The Paramount Arts Center is a historic theater located in Ashland, Kentucky, in the United States. As a Kentucky landmark on the Historic Register, it is an important part of theater in Kentucky.
Originally built to show motion pictures
in the silent film
era (although the theater was never used to show silent films and the planned theater organ was never installed), the Paramount Arts Center was formerly known as the Paramount Theater. Designed by the architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp
, which specialized in designing theaters, it first opened in 1931, and closed forty years later in 1971. The next year the Foundation for the Tri-State Community (or Greater Ashland Foundation, as it was known at the time), under the leadership of Ashland Oil CEO Paul Blazer, Jr.
, purchased the theater and established it as a performing arts center. It opened that same year under the new name "Paramount Arts Center". The theater has undergone several renovations since 1972, most recently in 2002 when a new stagehouse was added and new dressing rooms, rehearsal space and banquet facility were added in a nearby building that was purchased in 1998. In addition, this renovated space was connected to the main building.
The theater now operates as a non-profit organization, showing symphonies, plays, ballets and other productions. In addition, in 1992 the music video for the song "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus was filmed here.
2006 Water Damage
The Paramount Arts Center suffered major water damage in November 2006. It occurred when a beauty pageant contestant hung a dress from a water sprinkler while using a steamer to remove wrinkles. Heat from the steam set off the sprinkler system. Water poured from the second floor causing close to $30,000 US dollars in damage to the building. 1