The city of Paducah, Kentucky is a unique place. Located in the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, and a stone's throw from the Cumberland and the mighty Mississippi, the city was originally a mixed community of Native Americans and European settlers. This cultural interaction continued until William Clark, famed leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, arrived on the scene in 1827 with a title deed to the land upon which Paducah sat. Paducah offers a history and culture as deep as the rivers that surround it, and is as beautiful and culturally diverse as ever.
The continued success of Paducah is largely due to the community's embrace of the arts, which sets it apart from many other river-basin towns of the Midwest. Like many small towns around the country, when the big shopping malls opened on the outskirts, Paducah's downtown culture and historic architecture was threatened. The difference is, Paducah realized the importance of such a commodity, and put in motion some visionary rescue efforts rooted in fine art and culture. Paducah is now fast becoming the newest cultural destination in the country.
Award-winning programs such as the Paducah Artist Relocation Program have brought our fair city into the international spotlight. Now more than ever before, we have gained the attention of the rest of the country and the world, offering this unique opportunity for artists to own homes and operate their own galleries in the affordable, supportive, historic Lower Town community.
There are currently over 25 art galleries within 6 square blocks of the Lower Town historic district. The city's oldest neighborhood, Lower Town was close to losing its character and cultural appeal, falling victim to the blight often associated with suburban sprawl. The Artist Relocation program managed to reverse all this, showing the power art and aesthetic sensibility can have on the community and on the city-scape.
The Carson Center is another landmark in downtown Paducah. Offering a full range of live entertainment, The Carson Center offers its patrons everything from performances of our own Paducah Symphony Orchestra to legendary comedy acts by such institutions as Bill Cosby and George Carlin. The center also offers internationally touring performances, such as Broadway's 'Miss Saigon' and legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman.
Perhaps most notably, Paducah supports its own independent movie theater in the heart of downtown. Maiden Alley Cinema is in its fifth year of operation and continues to be the region's main venue for foreign, independent and classic film. It is not only unusual for a small town such as Paducah to have a theater such as this, it is almost unheard of. It is the heart and character of the people who live here that make all of this possible.
Downtown Paducah also offers venues for the arts, such as the nationally recognized Market House Theater, the intriguing Yeiser Art Center, the 'PAPA' Gallery and the National Museum of the American Quilters Society. The much publicized and highly anticipated Annual Quilt Show is yet another attraction that brings people by the thousands to our fair city in the spring of every year.
Paducah, Kentucky is a small river city with a gigantic heart, an unusual intellect, and an eye for the arts. Come and see what we have to offer.