The Markay Cultural Arts Center resides on 269 Main St. in Jackson County.

Photos by: Kayla Bennett

Over the years, the Markay has been a place that is a different attraction for different ages of the people in Jackson County. For some, it was a movie theater where they had their first kiss, and for others, it was where they saw the showing of their first Disney movie.   

“A lot of the people that are connected to the Markay are the ones that donated to bring it back to life. It’s been in Jackson for years,” says Julz Stewart, part time director of operations. “It’s this super nostalgic place.”  

Ryn Spriggs, the Markay’s box office attendant awaiting to greet show attendees.

The Markay Cultural Arts Center was founded in 1930. Since 2015, it has become a home for artists in Southeast Ohio.   

All of its programming runs through the Southern Hills Arts Council, and the Markay receives grants from the United Fund. The business also has memberships available for purchases and receives donations from members often.  

Bringing new sounds to Southeast Ohio is essential for the center, like when Taikoza performed at the venue. Taiko is the Japanese word for drum and refers to the modern style of playing drums: a high-energy performance art that combines music, dance, martial arts, athletics and culture.   

Director of Taikoza, Marco Lienhard, said their performances can be life-changing for the audience.  

“It’s just emotions are welling inside them and they just don’t have control over themselves,” Leinhard says.   

Ryn Spriggs, the Markay’s box office attendant awaiting to greet show attendees.

Ryn Spriggs, the Markay’s box office attendant, says she never sees anyone leave without a smile on their face and that people are always excited to come back because there’s always going to be something different.   

“When we have things like this [the Taikoza performance] where people [have] never seen anything like it before, they go in and it’s anticipation, but everybody’s just kind of like ‘Well, let’s see what this is,’” Spriggs says.   

The Markay hosts movies, plays and performances throughout the year. The venue also features an art gallery that displays work by various local artists such as the Apple County Quilters.   

The control room at The Markay hosts all sounds and lighting needs.

Recently, the Markay received the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Community Pride Award. The Markay found its forever home at 269 Main Street, where it will continue to bring exciting performances and experiences for everyone in Southeast Ohio.  

“There’s nothing around here that you can do [something like this], and we rent this space too,” Spriggs says. “You can rent the gallery or the theater for private stuff and anybody can get in the gallery. Anybody can have their art out there.”   

For upcoming events, tickets can be purchased on its website