Mountain Arts Center celebrates 25th anniversary

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:08 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - On Wednesday evening, people throughout Eastern Kentucky gathered at the Mountain Arts Center to celebrate its 25th anniversary with food, music, fellowship and plenty of memories.

Before the MAC came Billie Jean Osborne and the Kentucky Opry who worked with several founding members to build the venue.

“The Kentucky Opry and the Jr. Pros were playing shows all across the state working their butts off to raise money for this facility,” said MAC Executive Director Joe Campbell. “You know, they would put all the money back into raising the money for this facility.”

The group of founders envisioned a venue to foster local talent and to bring in tourism for the community. Since 1997, the MAC has seen its fair share of stars from Brad Paisley to Loretta Lynn, but it is still focused on bringing up young, local talent.

“All kinds of talent came through this building, and that’s what this place was built for,” said Campbell. “You know, miss Billie Jean saw that vision and carried forward with it, and that’s one of the main things we’re here for is the arts, education and the tourism.”

Jody Conley, a founding member of the Kentucky Opry, said he hopes the MAC continues for many more years and is excited to see more talent on stage.

“I want this venue to go on for the next 30 years. I want to see it grow, I want to see the shows grow, I want to see things happen and take place here,” said Conley. “We’re going to see kids that are right now probably in grade school that are one day going to perform on this stage, and I think that will continue. Music has always been a building block of Eastern Kentucky.”

Campbell added the MAC and its partners are dedicated to serving Eastern Kentucky and fostering the growth of local talent.