(Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 08--After the International Bluegrass Music Museum's board of trustees toured the old State Office Building on Sunday, "It's not a matter of if we move, it's when we move," Gabrielle Gray, the museum's executive director, said Tuesday.
The museum is in the midst of a $10-million fund drive to turn the building into an International Bluegrass Music Center with an indoor and outdoor performance area and a restaurant.
The museum would also be housed in the building at Second and Frederica streets.
"They're very excited about the whole project," said Terry Woodward, whose two-year term as board chairman ended Sunday. "Everything was very upbeat. They're all on board 100 percent. We talked about ways they can help with the fund drive."
Woodward is spearheading the drive.
"Counting the $3 million from the city, we were at $7.089 million on Saturday," he said.
Woodward said he is "talking to some people" about sponsoring the 1,000-seat state-of-the-art indoor theater and the outdoor festival seating for 2,000 in what is now the building's parking lot, which is across Veterans Boulevard from Smothers Park.
"We're also talking about corporate sponsorships for different sections of the center," he said. "But we have to decide exactly what will be in it before we do that."
A committee has been formed to select an architect, Woodward said. "That's on a fast track. We need renderings to show people what we're talking about."
He said the board also wants to talk with people in the bluegrass industry about what they would like to see in the center.
"There are a lot of creative people in bluegrass and we'd like to get their advice," Woodward said. "They may come up with things that we haven't thought of."
Peter Salovey, president-elect of Yale University, is the museum's new board chairman.
Woodward is now immediate past chairman and remains a member of the executive committee.
"I think the prospects for raising the additional $3 million are excellent," Salovey said in an email recently. "The City of Owensboro and its residents are to be heartily thanked for their support of bluegrass music and the bluegrass museum."
He said, "When the new convention center, the riverfront park, the new hotels and downtown businesses and the International Bluegrass Music Center are completed and open for business, Owensboro, Ky., will quickly become one of the destinations for cultural tourism in the U.S."
Salovey plays bass and sings in the Professors of Bluegrass, a Yale-based band that plays "that High-Brow Lonesome Sound," according to its website. They'll be performing at the museum's ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival at Yellow Creek Park on June 29 -- the day Salovey becomes president of Yale.
Other new officers elected last weekend are Mike Simpson, president and owner of Chandler Property Management in Bowling Green, vice-chairman; Terry Gold, co-founder and CEO of Gold Systems, a communications software company based in Boulder, Colo., secretary; and Ralph Wible, an Owensboro attorney, treasurer.
Other members of the executive committee are Stephanie Taylor, a Nashville entertainment lawyer and fiddle player; Gill Holland, a Louisville filmmaker; and Dagfinn Pedersen, a Norweigan bluegrass festival promoter and broadcaster.
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org
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