RiverPark Center seeks to improve the quality of life by hosting and presenting diverse arts and civic events, focusing on arts in education.
RiverPark Center History
Residents of the Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana region have made RiverPark Center their home for cultural entertainment for more than 20 years. Diverse programming has attracted thousands of visitors to our area, making RiverPark Center the “place where memories are made.”
RiverPark’s first success came in 1988 when state government awarded Owensboro a $4.5 million challenge grant to build a performing arts center. That grant was more than doubled with $10.7 million in local funds, including a remarkable $9 million from 3,000 individuals and businesses. Fundraising efforts continue to build endowments for programming and maintenance.
Construction commenced in early 1991 and RiverPark Center opened in September 1992.
Key Elements of RiverPark Center
Flexible, Technically-Equipped Facilities
Multi-purpose facilities were designed to accommodate the needs of local and touring arts organizations. RiverPark is intimate enough to host recitals, children’s programs, community theatre, and small ensemble concerts, yet equipped technically to accommodate sophisticated touring productions.
Accommodating Civic Use
Theatres, lobbies, and meeting rooms were adaptable to civic, and private events: RiverPark has proved to be a popular location for seminars, receptions, banquets, meetings, news conferences, and many more community events.
A Bustling Center
More than 700 events occur at RiverPark Center each year. Performance events feature local and regional arts organizations, school groups, touring professionals, church and civic organizations.
National Tours Launched
On several occasions major theatrical productions were assembled, rehearsed, and national tours launched from RiverPark Center.
Television & Radio Productions
RiverPark facilities have been used by Kentucky Educational Television to broadcast our 1992 Gala Opening, 1995 Senate Debates and an Evening at the Governor’s Mansion. In 2009, RiverPark Center’s International Mystery Writers’ Festival premiered a 2-hour live performance of 4 Agatha Christie works that was carried through the local NPR affiliate WNIN and streamed on-line for eager listeners.
Several dozen appearances of bluegrass music artists were taped at RiverPark for cable television’s Reno Brothers Olde Time Music Festival, and RiverPark hosted a special live broadcast of the QVC Channel for a program marketing Kentucky crafts.
Embraced by the Community
RiverPark Center is a hub of community life. Performing arts, graduations, awards ceremonies, corporate meetings, festivals, rallies, news conferences, wedding receptions, and class reunions are examples of events which pull us together as a community unlike any other place. And a surprising 85% of our users are non-profit organizations.
RiverPark is our premiere civic landmark on the downtown riverfront. A source of pride, RiverPark is a valuable economic development tool. Recruiters of industry, corporate management, and medical specialists use RiverPark as a highlight on the community tour. RiverPark helps our region attract and retain good people, good families, good companies, overnight visitors, and conventions. It has stimulated millions of dollars in private investment in downtown Owensboro, enhancing the tax base, appearance, and vitality of the central business district and riverfront.