The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage announce plans to develop a Media Arts Center named to honor the Legendary Colonel Charles Young
The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (Heritage Center) is embarking on the expansion of a new Media Arts Center in a vacant 14,000 square foot wing on the campus. The proposed media arts center will be a state-of-the-art facility serving as the communication arm of one of the primary heritage centers in the state of Kentucky. The Media Arts Center will house a 40′ x 50′ “black-box” with a maximum seating capacity of 200, providing a unique and versatile space where artists of all disciplines showcase their creative work. The center’s layout will also include a lower and upper level. The lower level will include a dressing room with sink and toilets, green rooms, options for loading in and out, public restrooms, office and storage spaces. The upper level will include editing suites, sound booths, meeting rooms and access to the control room and lighting grid over-looking the “black-box” theatre. This venue will offer local artist and media producers a platform to produce video, theatre, music, dance, literary, public lectures, community forums and more.
The new Media Arts Center will offer a professional learning environment where media and the arts are used to promote and preserve Kentucky’s African American heritage and the shared heritage with the African Diaspora by hosting and producing programs, performances, exhibits, and a repository of video programs that will be broadcasted and/or distributed throughout Kentucky and the nation. The fund-raising goal for the project is 3.5 million dollars.
To initiate this capital campaign, the Heritage Center has retained the services of Charles Blatcher III, as the Project Fundraising Director for the construction and development of the new Colonel Charles Young Media Arts Center located on the 68,000 square foot campus in Louisville, Kentucky.
Mr. Blatcher brings a wealth of experience working as a principal organizer for the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations (NCOBVO). The coalition came together in unity of purpose to promote a greater understanding of the important role Black service men and service women perform in the defense of the nation. As chairman, Mr. Blatcher has led the coalition as the chief advocate for Black Military History and Colonel Charles Young. Under his leadership, the call for the posthumous honorary promotion for Colonel Charles Young to the rank of Brigadier General has gained prominence. He is not a stranger to Kentucky. He has played a major role in promoting educational tourism in the Kentucky/Ohio region. The Coalition dubbed the route connecting the Colonel’s birth cabin in Mays Lick, Kentucky to the national monument and archives in Wilberforce, Ohio as “the Colonel Charles Young Corridor.” We have seen some things move in a positive direction under his leadership. We look forward to the expertise and dedication he brings to the Media project. Mr. Blatcher recounts why naming the Media Arts Center in honor of Colonel Charles Young:
I welcome the opportunity to be a part of developing the Media Arts Center. Especially in the name of the legendary Colonel Charles Young. It’s an honor he deserves. In his period of history, he was more than an outstanding Soldier, he was a great communicator as a visual artist, musician, and poet, who spoke several languages. Colonel Young stood with
intellectuals of the times, such as W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and poet, novelist, and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar who were among his close friends.
Colonel Young has a presence in African-American art and literature. One of the most notable instances of this is Countée Cullen’s 1925 poem “In Memory of Colonel Charles Young.” Another case of Young’s legacy in literature is from his close friend, W.E.B. Du Bois, who spoke at Young’s eulogy. DuBois claimed that “The life of Charles Young was a triumph of tragedy.” Charles Young is also represented in paintings and other art. Notably, a painting by J.W. Shannon titled “Portrait of Cadet Charles Young,” which currently belongs to The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio.
He was a creative man who left behind a treasure of musical scores, poetry, and writings. The thought of him one day having his name above a Media Arts Center would have pleased him. What is pleasing for me is to think one day some of his work may be presented in a theater in a building named in his honor. I welcome being a part of making it happen. I am optimistic in the pride this effort will bring to the Community, City of Louisville and the State of Kentucky.
KCAAH is working in tandem with the Black Media Collaborative (BMC). BMC is a network of media professionals including directors, producers, writers and specialist working in the film, television, radio, animation, theatre, literature, journalism and Internet industries. BMC is dedicated to developing media literacy and skilled people in the production of media to provide significant economic, employment and cultural benefits in our community. BMC will provide the human resource capacity to develop an onsite media production facility which will be dedicated to radio, film, video and theatre productions, which will provide both training and performing venue.
The center will also collaborate with the African American Theatre Program (AATP) at the University of Louisville. AATP produces theatrical productions about Black life in Kentucky and throughout the African Diaspora. Founded in 1993, the African American Theatre Program is committed to staging works by new and established African American dramatists, developing a broad audience for African American theatre, and offering an in-depth curriculum that focuses on the theory and craft of acting, directing, and designing for Black Theatre.
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