Lyric Theatre Organization Taking Form

Lyric Board Appointed and “Friends” of Lyric Formed

The Lyric Theatre building renovation is well underway and now deliberate steps are being taken toward organizing for the opening and management of the facility, which is anticipated for the Fall of 2010.  In December, Lyric Theatre Board Members were appointed and a “Friends of The Lyric” organization was established and a president selected.

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry has appointed 13 of the 15 Board of Director positions allotted by the Lyric Work Group.  Among the responsibilities of the Board is the hiring of an Executive Director for the Theatre.  The Board members have staggering terms. The following names are Board members and the date is when their term expires:

  • Gene Woods, Businessperson (12/8/2011)
  • Janet Holloway, Businessperson (12/8/2011)
  • Robert Jefferson, Lyric Task Force Member (12/8/2011)
  • Everett McCorvey, Artist (12/8/2011)
  • Freda Meriweather, Lyric Task Force Member (12/8/2011)
  • Kip Cornett, Marketing Representative (12/8/2013)
  • Chester Grundy, UK Representative (12/8/2013)
  • Abdul H. Muhammad, Banker (12/8/2013)
  • Anne Nash, Community Member (12/8/2013)
  • Miles Osland, Artist (12/8/2013)
  • Juanita Betz Peterson, Lyric Task Force Member (12/8/2013)

The Board also includes two ex-officio members who relinquish their positions when no longer in office. They include Andrea James (1st District Councilmember) and Glenda George (Representative of the Mayor/Law Department).  The 14th spot will go to the President of the “Friends of the Lyric” and the Mayor has one additional assignment left.

According to the Lyric Work Group recommendations, another organization was to be formed to support the Lyric and be named the Friends of the Lyric.  “Friends” will make a $25 donation to the Lyric each year and organize fund raising efforts.  The President of the “Friends” group will also serve as a Board Member of The Lyric.

Reportedly, on November 20th the first organizational meeting was held to form the Friends of the Lyric.  The meeting was announced via email to former Lyric Task Force members.  On December 15th, the group met again and named Annissa Franklin as President.

A spokesman for Mayor Newberry said that neither the city nor his office was involved in the organization of the group. “But, we support their efforts.”

The original Lyric Task Force was appointed by then Mayor Teresa Isaac and had a mission to guide the Lyric renovation process up until construction began.  The group is in the process of dissolving at this point and Ms. Franklin said that many members still wanted to remain active in the process, thus the formation of the “Friends” group.  The Mayor’s spokesperson said, “[We] do think it makes sense for those who have heretofore served as members of the mayoral appointed Lyric Theater Task Force to take the lead in organize the citizen driven, independent Friends of the lyric group.  These individuals have been sheparding the project for years.”

Ms. Franklin reports that George Brown was elected as Vice-President, but other positions are still open.  For more information on the Friends of The Lyric meetings and open officer positions call Annissa Franklin at The Urban League 859-233-1561.  The next public Friends of Lyric Meeting is scheduled for February 13 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at The Kentucky Theater.

The Lyric Theatre, located at Third St. and Elm Tree Lane, was a magnet for African Americans in Lexington when the Kentucky Theater on Main Street still practiced segregation.  After desegregation, attendance at the Lyric declined and the owners closed it down.  The building sat vacant until the city of Lexington began restoration as part of an agreement with the State of Kentucky in 2009.

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