Vincennes- The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for its highly anticipated expansion on Monday, Oct. 16.
The Lothian and Red Skelton Gallery of Fine Art is a result of the longtime dream of Lothian Skelton, wife of the late world-famous comedian and Vincennes native Red Skelton.
The Skelton Estate has pledged a generous gift of $4 million for a 7,200-square-foot art gallery to showcase Red Skelton’s artwork. The space will connect to the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy adjacent to the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center (RSPAC) on the Vincennes Campus of Vincennes University. The expansion will feature dynamic art gallery space, art archival space, public restrooms, a small catering kitchen, and state-of-the-art technology throughout the gallery.
Lothian Skelton, museum and VU leaders, and representatives of the Red Skelton Foundation and Vincennes University Foundation provided a glimpse of the vision for the expanded museum, highlighting its commitment to preserving and promoting the rich humor and art that Red Skelton brought to generations.
The atmosphere was full of excitement as Lothian Skelton, city leaders, devoted fans, and the community gathered at the future site of the art gallery to honor the philanthropy of Lothian Skelton and the legacy of Red Skelton.
The ceremony featured remarks from Lothian Skelton, Executive Director of the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy Anne Pratt, and VU Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs and Board Member Tony Hahn. A reception in celebration of Lothian Skelton’s birthday took place in the lobby of the RSPAC following the groundbreaking ceremony.
“For Red, the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center was a dream come true, but for me, the Lothian and Red Skelton Gallery of Fine Art makes my dream come true,” Lothian Skelton said.
The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy opened in 2013 and sees thousands of visitors yearly from across the country and around the globe. The art gallery groundbreaking marks a pivotal moment in the museum’s journey, promising an even more comprehensive and engaging experience for visitors, eager to immerse themselves in the art and laughter that Red Skelton masterfully created.
Red Skelton began painting in the 1940s to relax. He continued painting throughout his lifetime. An original Red Skelton painting would sell for upwards of $50,000 in the 1980s.
“We are so excited to be able to expand the Museum and create a dedicated space for Red’s artwork,” Pratt said. “It was such an important but largely unknown aspect of his life, and we are so grateful to the Skelton Estate for making this dream a reality.”
(Photo Courtesy of Vincennes University)