The first of four newly formed committees at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center met Tuesday afternoon with an aim to make the renovated facility more active and open to the community.
"A year's experience has taught us where our strengths and weaknesses are," said Chester Grundy, a charter member of the Lyric board and chair of its marketing and outreach committee. "This committee is designed to address some needs we have in promoting the Lyric as a community and neighborhood institution."
In addition to the marketing group, the Lyric has formed a budget and audit committee, a program outlay committee and a personnel committee.
"They're all going to be as small as possible to be more effective in their work," Lyric Theatre director Yetta Young said after the meeting of the six-person marketing and outreach committee.
At that meeting, the committee discussed ways to reach out both to Lexington businesses and philanthropists and the East End neighborhood surrounding the historic theater, which reopened in October 2010 after being shuttered for more than 40 years.
Earlier this year, several East End residents complained publicly that the theater was not fulfilling expectations that it would be a resource and destination to the surrounding community.
On Tuesday, committee members discussed initiatives including morning before-work coffees for invited businesses and institutions and regular sessions on "how to do business with the Lyric" for anyone interested in using the center, which includes a 540-seat theater, a multipurpose room and an art gallery.
The committee also talked about how to promote programming through advertising and local media.
Among upcoming activities are a summer movie series, likely starting June 23, and summer camps in sewing, drumming and acting.
Grundy, who was recently laid off from his longtime job as director of the University of Kentucky's Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center as part of UK's budget cuts, said, "We have some work to do in making the Lyric valued and supported by the people who are supposed to value and support it."