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KET Documentary Details Lexington Center Backstory

Clay Lancaster Slide Collection
UK LIbraries

An hour-long documentary tracing the origin story of Lexington’s now 40-year-old Rupp Arena and Convention Center will appear on KET this month.

To create Gamechanger: The Lexington Center Story, award-winning documentarian Arthur Rouse sifted through roughly 20 hours of oral history recordings featuring some now-familiar Lexington names talking about a project that marked a key accomplishment early in their careers.

While today’s discussions by city leaders are focused on renovating and revitalizing the downtown entertainment and conference hub, Rouse says it’s worth reflecting on the tensions and hurdles the original designers encountered as they went about resurrecting an economically depressed downtown.

"They combined all their different passions, wishes, thoughts, and skills and got together as a group of people to effect change that really to this day has been phenomenal," he explains. "When you think of Lexington at the end of the 50s compared to what you find now, I think it's all a direct reflection of those individuals that stepped up."

One of those movers and shakers was Lexington Center Board member Linda Carey. In the film, she recalls a process that kept supporters focused on the endgame.

"We did make an effort to educate everybody as we went along, but yet we never did let the criticism that came up divert us from what the vision of what it really could be," she says.

And though the documentary may not speak directly to the city’s shelved plans to remake the complex, Rouse says the film does provide an instructive behind-the-scenes glimpse into the nuts and bolts of launching major projects.

Gamechanger is set to air starting Dec. 13 on KET. See all air dates below.

Dec. 13, 12 am – KET KY

Dec. 13, 12 pm – KET KY

Dec. 15,  8 pm – KET KY

Dec. 17, 6 am – KET KY

Dec. 17, 10 pm – KET2

Dec. 20, 3 pm – KET

Dec. 21, 4 am – KET

Dec. 28, 4 pm – KET KY

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.