Cook said the Clay Center staff strives for variety, but it's not always easy.
"There's this image we have to get around," she said. "We're a performing arts center, and some of the artists think that limits what we can present."
For example, Cook said, getting management on the phone for bands like The Moody Blues or Steely Dan isn't nearly as much trouble as making contact with indie artists like Amos Lee or Citizen Cope, performers with critical acclaim outside of the usual mainstream music channels.
The problem, she said, might not be the size of the performance hall, but the seats. "They might be [used to] playing a lot of places where everyone is on their feet," she said.
But the Clay Center has made some headway.
"I think the Trucks and Tedeschi show is a breakthrough for us," Cook said. "That's been on our list for a very long time. He's a fantastic guitarist, and she has an amazing voice. The whole band is just spectacular.
"That show is really going to kick butt, so to speak."
Trucks and Tedeschi are also regulars on the summer festival circuit, which Cook said the Clay Center has made some inroads with as far as bookings.
"I think we're going to get some of the routing through summer festivals like we did for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals last year."
Potter was booked at the Clay Center as part of the "Bonnaroo Buzz" tour, which was a series of dates leading up to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee. Cook believed that something along those lines could happen again.
In the meantime, Cook will head to the Arts Presenters conference in New York later this week to meet with industry professionals and check out a variety of performance showcases for theater, dance and jazz.
"We're thinking about booking another dance troupe," she said. "But I really need to see that in person, I think."
Past the spring, Cook said the Clay Center hopes to add several shows, but she's thinking farther than just June, July and August. It's the beginning of the year, but Cook said the Clay Center is well into putting together its fall schedule.
"I've already got three acts signed," Cook said.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.