

Schoolchildren come to special matinee performances for schools. “A lot of these children have never been out of Hopkins County. So it opens their eyes to the world,” said Corum.
Corum believes that everyone should be able to be involved in the arts in some way: “Because it brings out an emotional value in a person. It brings out a love for creativity, an acknowledgment that each of us is different. And it just makes your eyes and your heart and your brain open to the beauty of life and of this world. And not just the beauties, but things that need to be changed.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2203, which originally aired on October 15, 2016. Watch the full episode.