left to right: Dr. Michael McCall, president of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, WKCTC President Barbara Veazey, John Williams, vice chair of the Paducah Junior College, Inc. Foundation Board of Trustees and Clay Howerton, Judge J. Will
PADUCAH, KY (August 15, 2014) - A $400,000 donation from the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation has helped West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) reach its $2.5 million goal for the Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD) campus project, college officials announced last Friday.
Paducah native Jane Carson Myre was a true philanthropist with a love of the arts and a love for her hometown. It was in Paducah that her father, Luther F. Carson, built a Coca Cola bottling plant in 1939 and helped many people in the western Kentucky region. Myre with her husband, Dr. Louis Myre, carried on her father's generosity by establishing the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation through a trust in 2007.
WKCTC began a fundraising campaign last year for the completion of the Paducah School of Art and Design's full campus environment in Lowertown Paducah. The final phase of the campus project would convert the historic, 29,400-square-foot Kitchens, Inc., building at 905 Harrison Street into space for the college's two-dimensional art programs, including painting, drawing, digital photography and graphic design at a cost of $10 million with a $2.5 million match by the local community.
"This project has been, from the start, about creating and maintaining Paducah as a unique city known for the arts," said WKCTC President Barbara Veazey. "It is so fitting that the charitable trust established by Dr. Louis and Jane Myre, who had such a love for the arts would play a pivotal role in the completion of our art school campaign."
A retired internal medicine physician, Dr. Louis Myre was on staff at Western Baptist for approximately 30 years before retiring in the mid-1980s. In the 1960s, he, along with Drs. C. Pittman Orr and W.P. (Pete) Hall, set up the hospital's first cardiac ward with five beds. The Cardiac Heart Center bears his name.
Jane Carson Myre was the daughter of Luther F. Carson, whose generosity helped many people in the Western Kentucky region and beyond. According to the Foundation's web site, Myre chose to carry on her father's legacy of generosity by establishing the foundation. Nearest to her heart were Christian outreach programs, in ministry, education, and aid to those in need. In addition, she loved the arts, and permitted the trustees of her foundation to provide limited grants to such organizations in the region around Paducah. Jane Myre passed away in 2010.
Judge J. William Howerton, a cousin of Jane Carson Myre and chair of the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees, along with a few other foundation trustees presented a ceremonial check to Dr. Veazey during Friday's announcement. "On behalf of Jane and Louis Myre, I wanted to say that if (Jane) were here, she would certainly approve of this. I have no doubt about that whatsoever," Howerton said. "I hope that this (art school campus) will become a real crown jewel in all the highlights that Paducah has. And some day, it will be recognized as well as the Savannah College of Art and Design (in Savannah, Ga.).
Dr. Veazey said she hopes the Kitchens renovation project will be a catalyst for heightened growth in Lowertown and downtown Paducah. PSAD enrollment has grown from 160 students in spring 2008 to more than 425 students by the fall 2014. Renovations to the Kitchens facility are slated to begin in October and the work completed by January 2016.
While funds for the major portion of the project have been raised, pledges, over a five-year period, are still accepted to support the many other needs of the project. For information about supporting the PSAD, contact Ashley Wright at (270) 534-3084 or visit www.supportpsad.org.