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Living Arts & Science addition will be named for Little; fund-raising passes halfway mark

The new Lucille Caudill Discovery Center at Living Arts and Science Center will house Lexington's only planetarium and other new features. (Photo by Judah Taylor)


By Judah Taylor
KyForward intern

A new addition at the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington will be named in honor of late board member and original founder Lucille Caudill Little.

The announcement Tuesday follows a $1 million matching grant from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation to the LASC’s “Imagine This Capital Campaign,” which seeks to raise the necessary funds to build the Lucille Caudill Little Discovery Center and complete other renovations of LASC’s building on North Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Speaking to a small crowd of business people and board members Tuesday morning, campaign Chair Harriet Dupree Bradley also announced that the campaign has raised more than half of it’s $5 million goal — $2.85 million — enough to begin planning to break ground on the expansions by next summer.

Both the expansion and renovations are anticipated to reach completion by summer 2015.

Bradley said that the time is right to begin moving forward with the plans, as the LASC has begun to outgrow its current accommodations.

“Everything is stacked on everything else in (the main building),” she said. “We need the expansion and the renovation to continue on soon.”

As a child who frequented the halls of the LASC, which has been housed in the historic Kinkhead House since 1971, and seeing her own child learn in and explore the same halls, Bradley said that she fell in love with the place she described as “the most gorgeous and good looking place imaginable in all of Lexington.”

“This is our home,” she said. “People asked us why we don’t just move, but I couldn’t imagine functioning anywhere else.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said the renovated Living Arts and Science Center will 'serve as a great example and touchstone for others.'

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray shared his thoughts with the crowd following the announcement.

“I have to confess … this is a remarkable piece of 21st century architecture,” he said, referring to how the expansions will complement the original structure. “The plans marry up the old and the new so well.”

He said that the only things that haven’t grown at LASC in its 40 years, are its debt and its grounds. And in the interest of stunting the former, and sprouting the latter, LASC for the first time has accepted public funding, in the form of a $100,000 grant from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council.

Referring to the initial council meeting where the grant was approved as a religious experience, Gray said, “We were surrounded by good ideas at the meeting, but it was almost like a spirit moved everyone to this project… and it’s a great one.”

Gray said the new building will become iconic once completed.

“We have a long way to go, but this is a tremendous stepping stone along the way,” said Heather Lyons, executive director of LASC.

The Lucille Caudill Little Discovery Center will house Lexington’s only planetarium among other additions, including a children’s art gallery, a digital art studio, a teaching kitchen and the “Glo Gallery” — named for Gloria Glo, a longtime LASC supporter, which will be able to house workshops, exhibitions and festivals.

The expansions are expected to:

• Significantly increase out of town visitors
• Multiple opportunities and partnerships with the areas higher education institutions
• Create 30-40 staff jobs
• Increase area jobs by recruiting businesses
• Double LASC’s income in the first year
• Triple the capacity for programs with audience
• Provide free exhibits and park like grounds for children
• Be a major contribution to urban beautification and public arts, in a predominately low-income neighborhood

You might also be interested in reading Non-Profit Profile: Living Arts and Science Center to get ‘magical’ addition, expand capacity.

Judah Taylor is a journalism student at the University of Kentucky

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