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Carnegie Announces Preservation Capital Campaign

The Carnegie in Covington announced this week what it is calling its Preserving Northern Kentucky's Cultural and Architectural Gem capital campaign.

The arts and cultural center, is the region's largest, offering theatre, education programs, and art exhibitions.

The building was constructed in 1904 as a library, one of many resulting from the philanthropy of late nineteenth/early twentieth century industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

Covington's is host to one of five remaining Carnegie auditoriums in the U.S. and has been an entertainment and arts venue since 1977.

The capital campaign was originally launched in the fall of 2019, led by co-chairs Otto M. Budig, Jr. and Sara Vance Waddell. It brought in $2 million of the organization's $3.5 million goal.

“The Carnegie’s role in the community and the region at large cannot be understated,” said Budig, who is also the Carnegie’s past board president. “A pillar for the arts, the Carnegie inspires creativity for which many organizations strive. A successful capital campaign guarantees this building will continue to spearhead diverse, culturally rich programming and arts education for citizens of all ages and backgrounds.” 

The Carnegie said that it serves 80,000 people every year.

“I’m proud of the way this organization has continued to innovate and lead the way in connecting with arts patrons, students and community members,” said Waddell. “The Carnegie’s commitment to its surrounding community, and the region as a whole, makes the arts accessible and introduces new ideas, concepts and experiences to educators, students, families and more.”

“As things return to normal, we’re excited to welcome patrons back to enjoy the arts.” said Kim Best, executive director at the Carnegie. “This campaign ensures that The Carnegie will continue to shine and serve many generations to come.”

The newly launched Preserving Northern Kentucky’s Cultural and Architectural Gem Campaign is served by honorary chairs Bill and Sue Butler, in addition to Budig and Waddell as chairs.

A campaign website is live at

-Staff report