The Ashland Beacon
The Paramount Arts Center (PAC) has been considered the “crown jewel” of Ashland, Kentucky since its doors first opened September 5, 1931. Originally the PAC was created to showcase silent films that were made exclusively by Paramount Studios. It was during the process of planning for the PAC that films with sound came into the picture. These films were called “talkies.” The Paramount’s first film ever shown was a film entitled “Silent;” despite the film’s name, it was actually a talking film. With the introduction of talkies, the PAC became one of the first transitional theatres that was built for talking pictures produced by Paramount Studios.
Filled with rich history and memories, and beautiful original architecture, the PAC has truly helped to put Ashland on the map. According to the PAC’s official website, “The Paramount Theatre has been preserved and restored with many of its original fixtures and furnishings, so that as you walk through the brass entrance doors today, it would be as much the same as if you were there on that September night in 1931.” Perhaps one of the most iconic original fixtures is the gorgeous marquee that lights up the skies of Ashland every time the PAC is having any type of show. PAC described the marquee as being a reminder of the rich history of the city and the promise of a bright future. With the marquee being the most prominent thing, you see when you drive down Winchester Avenue, it truly is our town jewel.
The marquee is just as old as the building itself. Being over 90 years old, the marquee has certainly seen its fair share of weather damage over the years, especially with the recent ice storm that rocked our area in 2021. Thanks to the generosity of various campaigns and fundraisers coordinated by the Friends of the Paramount, the PAC can now begin work on restoring its beautiful marquee. The PAC has partnered with Paris Signs for this restoration project and restoration began November 8 and will continue through Nov. 18. During this time Winchester Avenue Northbound between 13th St and 14th St. (both lanes directly in front of the Paramount) will be closed on weekdays from approximately 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please keep this in mind when traveling out that way.
The PAC operates as a not-for-profit organization that continues to provide the highest quality of outstanding performing arts and cultural experiences that you could ever come across. It is the heart of our town and with every beat we continue to grow and flourish as a community. The PAC puts on an average of 120 performances a year. It is said that approximately 250,000 individuals attend these performances from all-around. This is huge to our local economy and not only brings more people into our area, but makes other businesses want to come and check out what this creative town is all about.