The Red Skelton Performing Arts Center was officially dedicated on Friday, February 24, 2006. When Vincennes University opened the doors to the Center, it opened a world of opportunity to students, visitors and fans from around the globe.
The building includes an 850-seat theater dedicated to the extraordinary life and years of exemplary professional work by a great Hoosier and American. Red Skelton touched the lives of every generation during his more than 70 years in the entertainment business. Although Red died in 1997, he continues to influence people of all ages through his achievements as a clown, comedian, actor, writer, painter, patriot and humanitarian.
In addition to the theater, the Performing Arts Center includes classrooms, rehearsal rooms and dressing rooms. The grand foyer serves as a gallery for Red Skelton paintings, statues, and movie posters. A variety of uses are envisioned for the Performing Arts Center. The theater will host Vincennes University theatrical and musical productions along with special events, convocations and conventions.
Vincennes University, through the financial support of the Indiana Legislature and private donations, is working to preserve and honor the memory and legacy of Red Skelton.
The site of the Performing Arts Center is within a block of Red Skelton's birthplace in Vincennes. Less than a month after his death on September 7, 1997, the Vincennes University Board of Trustees, on October 6, voted to seek funding to construct the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center.
VU and the State of Indiana believe the legacy of Red Skelton should be preserved and shared with future generations, not only because his life is a shining example of what is good about America, but also because of the opportunity this country offers to all. Red did not let abject poverty keep him from his dream to entertain and serve others, nor did he ever use it as an excuse.
Red took his God-given talent and combined it with hard work and a genuine love of others to accomplish great entertainment and humanitarian achievements that continue to benefit people of all ages today.
One of America's greatest clowns, Red was an internationally beloved entertainer and a great humanitarian with uncompromising family values. Further, he was a devoted patriot who deeply loved his country.