WKCTC's Clements Center unveils 2019-20 performance schedule

Todd Birdsong, director of the Clemens Fine Arts Center at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, talks about season tickets before introducing the 2019-20 performance lineup. More information is available at artsinfocus.org.

ELLEN O'NAN | The Sun

Fourteen artists -- some of which have had national exposure -- make up the 2019-20 performance lineup for the Clemens Fine Arts Center on the West Kentucky Community and Technical College campus.

The lineup was revealed Thursday at a preview party held on the stage of the fine arts center.

Clemens Fine Arts Center Director Todd Birdsong said putting the lineup together this year was smoother than last year because the budget wasn't known until late in the year.

"Last year, a lot of the budgets for state agencies were frozen," he said. "I didn't know what my budget for the (2018-19) season was going to be until mid-May. So, I had from mid-May until August of last year to kind of get the whole season going.

"This year's preview party is June 27. Last year's preview party was Aug. 23, so I'm two months ahead."

Most of the performing acts are divided among three series: the Arts in Focus Series, the Backstage Pass Series and the Exposure Series.

In the Arts in Focus Series, the goal is to promote artistic expression, cultural understanding and community awareness, while the Backstage Pass Series celebrates the local and regional community of singers and songwriters. In the Exposure Series, the artist and the audience explore ideas about the world.

"The Backstage Pass Series is something that I'm really proud of," Birdsong said. "That was something that my predecessor, Gail Robinson, and I put together. This will be the 17th year for that series. I'm looking and kind of growing and expanding that, but it's got a nice, solid following.

"All of the shows are family-friendly -- it usually is out here, and we want to be inclusive. Whether you're young or old, I want you to be here and enjoy what we're doing. ... It's a fine line to walk between providing something that has broad appeal but is also new and interesting. It's a balance, and you've got to find it."

The 2019-20 schedule and each act's series are:

• Aug. 23, Steep Canyon Rangers (Arts in Focus)

• Sept. 14, Daniel Neihoff (Backstage Pass)

• Sept. 30, Catapult (Arts in Focus)

• Oct. 11, Richard Shindell, Featured Artist of the Season

• Oct. 19, Blurring Art and Life: An Evening of Fluxus (Exposure)

• Nov. 9, The Expanded Cinema of Kristen Reeves (Exposure)

• Nov. 23, Nathan Lynn (Backstage Pass)

• Jan. 18, Air National Guard Band of the South

• Feb. 8, Ranky Tanky (Arts in Focus)

• Feb. 22, Dale & Co. (Backstage Pass)

• Feb. 29, Socialism, Capitalism and Modern Democracy Panel Discussion (Exposure)

• March 14, Fate McAfee (Backstage Pass)

• March 27, The Passing Zone (Arts in Focus)

• April 17, Aoife O'Donavan (Arts in Focus)

Each performance begins at 7:30 p.m., except for the Feb. 29 panel discussion, which begins at 6 p.m.

Steep Canyon Rangers was seen on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," while Catapult and The Passing Zone have each been seen on "America's Got Talent" and Ranky Tanky has performed on NBC's "Today" show.

For more information about the Clemens Fine Arts Center or to buy tickets online, visit artsinfocus.org. Tickets also can be purchased by calling 270-534-3212.

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