At Thrasher-Horne Center, our mission is to:
At Thrasher-Horne Center, we aspire to become the premiere gathering place; the intersection of arts and commerce; the hub of community, education, and culture in Northeast Florida.
We are a 1,750 seat performing arts venue and 6,200 square foot conference center located at St. Johns River State College in Orange Park. Our $22 million, 84,666 sq ft Thrasher-Horne Center opened in the Fall of 2004 as the realization of a dream by former St. Johns River State College President Robert L. McLendon, Jr. Our building is named for former Senator John Thrasher and former State Representative Jim Horne, who were instrumental in procuring funding for the Center. Together these men worked with the Clay County Chamber and Tourist Development Council to secure our permanent home on the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College. Dr. McLendon appointed Tony Walsh as the Center’s first Executive Director and tasked him with bringing the space to life. Mr. Walsh remained Executive Director from 2004 until his retirement in 2013, when he was succeeded by current Executive Director, Denton Yockey. The Center has played host to hundreds of events since its inception, including nationally touring musicians and performers, Broadway musicals, and a variety of other cultural offerings. In addition to the Main Stage Theatre, the Thrasher-Horne Center boasts a 220 flexible-seat Studio Theatre, two Visual Arts Galleries, a full Dance Studio, Scene Shop, and modern dressing rooms with full artist amenities. The Gathering Place, our full service conference center, offers 6,200 square feet of rental space divided into six flexible multipurpose rooms with an ample main lobby, a full catering warming kitchen, and direct access to our Studio Theatre for additional accommodations.
For more than 50 years, our parent organization - St. Johns River State College - along with the Florida School of the Arts, have been providing educational, technical and cultural opportunities to the residents of Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties. Clay is one of Florida’s fastest growing counties, and the addition of the Thrasher-Horne Center provided the area with its first major flagship cultural arts facility. Thrasher-Horne Center’s large, modern theatrical and event spaces match in quality those found in performing art centers throughout Florida. We offer both superior entertainment and educational value as well as a direct economic benefit to Clay County.
Our Main Stage lobby houses two separate gallery spaces: The Lee Adams Florida Artists Gallery and the Jack Mitchell Gallery. Our galleries together make up the Mary Ward Huntley Wing, commemorated with a plaque that hangs between the two spaces.
During our inaugural season, area philanthropist Mary Ward Huntley helped create the two visual arts galleries adjacent to our Main Stage lobby. In addition to donating a large number of Lee Adams original works to our permanent collection, she chose to name one space the Lee Adams Florida Artists Gallery in honor of the local painter. This gallery showcases local Florida artists in a variety of artistic mediums.
The Jack Mitchell Gallery is located at the front of the Huntley Wing. Named after famed late New York photographer Jack Mitchell, it is dedicated to showcasing professional photography and has welcomed the best in both local and national artists. A large number of his notable celebrity portraits and photographs now reside in our permanent collection, thanks to a generous contribution by Mr. Mitchell.
Additionally, the Mary Ward Huntley Florida Artists Fund was established by Mrs. Huntley after the passing of her late husband Louis. This fund helps provide additional financial support for our annual visual arts exhibits, and can be supported publicly through our Donations page
Denton Yockey is the Executive Director of the Thrasher-Horne Center at St. Johns River State College in Orange Park. Denton came to Florida from Kansas City where he was the President of Starlight Theatre, an 8000 seat outdoor theatre, for five years. Prior to that he was the President of Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth, Texas for eleven years. Denton started his career in Galveston, Texas where he ran the Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals and Lone Star Performing Arts.
A native Hoosier from Plymouth, Indiana, a small town with a population of only 8,000, Denton and Gina, his wife of 25 years, are now delighted to call Florida home. They have two children, Grayson and Gwyneth.