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It’s been a busy year for arts and entertainment in Hardin County. From local milestones to national television broadcasts, Hardin County has provided a variety of music, theater, dance and visual art throughout 2012.
“This year has provided so many artistic opportunities in Hardin County that we are often hard pressed to decide which to attend,” Hardin County Playhouse director Bo Cecil said. “This is a nice problem to have both for the community at large and for local artists.”
HCP received high honors this year as “The Laramie Project” won big at the Kentucky State Theater Festival.
The production won four awards. Sarah Ryan Dakin won best supporting actress, Josh Logsdon won best supporting actor, Ron Blair won best male performer and the play won best production.
Cecil noticed the artistic community worked together more this year than ever. He personally is thankful for volunteers who make up the artistic community.
“Without their steadfast work, many opportunities would wither on the vine,” he said. “The arts in Hardin County thrive not only because of the artists who make it, but because of the people who support it.”
The city of Elizabethtown made an effort this year to highlight local musicians in a variety of events throughout the year. Sometimes local acts headlined shows and sometimes they served as openers.
“In our infancy in 2012 we were able to include over 10 local bands from Founder’s Day to Heartland Festival,” events coordinator Sarah Vaughn said. “We are proud of local musicians and artists that represent music, downtown businesses and vendors throughout each event.”
The area is blessed to have such wonderful talent in this community and organizers hope to showcase their talents more and more in years to come, she said.
Second Saturday events in downtown Elizabethtown helped spotlight local talent and Via Colori brought sidewalk chalk art to life.
It also was a good year for art and photography. Rich Griendling’s sculptures for the Veterans Tribute in Elizabethtown were placed and open for viewing in November. Acclaimed Elizabethtown photographer David Toczko’s photographs were published in “The Ambassador of Bourbon,” a visual depiction of Maker’s Mark bourbon.
Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School also had a good year.
“The greatest highlight for the PAC itself this year is our rededication to providing our community with life-long learning experiences alongside professional talent through our ProAm productions while maintaining our goal of bringing Hardin County entertainment experiences from around the world that they might not otherwise see like our upcoming production ‘Cirque Zuma Zuma,’” PAC director Bart Lovins said.
One of the highlights this year was a multimedia event that coordinated the play “Our Town” with the “Our Copland Concert” and photography from the Mountain Workshop book created by WKU photojournalism students.
“I will always remember how these groups came together that weekend and captured, for a moment in time, who and what Hardin County is, was and hopes to be,” he said.
The Historic State Theater not only showed a variety of films but welcomed national musical and comedic talents. Comedian Etta May returned this year to tickle funny bones. The theater also hosted concerts by national recording artists Steel Magnolia, Casey James, Street Corner Symphony, Mark Chesnutt, Jason Gray and Todd Agnew.
State Theater director Emily West noted the venues in Hardin County are not about making a profit.
“Facilities like the PAC, State Theater and the Hardin County Playhouse are not here to make heavy pockets, we’re here to make to our community a better place to live,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m in the entertainment business, I feel that I’m in the business of enjoyment, laughter and creating memories.”
The county also has been featured on television. Several ghost hunting reality shows have filmed on location in Elizabethtown.
A few local filmmakers, such as the crew behind “The Brothers Barbarian” also have made small-market and Web-based shows in the area.
The world of dance made its mark in the county in 2012 as well. In December, Dance Centre of Elizabethtown presented its 35th annual performance of the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker.”
HCP’s Cecil is grateful for the community’s support of the arts.
“Let me say how happy I am that we value the arts as a necessity, even in these difficult economic times when a $10 ticket is something to weigh in your budget,” he said. “That people understand the worth of the arts, not just for entertainment but also for the growth of our humanity, is something I hope continues to be fostered.”
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.