Publisher: Lawrence Business Magazine, LLC Editor-in-Chief: Ann Frame Hertzog Chief Photographer: Steven Hertzog
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Featured Writers: Julie Dunlop Emily Mulligan Bob Luder Patricia A. Michaelis, Ph.D. Tara Trenary Liz Weslander On the Cover (l to r) Kevin Willmott, Wayne Probst, Vanessa Thomas, Stan Herd, Roger Shimamura Photo by Steven Hertzog Thanks to: White Schoolhouse, Lawrence event space, www.whiteschoolhouse.com
Copy Editor: Tara Trenary Contributing Writers: Porter Arneill Micki Chestnut Lauren Cunningham Megan Gilliland Susan Tate Baron Wolman
Contributing Photographers: Patrick Connor, others noted on pages
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Conte nts Features: 06
A Look at Lawrence
The Lawrence Business Magazine features businesses and community leaders in Lawrence and Douglas County making a positive impact on our community. primary demographic is community leaders, The prima business owners, government officials, office personnel/management, and individuals with a vested interest in the future of our community. The Lawrence Business Magazine is a quarterly qua publication distributed in March, June, September and December. There are over 7000 copies direct mailed to Lawrence and Douglas County businesses and distributed throughout Douglas County.
The Art Patron
Businesses Adorn Walls with Local Art
Local Arts Scene
Lawrence Arts, Quality of Life Entertwined
Thereâ€™s No Place Like Home
Local Artists Make it Big, Live in Lawrence
Attracting Artists to Lawrence
Essential to Success
57 62 65 71
Experiencing Art Improves Lives Students Improve in Learning and Test Scores
Arts and Cultures a Civic Catalyst Itâ€™s Finally Friday Local Music, Art, and Culture
Public Art Local Art Sparks Tourism
Lawrence in Perspective:
A Riff into History
Business on the Hill
City of Lawrence
Lawrence Memorial Hospital
77 Newsmakers 77
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Baron signing autographs for adoring fans in his newly released book BARON WOLMAN: THE ROLLING STONE YEARS. EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY
You don’t take a photograph, you make it. - Ansel Adams
Baron Wolman during a live radio broadcast promoting his LAC photo exhibit
by Anne Brockhoff, photos by Steven Hertzog & Patrick Connor
August 2011 ABOVE: The First cover of the Lawrence Business Magazine August 2011 - Susan Tate and Ben Ahlvers holding the advertising poster for Baron Wolman’s one man photography exhibit at the Lawrence Arts Center RIGHT: Baron speaks on his life and times to a SRO crowd at the LAC with his famous Jimi Hendrix photograph projected on the screen
Life Through the Lens of a Baron Wolman
marche s to the beat of his own drum Nobody chooses to be an artist. An artist is created in the womb. Whether he or she chooses to answer the siren call of art is another matter entirely. Me, I knew I was different before I realized I was different. For many of my younger years, the world appeared chaotic and “noisy.” It was only when I bought my first camera and looked through the lens that I was able to create order out of chaos and still the noise of society. I became addicted to photography in the best sense of the word. I became a photographic “artist.” Not that I call myself an artist. No, when people ask me about my day job, I simply say I’m a photojournalist. To my mind, that means going out in the world, making sense of it (in a most personal way, of course) and sharing the message with whomever bothers to look at my photos. I am sharing my art. Even though my most immediately recognizable images are those from my rock and roll years, the fact is, my lens has been pointed in many directions, from professional football to motorsports to fashion to aerial landscapes to informal portraiture and more. But it is the hundreds of images in my collection of music photos that seem to mean the most to so many people, the ones that linger in their minds and on their walls. I was fortunate to be the first chief photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, to photograph so many young musicians who would soon be (or already were) superstars: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Steve Miller, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, Woodstock, etc. It’s a long, long list. And I was honored when the Lawrence Arts Center invited me to exhibit my music photos. The exhibition was lovingly curated by its exhibition director, Ben Ahlvers, and my longtime friends, Steve Hertzog and Ann Frame Hertzog, of Lawrence Business Magazine. My work was even on the cover of the premier issue of LBM—how cool is that! The exhibit was an unqualified success; the turnout still unequaled to this day. I spent many delightful hours signing copies of my book, “The Rolling Stone Years,” and chatting with local folks whose memories were filled with the music and the concerts of the late 60s, early 70s. “Didn’t I see you at Woodstock … ?” The true payoff for living the life of an artist is not the adulation or the sales or exhibits. Rather, it’s the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from doing it “your way,” of following your bliss, of marching to the beat of your own distinct and glorious drum. Me, I couldn’t have it any other way. —Baron Wolman, Santa Fe, New Mexico
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LAWRENCE & DOUGLAS CO [IN PERSPECTIVE]
A Riff into History The Guitar Music of Henry Worrall
by Patricia A. Michaelis, Ph.D., Historical Research & Archival Consulting Drouthy, Kansas Painting by Henry Worrall - from the Kansas State Historical Society, kansasmemory.org
What do a relatively forgotten Kansan and composer of guitar music, a Lawrence musician and “the blues” have in common? A man named Henry Worrall, who moved to Kansas from Ohio in 1868. He had published a guitar tutorial in 1856 and had also composed his best-known solo piece, “Sebastopol,” which commemorated the siege of Sebastopol (now Sevastopol) Russia by the British and French in 1855. In 2012, Brian Baggett, a jazz guitarist who lives in Lawrence, revived Worrall’s most famous piece and other compositions for a concert at the Kansas Historical Society, in Topeka. Baggett took on the challenge of playing the guitar music composed by Worrall in the mid-nineteenth century from the original manuscript of the music. He says Worrall’s published versions were generally simplified from the original compositions. In the second half of the 1800s, guitar-playing was a popular pastime, and parlor music for guitars and other instruments was played for families and parties in the “parlor” of the home. Thus, both men and women learned the simpler versions of music on guitars that were smaller than today’s instruments. They were easy for a woman to hold in her lap while seated to play the music. Baggett says the biggest challenge to playing the music is decod-
ing the tuning. For guitar aficionados, the tuning was “open tuning,” but not the standard open tuning used today. Worrall also used a constant bass line that he played with his thumb, one of the aspects of Worrall’s music that is present in blues music. The open tuning is another long-term influence on more modern blues. Michael Church, digital projects archivist at the Kansas Historical Society, says solo fingerstyle guitarists Mississippi John Hurt and Sam McGee, popular folk musicians, played versions of Worrall’s guitar compositions in their live and recorded performances. Baggett and many guitar historians believe Worrall was an innovator. He liked to play fast, in contrast to the vocal music of the era. Some of his music was whimsical, and he liked to inject humor into his compositions. Worrall was also known for his arrangement of a popular song “Spanish Fandango.” A British fingerstyle guitarist and student of American popular guitar, John Renbourn wrote to Jas Obrecht, the former editor of Guitar Player Magazine: “I have many other parlour pieces in open tuning from around the same time. I am in the process of comparing these with early recorded ‘folk’ versions to see how much of the originals have been retained. It looks as if a great deal has been retained, so much and fingerpicking guitar style. ‘Sebastopol’ and ‘Spanish Fandango’ were both outstandingly popular solo pieces, and their availability in print continued beyond the turn of the century.”
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These two pieces were included in guitar tutorial books, and they were studied and played by many beginning guitarists at the beginning of the 20th century. Renbourn explains the Worrall connection to the blues style as follows: “If you can imagine a field hand … trying to fit an arhoolie [field song] across the basic chords of ‘Spanish Fandango,’ then you would be close to the moment of transformation, in my opinion. In early recorded blues— i.e. Charley Patton and his school— the harmonic language (right down to the specific chord shapes but with bluesy modification usually of one finger only) is straight from parlour music.” Baggett explains that it was exciting and fun, but also challenging, to tackle this music that has had such a lasting influence on other music styles. His audio and video recordings of Worrall’s music are available on the Kansas Memory website at www. kansasmemory.org. (“Sebastopol” is Kansas Memory Item No. 228586.) In Kansas history, however, Worrall is better remembered as an illustrator of life in the early years of Kansas statehood than a musician. After coming to Kansas, Worrall became known as an artist and illustrator. His work helped promote the image of the state as an area suited for agriculture. His work was aimed at dispelling the prevailing depiction as the “Great American Desert.” A self-taught artist, Worrall's depictions of life in Kansas were described as "journalism in pictures," because his illustrations became occasional features in eastern journals, including Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Henry Worrall’s illustration "Exodusters in Topeka: Engravings of the Barracks," in the July 5, 1879, issue of Harper’s Weekly, documents this well-known settlement of African Americans from the south in Kansas. Worrall’s best-known work was a painting titled "Drouthy Kansas." Referred to as a caricature, it was drawn in 1869 when the reputation of Kansas still suffered from the drought of 1860. However, the weather in the late 1860s in Kansas produced several years of heavy rainfall and good crops. IThe paining included men climbing ladders and using hatchets to cut ears of corn from huge stalks, watermelons so big that two men could stand on them, and wheat fields yielding 50 bushels per acre, among other images. The caricature proved immensely popular; it was published on the cover page of an issue of the Kansas Farmer and was used as a broadside in advertising the same publication. It was even reproduced on the drop curtain of Liberty Hall, in Lawrence. Worrall contributed to other works that described life in the young state of Kansas, as well. His illustrations appeared in two wellknown Western history books: Joseph McCoy's Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade and W.E. Webb's Buffalo Land. Obviously, Henry Worrall was a man of many talents: composer, musician and illustrator. However, he died in 1902 and never knew, or even imagined, the impact his guitar compositions would have on the development of the blues in the 20th century. Baggett enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to play Worrall’s manuscript music, including decoding the “tuning.” He teaches guitar and plays regularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri, as part of the jazz trio OJT (Organ Jazz Trio).p
BUSINESS on the [HILL] by Lauren Cunningham, Communications Coordinator , KU Business School
Business School Art Accentuates Innovative Design Business schools typically aren’t known for their art collections. That’s what makes the new home of the University of Kansas School of Business unique. Thanks to a gift to support art in the new building, more than 70 works, accentuating the building’s innovative and collaborative design, adorn the hallways and public spaces throughout Capitol Federal Hall. “We feel honored and grateful to be able to feature so many pieces of art in our new home,” Interim Dean James Guthrie says. “The artwork contributes to the sense of energy in Capitol Federal Hall, and it provides points of inspiration throughout the building.”
©2016 The LeWitt Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The business school formed an art committee in the year leading up to the May 2016 opening of the building to guide the process of selecting art. Committee members include Emprise Bank chairman, alumnus and dean’s advisory board member Mike Michaelis, committee chair; former dean of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning John Gaunt, cochair; Lawrence artist Diane Guthrie, co-chair; Spencer Museum of Art Director Saralyn Reece Hardy; founding member of Extol Capital Strategies LLC, alumnus and dean’s advisory board member Jim Majerle; and Guthrie, exofficio. The business school’s former chief of staff Kelly Watson Muther also served as an ex-officio member for the 2015-16 academic year. The committee’s mission has been to showcase works with a Kansas tie. Though the pieces vary by medium and style, an artist from Kansas or who has a connection to the state or KU has created each piece of art. Many works were created by KU alumni, faculty or faculty emeriti.
©2016 The LeWitt Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Image courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi, who formerly served as dean of the business school, viewed the inclusion of art in the new building as a reminder to students that there is room for great creativity in business. Guided by that view, the collection in Capitol
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Federal Hall serves three main purposes: to enhance the culture of the KU School of Business by providing an environment for thought-provoking art alongside great architecture; to portray the school’s values through careful curation of materials that embrace the school’s mission; and to celebrate the heartland while embracing the global aspirations of the school. In addition to the building’s architectural features, Guthrie says the artwork is another draw for students of all disciplines to visit the building.
Work by LeWitt on View One of the most prominent pieces in the building is the Spencer Museum of Art’s “Wall Drawing 519,” by Sol LeWitt, which faces Capitol Federal Hall’s central atrium and can be seen from Naismith Drive. The installation previously was on view at the Spencer Museum before the building closed for renovation in spring 2015. LeWitt, who was a leading figure in minimalist and conceptual art, created a set of instructions or diagrams for his wall drawings that assistants could follow to install directly onto a wall, giving his work an unlimited lifespan.
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It took a team led by a representative of the LeWitt Estate more than two weeks to install “Wall Drawing 519.” “The presence of the LeWitt wall drawing at the innovative new School of Business exemplifies our dedication to extending the museum’s collections and programs beyond our walls,” Hardy says. “The conceptual nature of LeWitt’s
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere. -Carl Sagan
wall drawing, which shifts and transforms according to its location, makes it an ideal work to share with our KU partners.”
Artists’ Work in the Building Some of the many artists whose work is on display in Capitol Federal Hall include: • Roger Shimomura, KU distinguished professor of art emeritus • Janet Davidson-Hues, who received a Master of Fine Arts degree from KU • Terry Evans, a Kansas City native who graduated from KU in 1968 and received an honorary Doctor of Arts from KU in 2016 • John Bukaty, a former KU football player who graduated in 1997 More than 30 artists’ works are featured in the building, and the committee will continue to select more pieces.
Capitol Federal Hall The public can view the collection of artwork in Capitol Federal Hall, located at 1654 Naismith Dr., during the building’s hours, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. The four-story, 166,500-square-foot building houses 20 classrooms, 205 offices, a 350-seat auditorium and labs and spaces designed for flexible, student-centered learning and collaboration. It is the largest facility at KU to be financed through private support. More information can be found at capfedhall.ku.edu. p
Lawrence is nationally recognized for its collaborative spirit that boldly propels the community to reach its potential through a focus on creativity for the greater good. Vision statement from “Building on Lawrence’s Creative Capital: A City-Wide Cultural Plan”
City works to determine the impact of the arts and cultural programs for the Lawrence community. By Megan Gilliland, City of Lawrence Communications Manager
To compete in today’s ever-changing world and to serve the citizenry beneficially and sustainably, municipalities are required to think and act more holistically. In addition to providing traditional core services and attending to the physical infrastructure of the community, civic leaders today must also recognize and bolster the everevolving identity and vision of their communities. While art and culture are not singular in this aim, they are a mainstay in the vision of an increasing number of cities and counties in the United States as they provide innovative community engagement opportunities and unique appeal for locals, visitors and businesses. As economic trends continue shifting worldwide, many U.S. cities are initiating innovative strategies to attract businesses, citizens and tourists to assure long-term economic and community sustainability. Cities like Fort Collins, Colorado, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Frisco, Texas, are capitalizing on their creative economies by bolstering programs, increasing strategic investments and assuring that the arts and cultural goals are articulated measurably in their strategic planning. Arts and culture, and the enthusiastic community participation that accompanies them, contribute significantly to the identity and well-
being of Lawrence. As a Kansas municipality, Lawrence is in a pivotal time and is uniquely positioned to capitalize effectively on a burgeoning new era of creative commerce and a redefined sense of livability—blending and celebrating traditional and contemporary perspectives. With this in mind, the city and the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission completed the first citywide cultural plan in 2015 and engaged in Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, a comprehensive national research study conducted by Americans for the Arts. Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 is part of a now-20-year national research project showing that the nonprofit arts and culture industry is an economic driver in communities and is a growth industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue and is the cornerstone of tourism. The Arts and Economic Prosperity study is the most comprehensive study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted. So far, 182 study regions have been analyzed, and by June 2017, another 330 communities and regions across the U.S. will be researched and documented. According to Americans for the Arts, “Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences.” According to ArtsKC
xpand the reputation and the marketplaces for cultural and creative products and activities produced in Lawrence with an eye toward building a Lawrence brand based on its creative capital. ~Citywide Cultural Plan
Regional Arts Council, a five-county, bi-state nonprofit arts agency serving the Kansas City metro area, “Arts and culture organizations produce $279 million in economic impact for the Kansas City Metropolitan region, and 4.4 million arts attendees spent $85.6 million in services and businesses outside of admission costs or souvenirs and gifts (i.e. transportation, lodging, meals/refreshments).” Recent studies by organizations like the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Brookings Institution clearly indicate that corporations and individuals—particularly millennials—are most attracted to communities that offer basic comforts along with unique amenities like arts and culture. Lawrence is already ahead of the game when it comes to arts and culture. As any good coach would say, “Play to your strengths.” p
Creativity takes courage. -Henri Matisse
Bill Snead, award-winning news photographer, donated several of his photographs to the Oncology Center at LMH, where he receive treatment during his long battle with cancer. Courtesy Lawrence Journal-World.
Donors Share Art with LMH By Micki Chestnut,Lawrence Memorial Hospital
A few months after their youngest child graduated from the University of Kansas, Dr. Chuck Loveland and his wife, Mary, decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. At an art gallery, they discovered and purchased a statue of a boy with his nose in a book, a stack of books next to him. The couple couldn’t resist the statue because it depicted one of Dr. Loveland’s goals as a pediatrician: To champion the importance of books in a child’s life. Their attraction to the sculpture was further reinforced by Dr. Loveland’s comment that it reminded him of their son, a voracious reader. When Dr. Loveland died in October 2014 after practicing pediatric medicine at Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) from 1976 to 2013, Mary Loveland used a portion of a memorial fund set up in his honor at LMH to purchase an identical statue and add to it a second statue, of a little girl reading. She worked with the LMH Endowment Association team to place the statues on the rooftop garden. It’s fitting that the statues are visible from the entrance to the Family Birthing Center, where new babies come into the world ready to grow and discover, just as Dr. Loveland would have prescribed. “Chuck always encouraged reading as an important parent/child opportunity,” Mary Loveland says. “When you look at the statue, you know how important children were to this man’s life and how important he was to young people.” The hallways, treatment spaces and patient rooms at LMH are filled with artwork donated by patients and their family members, as well as LMH associates. The donated works are as diverse as the community members who receive care at the hospital, and
the art collections cover the spectrum from modern and classical paintings to photos, textiles and sculptures. For LMH patients and visitors, the artwork makes the hospital feel warmer, friendlier, more approachable, says Kathy Clausing-Willis, LMH vice president and chief development officer. For the artwork donors, each piece is an expression of gratitude for the care they or their loved ones received at LMH.
Art that Celebrates Life When visitors enter the hospital, they are greeted by “Triumphant Dawn,” a large, colorful mural painted by local artist Zak Barnes. The painting, dotted with ribbons that symbolize different kinds of cancer, is dedicated to cancer fighters and survivors, including his father, Dr. Rod Barnes, a retired physician and cancer survivor who received treatment at LMH. The entrance to the Oncology Department is accented with a collection of sculptures created by Lawrence artist George Paley. Inside the department, galleries include photos by award-winning news photographer Bill Snead, who worked for The Washington Post and National Geographic, and returned home to Lawrence to work for the Lawrence Journal-World. Snead, who received treatment at LMH, donated the work. He and Paley died earlier this year following long battles with cancer. The waiting area of the Family Birthing Center is the site of a sculpture depicting a mother holding her son, donated by Connie Pelham Oliver upon her retirement from working as a nurse at LMH for more than four decades. “Connie spent her career here and wanted the hospital to have this statue,” Clausing-Willis says.
Art that Honors Loved Ones Often, when people experience the loss of a loved one, they struggle with how to honor their family member’s memory, ClausingWillis says. Sometimes, the gift of art helps them find healing while honoring their loved one’s life. Clausing-Willis remembers a young couple whose child died at birth. “They didn’t want to lose sight of that life, so they took the memorial funds and talked with Jan Gaumnitz (a Lawrence artist), who created this wonderful portrait of families in South Park,” she recounts. The large, colorful painting, located in the third floor waiting room of the Family Birthing Center, depicts a typical summer day in Lawrence, with children playing in the fountain and people riding bicycles, strolling and even painting.
Art that Offers Respite and Renewal Walking down the busy corridor that leads from the hospital’s entrance to a surgery waiting room and other treatment areas can be intimidating for patients awaiting treatment or for friends and family who are supporting a patient. So the LMH team filled the long hallway and several others with a phalanx of 118 beautiful photographs taken by LMH associates and members of the medical staff, many during their travels. The photos allow patients and family who feel worried or anxious to stop and escape for a few minutes, then feel restored and encouraged, says Lauren Cobb, student coordinator for LMH’s Volunteer Services and a member of the LMH picture committee,
which oversees the competitive selection process to find images appropriate for a hospital setting. Mary Loveland agrees. “Environment is very important. It can be conducive to healing and to coming to peace with a situation,” she says. “Pieces of art included in that environment can make you think or remind you of something.” Now, every time Loveland visits the rooftop garden at LMH, she is reminded of a special trip with her husband and the delight of finding a piece of art that helped summarize his life and his commitment and dedication to the children and young people of our community. Through it, she says, “This amazing man lives on.”
How to Donate If you’re interested in donating artwork to LMH: • Contact Tiffany Hall, of LMH Endowment, at 505-3318; or email email@example.com. • Internal Revenue Service rules govern the deductibility of donations of artwork. Generally, if the claimed deduction is more than $5,000, donors must get a qualified appraisal and complete a special tax form, and other special requirements must be fulfilled before donations of artwork can be accepted. p
PROFESSIONAL [ SPOTLIGHT ]
SARALYN REESE HARDY SPENCER MUSEUM OF ART DIRECTOR What is your business’s most important commodity or service? Bringing art and people together! The Spencer Museum is dedicated to serving the Lawrence community and regional communities through educational experiences with works of art and artists. Utilizing our rich and diverse collections, the art museum contributes to the academic mission of the University of Kansas (KU) and serves as an intersection of creativity among scholars, students, artists and the public.
What is your business’s most important priority? Our most important priority is to serve as a catalyst for inquiry and discovery through art. To accomplish this, we must “tune” to our audiences on their own terms while bringing the very best scholarship and most thoughtful questions forward in our exhibitions, programs and projects. The urgency at this moment for art museums, especially those in
educational settings, is to create an inspiring and empathetic space for all people. Learning spaces need to be beautiful and also comfortable. We must also be deep portals for thought and broad platforms for participation and discourse. Deep and wide—it can’t be either/or. The Spencer Museum must make a difference in people’s lives now and in the future, so we are called to invest in future art and future artists. In the most traditional sense, being fully in the now means caring for the art over time so it is there for generations; and in the most experimental sense, it means to encourage playfulness, apply novel approaches and bring new perspectives to our work. If we have never tried something, this might be the time.
What has been some of the most important aspects of your success? The Spencer is surrounded and supported by people who love art and are willing to work past sundown to be sure others might take pleasure and meaning from the art. That’s it: love and work.
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How many people does The Spencer employ? Serve, interact with on a daily basis, and are responsible to?
What do you see as your personal responsibility and the Spencer’s responsibility to the community?
As we begin the new academic year, we have 28 staff, 16 students and 50 volunteers. We are responsible to an entire public—the University of Kansas, Lawrence and the state of Kansas are our first circles of responsibility, but, of course, there is more. We relate to an international scholarly and artistic community. We are responsible to communicate our discoveries and add them to a growing body of intellectual and creative work destined for shaping history.
It begins with paying attention to the overall ecology of the community, learning it—from its natural systems to the plethora of cultural opportunities and the business community. I have had
How do you and the Spencer make a positive impact on the Lawrence community? The Spencer has always been one of the destinations for people coming to Lawrence, but now we are working toward joining our community partners in developing participants rather than audiences for the arts. A participant takes an active role in creating the quality of life. Our more-than-40year collaboration with Lawrence Public Schools and our Spencer At Large projects that take place in the community provide many points of access and are all part of an overall question in action: How can the Spencer Museum be one of the places in the community and in the world where people can belong locally and globally, question values and assumptions, and explore their lives through art? Our impact should be judged upon how effectively we pose that question. Do we make lives better, more worthwhile, more satisfying?
What would you change about doing business (or working with businesses) in Lawrence? I would like to be able to frequent every business in Lawrence and have every businessperson frequent the museum—each on our own terms. I grew up in the culture of a small construction company (Reece Construction Co.), and that company was family, and family was the company. Art and business have a key common factor—the value and reward of good work. So maybe some year, I’ll just travel from business to business …
Why did you become involved? What inspires you? Is there a specific thing, person or incident? My parents took my whole family to Europe when I was 12. That experience changed my life. Seeing the world open through art and then realizing it was not just Europe—art was everywhere. Creativity and expressive work was a path through life. Although I did not know just how, it was then that I knew I wanted to spend my time on a pilgrimage of discovery through art.
the great pleasure of serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board and the Cultural Planning Committee—both seem like a personal responsibility, both were learning experiences. But for me, the joy comes from less formal responsibilities: visits to artists’ studios, attending poetry readings, kayaking on the river, buying weekly groceries from the farmers’ market, slipping into an art movie downtown. So maybe a personal responsibility is to constantly be in learning mode. At the Spencer, we have been talking about how to be more reflective as we try to learn. I think it is the Spencer’s responsibility to bring the best action and reflection to the community table and learn, always learn.
What is the biggest challenge you feel the Spencer faces? I think all institutions, and especially those with important historical legacies like the Spencer, face the enormous challenge of balancing contemporary relevance with the tried and true. What should change, what should stay the same? I hope that we can build a system that is as resilient as some of those I see in nature. We will need to adapt and go into workaround mode while we continue to persist with the big ideas. Art has power, and the systems need change to support that fact and continue to provide access to art.
What do you foresee as being the biggest challenge for the future for your industry? And how are you addressing or preparing for it? There is a set of challenges. How can we become more inclusive to all people? How can we protect and nurture personal freedoms of expression? How can we lead learning and inquiry with our colleagues at KU in a climate of budgetary restraint? I believe in groups, ensembles, rambunctious teams of people that work on puzzles and opportunities together. I am preparing for the Spencer Museum’s future by trying to attract people who are quietly bold and experimental, who want to live and work with people who bring different perspectives. I respect people who are willing to go out on a limb but go on that lim b with all they have to give. So preparing for the future to me means trying to surround one’s self with creative difference, hard workers and people who think art is one of the ways to a better future. We have to have that hope—a better future. p
NON- [ PROFIT ]
Actors, directors in rehearsal for A CHORUS LINE
THEATRE LAWRENCE Theatre offers Lawrence community culture while contributing to local economy. by Tara Trenary, photos by Steven Hertzog
Driving down the stretch of highway from Wichita to Lawrence, one might not even notice a pickup truck with a 9-foot gorilla head in the bed along with the giant gorilla’s paw appearing periodically from under several large, flapping tarps. But what if it was the 1970s? An old pickup, a hippie at the wheel, a storm swirling in the background. The pickup breaks down, it begins to rain, and the driver is forced to hitch a ride back to Topeka to get some help. A Journal-World photographer anxiously waits back in Lawrence for the truck’s arrival so he can take photos of this new and exciting local endeavor: This scene was the beginning of what we now know as Theatre Lawrence. Once known as the Lawrence Community Theatre, Theatre Lawrence is a nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors and run by a small staff of dedicated employees. It partners with a large number of volunteers (about 986 people right now volunteer through the volunteer program), numerous local businesses and organizations, as well as the local community to offer quality theater to community members and others from all over the country. It puts on six to seven productions a year (seven this season, including “Rocky Horror”), which includes eight to 16 performances per production. “Lawrence is a wonderfully talented community [of people] who come from all over,” says Mary Doveton, executive director and founding member of the theater. “There’s never a time when we don’t have something going on in the theater.” In addition to its normal lineup of extraordinary performances, Theatre Lawrence also offers a concert series, a pianist in the fall, traveling groups that go out into the community and perform, kids programs throughout the year and every single week during the summer, as well as performances on the Baldwin Dinner Train about once a week. It gets involved in local civic celebrations like the Kaw-Boom Fourth of July Festival, the Zombie Walk and the Festival of Magic and Mystery. It also partners with local artists and provides a canvas for them to exhibit their art during each of the seven yearly productions. “We provide artists with a really good patron base to share their art with,” Doveton says.
Funding for the theater comes from ticket sales, intermission revenue from the concession area The Cove, student fees, building rental, grants, donations and underwriting from local business partners. The theater also raises money by renting out unique set pieces and costumes to other theaters and community members. The rental side is currently a small revenue stream but one theater leaders hope to boost in the future. In the beginning, Lawrence, Kansas, had no community theater. In the 1970s, a group of locals with a kitty of $500 decided to change that. The gorilla and paw driven from Wichita to Lawrence: props for the first performance ever put on by the then-named Lawrence Community Theatre, “The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild,” by Paul
ladder painting. He was covered head to toe in black paint!” Lawrence Community Theatre, with 156 seats, opened in 1985 on New Hampshire Street with an original script by local playwright John Clifford called “I Was Right Here a Moment Ago.” More than 215 different productions were performed in the old church, ranging from musicals such as “Hello Dolly” and “Chicago” to mysteries such as “Arsenic and Old Lace” and dramas like “Wit” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In December 2003, a fire started by a faulty lighting fixture in the costume storage area caused $150,000 damage to the theater, destroying nearly two-thirds of the theater’s costumes and inflicting extensive smoke damage to the entire building. Already too
racticing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. - Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Zindel. The play had “strong scenic needs,” Doveton explains. Not only did they need King Kong, they also had to construct a breakaway wall for him to climb, and the mechanical paw had to carry Mildred across the stage. But props for the set weren’t the only hurdles founding members faced. Rehearsals were spread out all across the city; set construction was done outdoors in the elements or indoors and subject to leaky roofs and flooding; and storage was scattered throughout town in basements, barns and garages. The performers only moved into the Arts Center (now the Carnegie Building) the week before the performance, and they had to first put up all seating risers and chairs before constructing the sets. Only then could rehearsals begin. “It was quite an undertaking to get things up and down for each show,” Doveton says. In the beginning, the theater group performed all over town: a melodrama at the South Park gazebo, T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” at Trinity Episcopal Church, dinner theater at Teepee Junction. “We were kind of gypsies really until 1984, when the building on New Hampshire became available,” Doveton explains. When a local church moved out and decided to sell the building at 15th and New Hampshire streets, Lawrence Community Theatre members raised funds to purchase their new home. Local architect Larry Good and theater consultant Charles Lown created a plan to transform the church into a theater, and community members helped restore and renovate the church, and make it over into a theater. “It was a real community effort,” Doveton says. “Charlie Oldfather [local legend and former KU law professor] was up on a
small to accommodate the ever-growing theater group, theater leaders began to explore options to expand. “There was no way we could sustain or grow the program in the old building,” Doveton says. With the help of an architect, theater leaders visited theaters in other cities, spoke to other theater members, consulted with Lawrence Community Theatre patrons and volunteers, and decided the intimacy of the current “thrust” stage (seating on three sides of the main playing space) was what everyone wanted. “This is unusual when compared to the typical proscenium stages (audience on one side and the main playing space being separated from the audience space by a wall with a large arch cutout), but in many ways better,” says James Diemer, technical director at the theater. “A space as intimate as ours has some distinct advantages over the larger houses.” So with the “thrust” style decided upon, planning for the new theater began. The Free State Group offered a Challenge grant for land located in the Bauer Farm development, at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. The new building would include a 300-seat theater, an education wing with three dedicated classrooms, support and storage space, lighted parking and improved comfort and accessibility. The theater counted 568 generous individual, corporate and foundation gifts totaling $7,200,000 to make the dream a reality. This included a $1-million Challenge grant from the estate of Mabel A. Woodyard, of Phoenix, Arizona, and a $497,000 Challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The lead gift was a $1-million donation from philanthro-
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pist Tensie Oldfather, followed by other private and foundation donations. After nearly 30 years of performances in the old church, Lawrence Community Theatre changed its name to Theatre Lawrence in 2010. Theatre Lawrence, in its new location on the west side of town, offers programs for all ages. It works directly with children by providing afterschool classes, beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, outreach events and “School’s Out, Theatre’s In” workshops throughout the year. Much of the programming is geared toward first through fifth grades, but programming for middle- and high-schoolers is also available, as well as volunteer and opportunities for young adults and college students. “Our youth education program is unique in our ability to engage local/area youth who may not have had any theater experience before,” explains Hailey Gillespie, youth education director. “It is a truly engaging, fun and supportive environment.” She says children develop basic skills such as teamwork, public speaking, healthy self-expression, communication, confidence, self-awareness and empathy. “But also, we are opening their imaginations to the truly vast opportunities and joy theater brings to our lives.” The theater also offers programs geared toward local seniors, such as the Vintage Players, a senior citizen acting troupe organized in 2001 that takes performances directly to the audiences. The group visits retirement communities about 20 times a year, as well as performing at clubs like Kiwanis and Optimist, and events such as reunions and birthdays. Retired and semi-retired yet very active, members of the Vintage Players usually join to try something new or challenging. “Some have no intention of actually getting onstage and performing, but as they attend meetings and share the laughter of reading material, they are soon putting their toe in the water of ‘acting,’ ” says Mary Ann Saunders, director of the Vintage Players. Some of the Vintage Players’ members who prefer not to perform get involved in other aspects, including the “Kids at Heart” project, where members go into local elementary school classrooms each month and read to the students. They then guide the kids through a re-enactment of the story. The goal is to increase students’ ability to read with expression, to visualize the story and TOP TO BOTTOM: Director Judy Wright inspects costumes during rehearsal for A CHORUS LINE. Creativity emerges during the mask-making session of a TL theatre camp. Photo credit Theater Lawrence A Chorus Line dancers rehearse in the mirror studio at Theater Lawrence.
see cause and effect, as well as to learn character development and progression of the plot. “Plus, it’s just a lot of fun for all of us,” Saunders explains. “Many of the Vintage Players have grandchildren who live some distance from them, and this is a great way for them to connect with kids.”
dents have come to depend upon when they want to escape their everyday lives for a brief time. “There is something about going to live theater, an experience you can’t get at home watching a DVD,” Doveton says. “Theater is one of the things that still brings all ages and backgrounds together to make the same thing happen.”
The Vintage Players receives donations for their performances and depends on those donations to keep their group going.
In September, Theatre Lawrence will open its 40th season with “A Chorus Line,” which is directed by Judy Wright, former development director and assistant vice president of KU Endowment. With an extensive background in theater and directing, and a history of directing for Lawrence Community Theatre, she brought the idea of doing this show to Doveton knowing it would be a huge challenge and “triple threat”: dancing, singing and acting. But she says her passion for the production, going back to a performance she saw on Broadway in 1975, makes all the hard work worth it.
Theatre Lawrence partners with multiple local community groups and organizations, which many times coincides with the production in progress. It also is active in joint projects with Lawrence artists, the library, quilters groups, the Jewish Community Center, KU School of Law, The Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, Parks and Recreation, Spencer Art Museum and Downtown Lawrence, among many others. The theater is also a source of tourism, bringing in business for the Lawrence community through buses arriving from out of town to see shows, groups renting space for small conferences and people from all across Kansas and other states coming to enjoy not only the theater but also the town’s restaurants and hotels. “There are going to be direct financial contributions … there are also going to be indirect economic indicators,” Doveton explains. “People need to understand that the arts are a business, and the arts contribute strongly to the economic atmosphere of any community they are in.” This “business of art” known as Theatre Lawrence has become an integral part of the Lawrence community over the years, one resi-
Wright says communities like Lawrence that have a good, strong community theater are communities full of people who are very well-educated, love culture and want to have the opportunity to be a part of that culture. “What community theater does for communities is give people, adults as well as children, the opportunity to participate in that theatrical experience that they would never have the opportunity to do … to come together with a group of people to create, through a collaborative effort, a piece that will move humanity.” She believes theater is important because it “opens a window to the human condition and gives people an opportunity to experience something they might not have already experienced, and have a better empathy toward their world afterwards.” p
The Art Patro� Business owners improve employee, customer experience with walls adorned with local art by Julie Dunlap, photos by Steven Hertzog
Russell Kansas Sunset, a painting by artist Stan Herd hangs in the main lobby of the Emprise Bank on Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence
Walk into any Emprise Bank, and you will find a unique piece of Kansas everywhere you look.
lecting the art that hangs in each of their private offices, exposing them to works they may never have seen otherwise.
From Elden Tefft’s bronze Jayhawk sculpture near the entrance to Stan Herd’s stunning prairie mural across the lobby, the Wakarusa branch, like all Emprise Bank branches, reflects bank chairman and lifelong Kansan Michael Michaelis’s deep appreciation for art and love of Kansas.
Customers’ reactions to the pieces as they enter the lobby and its surrounding offices make the business of banking a more enjoyable one for them, while employees credit the art, in part, with increased job satisfaction.
Regional Market President Cindy Yulich has enjoyed seeing Michaelis’s passion spread to each branch and their employees during the 25 years she has been with the bank. “It’s been a real education for all of us at the bank to be exposed to this collection,” Yulich says. Michaelis owns 2,770 works of art by 780 artists, all of whom have ties to Kansas. Pieces from Michaelis’s collection fill the bank’s 35 branches in the state, though three are on loan for a show in New York right now and will eventually make their way to a show in Spain. The pieces vary in media from paintings to photographs to sculptures to glass and more, each one carefully catalogued and tracked. Yulich points to the painting hanging on the wall of her office, a vibrant nighttime scene bringing Joe’s Donuts (formerly located on 9th Street) to life. She explains that employees have a say in se-
In addition to supporting the livelihood of Kansas-tied artists, Emprise Bank supports local art organizations, including the Lawrence Arts Center’s (LAC) arts-based preschool, in an effort to nurture little artists as they grow. “It’s such a part of the fabric of Lawrence and serendipitous that Mike’s passion fits in so well,” Yulich says of the arts. “And if the community is thriving, we’re all thriving.” Investing in the arts, Yulich adds, “is just the right thing to do.” At Intrust Bank downtown, Regional Market President Doug Gaumer firmly agrees. “Art is an important amenity to the community,” the longtime Lawrencian explains, “because it enhances the livability.” After more than a decade in the banking industry spent keenly in tune to the economic changes and challenges in Lawrence and around the state, Gaumer has seen the positive and powerful
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role a strong arts base plays in sustaining and growing a city’s economy. From attracting and retaining citizens who contribute their skills and enthusiasm to the workforce and community, to providing area youth with opportunities not necessarily available at school or at home, the impact of the arts is undeniable. “The arts make Lawrence a more attractive place to live, work and invest,” Gaumer states, noting opportunities to participate in and enjoy the arts lead to increased capital and spending dollars in Lawrence. “It’s important to support efforts that help the community and economy grow.”
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Gaumer witnesses the widespread value of supporting a vital arts community not just as a businessman and father, but as an audience member, as well. “I’ve never seen a bad show in Lawrence!” he brightly smiles, citing traveling shows such as the Lied Center’s presentation of “Mama Mia” and a cappella group Straight No Chaser, and local shows such as the Lawrence Arts Center’s presentation of “MotherFreakingHood!” among his favorites. Intrust Bank has been a regular supporter of the Lawrence Arts Center, Theatre Lawrence, the Lied Center, Van Go Inc., Friends of KU Theatre and fine arts in area schools, among other places. While Intrust Bank supports a large number of health, humanitarian and educational endeavors in Lawrence, as well, Gaumer finds supporting the arts to be not only important but also enjoyable. “People are very gracious,” he says, “it makes it easy to do.” Gaumer adds, “We allocate our resources to the highest and best use, and we believe arts are very worthy.” For Dan Schriner and Sally Hare-Schriner, supporting the arts is simply in their blood. As a student at Topeka High School, Dan found refuge, clarity and peace in the school’s third-floor gallery and art center.
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“For me, it was an outlet,” Dan says of art. Though he was a regular in art teacher Jean Bass’s art studios (and in the principal’s office, his wife chuckles), the retired computer systems designer turned down an arts scholarship to earn a degree in math, as well as an MBA from the University of Kansas.
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Sally grew up surrounded by the arts, as well. Her grandmother was a painter and her grandfather a woodworker, both artists who passed the appreciation for art and artists’ work through generations. “If there was a piece of art in our home, it was original,” Sally says of growing up the granddaughter of artists. “Art always had meaning and a story.” Soon after college graduation, Dan’s career took the couple all over the world. The pair purchased art from regional artists at every stop, amassing an impressive international collection by the time they returned to Lawrence.
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Dan’s aptitude for design served him well with his degrees, as he retired at the age of 43 with newfound time and renewed energy to pursue the passion that had brought him so much joy as a young adult.
He returned to the art of weaving before moving on to stained glass after taking a class at the Lawrence Arts Center, where he discovered a love for going large.
Art is excitement which if we can’t create ourselves, we can at least, through love of it, make available to others. - Vincent Price, Collecting Original Art
“When I get into something, I go big,” Dan explains of the massive stained glass installation pieces, including a glass dome, that stood out among the more moderate-sized pieces his classmates created. The drive to “go big” also led Dan to woodworking. Using many of Sally’s grandfather’s tools and referring often to online video tutorials, Dan spent his time creating inlays and hand-crafting pieces, eventually moving into the art of home rehabbing and flipping. During this time, Dan and Sally (who, at one point divorced and then remarried, but that’s an entirely different story, they laugh) began working with KU Endowment’s Far Above campaign. Their contacts with other area philanthropists, coupled with their longengrained love of art and overwhelmingly positive experiences with the Lawrence Arts Center, drew them to pay forward their love of and foundation in the arts by supporting area art venues and artists. “Art is so much more than play,” Sally, an early childhood education specialist explains, “it’s the process, it’s the how. (Lawrence Arts Center) caters to children’s creativity where school budgets are being cut.” Dan is especially impressed with the support the artists give to their community, particularly when it comes time for the Lawrence Arts Center’s annual auction, as hundreds of regional artists have contributed their own pieces during the years. “Art is for all ages,” he says, reflecting on his life as an artist. “It can be harder as an adult than as a kid, but it’s so important for growth.” “Art broadens horizons,” Sally continues, “and allows you to see the world’s reality.” The pair also supports the Spencer Museum of Art, located on KU’s campus, a place local art patron Tom Carmody holds dear to his heart. “Our first Mother’s Day in Lawrence,” Tom recalls, “all my wife wanted was for the kids to take her to the Spencer.” TOP TO BOTTOM: Mike Michaelis, owner of Emprise Bank, holding Checkered Necklace by artist Marjorie Schick. Dan and Sally Shriner at the Cider Gallery for an LAC Board of Directors meeting.
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Like the Schriners, Tom and Kay Carmody settled in Lawrence with a lifelong love and appreciation for the arts after spending time living in a number of different cities. Supporting both individual artists and arts organizations such as Lawrence Arts Center, Spencer Museum of Art and Van Go, the Carmodys have immersed themselves in Lawrence’s more creative communities during the years, believing in the positive impact art has on a child’s life. “Go to any Van Go event, and you will hear testimonials from the kids that art changed their lives,” Tom says, adding, “and saved their lives.” The son of an artist and self-admitted movie buff, the longtime area businessman has written a number of screenplays including “The Only Good Indian,” with filmmaker Kevin Willmott, which played in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Tom’s film company, Prairie Fire Entertainment, finances and produces films, most recently “The Listeners,” which played at the 2016 Free State Festival, an annual event Tom is happy to support. “I’ve seen the impact a successful festival can have on a city,” Tom says, noting the increase in business shops and restaurants can see on any given Final Fridays and during the run of the Free State Festival. “It’s good for the city.” He is quick to credit the vision of Final Fridays and Free State Festival organizers and participants, underlining how much these artists love Lawrence. “It’s important to recognize what the arts can bring (to a city),” Tom emphasizes, encouraging Lawrencians to “attend the events, hear what kids say. That is powerful.” Driven by personal experience, architect Dan Sabatini happily supports the arts, as well. Sabatini’s mother was an artist. Growing up, he often accompanied her on jobs, drawing alongside her. Though he claims his drawings weren’t necessarily gallery-ready, the experience shaped his career in architecture and solidified a love and appreciation for art.
and supporters of the city’s arts community. “I got to know area artists,” he adds, citing Emily Markoulatos and Lisa Grossman as two of his favorite standouts. Since then, the Sabatinis have become steadfast supporters of the Lawrence Arts Center, KU’s Spencer Museum of Art and KU’s Swarthout Recital Hall. Though supporting the arts has benefitted the growth of his architecture business, Sabatini believes in the greater good that comes from a community with a rich and accessible arts education and scene. “My accountant told me, ‘You don’t need to make any more arts donations for your taxes,’ ” he laughs. “I just told her, ‘That’s not the point.’ ” He explains, “The more confident people I’ve met in my life were through dance, which is one of the biggest reasons I support the dance programs at LAC.” He adds that any activity, from sports to dance to theater, can be very costly, and supporting scholarship programs that allow all children to participate in these life-changing, skill-building activities is highly important for the benefit of the whole community. Reflecting on his upbringing and the joy his three children have experienced from the arts, the impact is profoundly clear to him. “If you’re going to feed your soul in the world, it’s got to be through art.” p
A trained dancer and lifelong lover of both visual and performing arts, Sabatini served on the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission roughly twenty years ago, a position that allowed him to become better acquainted with the needs
The Van Go annual Unveiling of the Van Go Benches evening. ABOVE: Tom Carmondy poses with family, friends and Ruben Haro-Villa the young artist who created this custom made Van Go Bench
Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world - the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air. - Leonard Bernstein
TOP TO BOTTOM: Wayne Propst poses in his studio. Cindy Novello performs at Children’s Mercy Hospital as part of a Folk Alliance International outreach program. Jeremy Osbern owner and dirctor of Through A Glass productions setting up to shoot on Mass Street
Local Arts Scene Lawrence Arts, Quality of Life Entertwined by Bob Luder
Rick Mitchell is an Ivy League-educated artist of many genres mostly known locally for his commercial photography. Wayne Propst is a lifelong painter and multifaceted artist whose works not only have been displayed all around town but regionally and nationally. Cindy Novelo is a singer/songwriter who has put out two albums and performed at folk music festivals throughout the country. Jeremy Osbern has produced more than 100 videos and participated in the Sundance Film Festival. Kim Tefft is a sculptor following in the footsteps of his locally famous father and recently finished work on what must be considered one of the most iconic sculptures in the city. All of these people have one thing in common aside from their artistic backgrounds: Whether they left for extended periods of time and returned or stayed put most or all of their lives, all call Lawrence home. With a local arts scene that has a vibrant past and appears to be expanding all the time, they wouldn’t have it any other way. “When I think about Lawrence and why it is people want to live here … it’s a quality of life issue,” Mitchell says. “Art is part of that. The magnetism of the arts and culture in Lawrence draws people in. When people live here or visit, they pay taxes, spend money. Collectively, all businesses benefit.” Novelo, a classically trained musician who grew up in Lawrence but lived 17 years overseas before returning to be closer to family, is but one of hundreds of local artists who take great pride in her city being a cultural arts mecca of the Midwest.
“I remember reading a story in The New York Times several years ago that listed Lawrence as one of the more popular arts communities in the country,” says Novelo, who attended songwriting school in North Carolina and has played the Kerrville Folk Festival, in Kerrville, Texas, among others. “Lawrence is a happening place. You can never find a parking space. Every place is packed most every day. “Not only is the artist benefiting economically, but all the people around, from the sound people to the food truck parked out back,” she says. “Downtown Lawrence has maintained its charm, and the arts scene is an important part of that.”
Coming Home Mitchell was born and raised here, but after graduating from the University of Kansas (KU) with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972, he headed east, receiving his master’s degree two years later from Rutgers and also studying at Princeton and Drexel. He majored in painting in college but found himself gravitating toward performance and conceptual art after moving east. While working on performance arts projects in New York City, he started looking for a way to document his work. That’s when he took up photography, a calling he eventually would make his business and living for many years, both as a professor of photography and a commercial photographer. He lived and worked on the East Coast for 20 years before returning to Lawrence in 1992.
Right: Kim at his welding table in his Teffterra studio A table lined with maquettes of James Naismith and the Academic Jayhawk.
“Lawrence has always been home,” he says. “I came back for family reasons, but I really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.” After taking a job as an assistant professor of photography at Baker University, in nearby Baldwin City, he applied for the position of gallery director at the Lawrence Arts Center, which then was still housed in the Carnegie Building. He served in that role from 1992 to 2009. “The gallery wasn’t really developed,” he says. “It was just a half-time job.” Fortunately for Mitchell, it didn’t stay that way. The job grew rapidly, his title became exhibition program director and the Lawrence Arts Center prepared for its move to its current location on New Hampshire Street, between Ninth and 10th streets. By 2009, he decided he'd accomplished about all he could there. “I felt I’d done the job,” he says. “I wanted to devote time to art-making. Technically, I’m retired, but artists never retire. They just keep doing what they’re doing.” When he was a young art student in the 1960s and early ’70s, Mitchell says there was a bit of division in the Lawrence arts scene. When he returned home in 1992, it was a whole other story. “The Lawrence Arts Center had formed, there was community theater, a community choir,” he says. “The arts scene had really grown up. There was a proliferation of artists. Today, a lot of art majors (at KU) stay.” Mitchell says there’s still a need for more commercial art galleries in Lawrence, but he points to areas of growth, such as the Final Friday events that occur every month, bringing folks downtown to browse the gallery spaces that exist. Then, there’s the burgeoning Warehouse Arts District, which is forming on Ninth Street, between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania streets. “That’s viewed as pivotal to the commercial arts scene,” he says.
The Impact of Final Fridays One of the more popular art galleries in the Warehouse Arts District is the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St., where Mitchell had a show of his photography last April and, more recently, Propst had a show of his paintings. Propst grew up in Kansas City but attended KU in the mid’60s and ’70s, and never left. While he says the Lawrence arts scene has evolved over the years, in many ways, it hasn’t changed at all. “The rest of town has always had this huge, white suburb thing going on,” Propst says, “but there’s always been the same
core of people making things. There’s a big range of what’s out there, plenty of people who make art.” Propst says he and fellow artist and friend, Molly Murphy, once performed their own survey of the impact of one of the Final Friday events and were surprised by what they learned. “We hung out in businesses and talked with a lot of people,” he says. “The impact shocked us at the number of people who come in from out of town. I think the economic benefits that the arts have brought to Lawrence are huge.”
Taking the Long Way Home Novelo also was born and raised in Lawrence, but took perhaps the most circuitous route in getting back home. From the age of 6, she received classical training on the piano and later added viola to her repertoire. But when it came time to select a major in college, she chose French, which allowed her to study in France for two years. While in France, she also studied music at the famous University of Bordeaux. She also lived for 10 years on a small island off Belize, in Central America. In addition to English, she speaks French and Spanish fluently. A divorce and raising two young twin daughters prompted the move closer to home and family. She and the twins—Luna and Leila—settled in Vinland, a tiny nook (“There’s just a little general store,” she says) in the hills between Lawrence and Baldwin City. And, Novelo set about writing music, much of it based on her ex-
periences traveling the world and returning home. Her first album, titled “Stone’s Throw,” is filled with a lot of traditional folk and what she calls “classical Appalachian.” “I love that sound,” she says. “It gets to the gut of the American experience.” In a 2010 interview with KRUU Radio, in Fairfield, Iown, Heather Miller says of Novelo, “her arrangements and mournful sounds rise from the hollows of that region and reverberate with the melodies and traditions of both Medieval and Romantic Europe. The smoky peat fires of the Celts mix with the disciplined heat of full-on symphony.” Her most recent release, “Meditation,” takes a lot of those same influences but adds World and Eastern music over the top. “Music, for me, is about trying to help people get over divisions,” Novelo says. While Novelo says the scene is pretty small for singer/songwriters in town, there is a lot of music to be consumed, be it classical performances at KU’s Lied Center, old-style folk or Appalachian performances at the Lawrence Arts Center, or indie rock shows at Liberty Hall, The Granada or The Bottleneck. It all makes a positive economic impact on the city, she says. And, she knows from experience. “When I was growing up, I had a grandmother who was Southern Baptist and very practical and traditional,” says Novelo, whose father was an electrician and mother a nurse. “During one point in the recession in the 1980s, everyone in my family was out of work except for myself and my sister, who was a ballet dancer.
“Arts are usually the first thing to get cut in a budget, but I think that’s a big mistake. Music develops the brain in a way other things do not,” she explains.
Sculptor By Birth When Kim Tefft says he’s a sculptor by birth, he isn’t stretching the truth, not even a bit. By the time he was born in 1956, Tefft’s father, the late Elden Tefft, already was six years into founding and developing the sculpture major at KU. He would go on to teach at KU another 34 years and become a highly respected and much-beloved artist in the Lawrence area. Like most boys, Kim grew up wanting to be like dad. He took up art at an early age and followed his father’s lead in working with bronze casting, majoring at KU in design in metals, diamondsetting and goldsmithing. Of all the cherished Elden Tefft sculptures around the KU campus and around town—including the iconic Jayhawk out in front of Strong Hall—one probably stands out most: the figure of basketball inventor James Naismith outside the brand-new DeBruce Center, next to Allen Fieldhouse. Unfortunately, Elden died early in 1995, at the age of 95, before he could complete the work. Kim stepped in and put the finishing touches on the sculpture last March. “I think the city has been very receptive to the arts over the years,” he says. “Lawrence is still small enough that the arts scene can still be spread throughout the city. But, I think it’s a great idea to have an area where people know they can go and enjoy the arts. We appear to have that now downtown with the Warehouse Arts District. “We have a good, supportive base around town, rounded out with good opportunities to sell things outside the community,” he continues.
Filmmaking in the Heartland Jeremy Osbern has lived his entire life in Lawrence. But, when he graduated from KU with a degree in film, everyone told him he had to move to either New York or Los Angeles to have any way of making it. The pride practically drips from his voice as he speaks of proving those predictions completely wrong. Osbern and business partner Chris Blunk formed Through A Glass Productions in 2004. The goal was simple: to tell the stories they wanted to tell, make the films they wanted to make and, most importantly, live where they wanted to live. During the last 12 years, the company has produced more than 100 films, from full-length features to shorts to commercials. Osbern’s first full-length feature, “AIR: The Musical,” was played at 20 film festivals and, in 2010, received distribution over four continents. Osbern and Blunk also started the filmmaking program at the Lawrence Arts Center and taught classes there for years before their Through A Glass schedules became so busy they were forced to hand those over to others. “In Lawrence, we’re so inundated with art, I think sometimes residents take it for granted,” says Osbern, who is working on a stand-up comedy special that has Louis C.K. among its producers. “I think the city has been very supportive. The Free State Festival in June has the budget to bring in international film speakers. There’s a lot of financial funding.”
Rick Mitchell and his pieces: The Sand Bar & Lawrence Alley
Osbern says when he and Blunk moved into their current office space in the Warehouse Arts District, there were probably two artists in the area. Today, there are upwards of 50. It’s all part of the growth and evolution that keeps Osbern—and all of his fellow Lawrence artists—proving the naysayers wrong. The little burg on the Kaw has become a big Midwest arts mecca. “When I first started going to festivals, jaws would just drop when we told them we were making films in Lawrence,” Osbern says. “Now, it’s much more common. Producers are more interested in talking about making a film in Kansas.” p
Art display in Kunming’s largest Mall to announce Herd’s arrival.
Local artists make it big, still choose to live in and work from their beloved hometown. by Julie Dunlap, photos by Steven Hertzog
Working Planet Earth
“International superstar” isn’t usually the kind of phrase one expects to be followed by the phrase “from Lawrence, Kansas,” but for artists like Stan Herd, known around the globe for his earthworks, multimedia art composed of organic matter such as vegetation, rocks, soil and water, and nurtured on the ground, the two terms are inseparable. A Protection, Kansas, native and former art student at Wichita State University, Herd’s farming community roots and deep connection to the beauty of the environment eventually drew the artist to a Kansas field in 1981, where he created his first earthwork, a portrait of famed Kiowa Chief Satanta. He moved to Lawrence shortly after to be a part of what he calls “the most vibrant arts scene in the Midwest” and has lived here ever since.
Top to bottom: Stan with JiCheng group in ‘Tai Ping Lake Park, who are commissioning “Young Woman of China,” a six acre permanent earthwork.
Stan with Minority group dancers at artists reception in Mile.
Aerial photograph of Young “Woman of Brazil” a half acre “proof of concept” earthwork in the Kansas City Bottoms.
Stan in Sao Paulo Favela, planting the first tree for “Young Woman of Brazil.”
As his national reputation as an earthwork artist grew (he has no formal representation but says the international earthwork network is tightly connected), Herd balanced family life in Lawrence and a career far outside the city limits. Near the turn of the millennium, with career opportunities tempting and wooing him to leave his adopted hometown behind for other literal, though not necessarily greener, pastures, Herd was introduced to TV journalist and Kansas native Bill Kurtis, owner of the Red Buffalo Ranch, in Sedan, Kansas, who hired Herd as an artist-in-residence at the ranch. During his tenure at the ranch, Herd found a renewed sense of purpose, saying, “I made the decision to make a difference and join the great stalwarts who stayed (in Lawrence) instead of heading for a coast.” Herd is quick to list a large number of area artists and supporters committed to nurturing arts in the city, stating, “Art is a community,” a philosophy driving the manifestations of his imagination in a way that makes “his heart feel good,” he says with a warm smile. His most recent earthwork was installed during the Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Local citizens of all ages took part in the careful planting and placing of natural media with all vegetation planted to be distributed within the community long after Herd has made his way back home … where he will prepare for his next project, a 5-acre piece in China titled “Young Woman of China.”
Roger Shimomura sits in front of some of his paintings in his Lawrence studio Right (top) Nikkei Story 2005 - 72”x144” Japanese Community Center, Seattle WA In his studio, Lawrence KS After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and an Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in New York, Shimomura came to Lawrence in 1969 to teach at KU for what he believed would be a few years. “A few years turned into a career,” he laughs.
A Place To Create Like Herd, Lawrence artist and University of Kansas (KU) Distinguished Professor of Art Emeritus Roger Shimomura has also displayed his art far outside of the 785 city limits while calling Lawrence his home. As a young boy looking out to the world through the barbed wire surrounding the Japanese internment camp in Idaho, where his earliest memories were formed, Shimomura never dreamed a love of art would land him happily in the Midwest with a life that reaches so far beyond visible boundaries.
“Lawrence has a atmosphere that fosters art-making,” he affirms after nearly 50 years as a Lawrence-based artist. “The community is welcoming and forgiving,” he adds, giving him the freedom to experiment and push himself creatively. With connections on both coasts, Shimomura’s early career quickly spanned thousands of miles. But even with his wide reach and the support of the Lawrence community and critical acclaim, Shimomura’s Asian-inspired works, many depicting scenes from or including visual references to his time in the internment camp in Idaho, failed to resonate with serious buyers. “Paintings of identity,” as works featuring the struggles of underrepresented sects of any population are called, turned out to be a harder sell at the time Shimomura was trying to get his work to New York’s highly regarded Chelsea-area galleries.
Not one to give up, however, Shimomura continued building a name for himself in other markets. Eventually, a sold-out show in Chicago led to a show in Washington, D.C., where he caught the eye of Bernice Steinbaum, a gallery owner in the SoHo neighborhood in New York City. Steinbaum invited him to install a show at her gallery, which ended up selling well enough to snowball into others, including a fortuitous show in Miami, where he met Chelsea-area gallery owner Eleanor Flomenhaft, who invited him to do a show shortly after. “I haven’t sought a show in 25 years,” Shimomura says of the impact of those connections. Throughout this time, Shimomura stayed and taught in Lawrence, traveling every summer to Seattle to visit his children and grandchildren. “It is possible to have a career in New York and still live in a small town like Lawrence,” the highly prolific Shimomura shares, “but you’ve got to devote a lot of time. It’s not a part-time thing.”
Hollywood on the Hill Lawrence filmmaker Kevin Willmott agrees whole-heartedly. “The thing I’ve built here that allows me to do what I do,” Willmott explains, “took me a long time to build.” A Junction City native with an Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University (NYU), Willmott spent three years working in New York City before moving to Lawrence to film his first feature-length movie, “Ninth Street.”
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His timing could not have been better. Willmott connected with the Film Commission of Greater Kansas City (now known as the Kansas City Film Office) upon his arrival in 1991, both just beginning to spread their wings in the area. After a seeming whirlwind of conversations and meetings, the KC Film Commission announced Willmott’s “Ninth Street” would be a part of its inaugural endeavors. “They announced it, so I had to do it,” Willmott chuckles about the sudden thrust into the world of filmmaking in the Midwest. The intense and immediate notoriety paid off. Roughly 700 people showed up for the auditions; props and costumes were collected. Willmott and his crew shot scenes, and funding and manpower allowed more than four years, a prolonged time frame that not only gave Willmott the space to take in and learn the nuts and bolts of filmmaking on the job, but provided him with opportunity to cast Hollywood actors Isaac Hayes and Martin Sheen, working in nearby films, as their schedules allowed. The entire production process, from preproduction to distribution (1999, by Ideal), lasted eight years … just enough time for Willmott to make a home here in Lawrence, where he raised his five children and teaches film at KU.
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With one feature film under his belt and his family happily planted in Lawrence, Willmott’s professional life outside of Kansas took off, from commissioned television and film scripts for Hollywood studios, to writing and directing his own feature films here in Lawrence, including “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” which was distributed by IFC Films after an enthusiastic reception Elle Martin at Sundance Film Festival in 2004.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
- Albert Einstein
TOP TO BOTTOM: Kevin Willmott and Director Spike Lee look over script changes, then watch dailies on the set of ‘Chi-Raq.’
More doors continued to open for his career after Sundance. Willmott’s resume includes such producers as Oliver Stone and Jamie Lee Curtis, and recent success with Oscar-nominated writer and director Spike Lee, with whom he wrote the 2015 feature film “Chi-Raq.”
Kevin looks at a camera set up on a monitor with Photographer Matt Jacobson and gives acting directions to Wes Studi on the set of ‘The Only Good Indian.’
Through his hard work and success, Willmott has accepted dozens of writing opportunities, often with a pull to move to Los Angeles or New York. While the chance to work in a stateof-the-art, well-funded facility certainly has tempted him to pack up and head for a coast at times, Willmott remains loyal to the unparalleled assets in Lawrence. “The relationships I’ve made here are more important than any facility,” Willmott beams, adding, “if you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t matter where you live.”
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Taking the Show on the Road Lawrence-area singer Vanessa Thomas can attest to that. Thomas travels the country performing with world-renowned Grammy Award-winning maestro Doc Severinsen, all while working as a vocal coach, accompanist and Lawrence Free Methodist Church service director, and raising her four children here in Lawrence. “I recently performed in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl with Doc and his orchestra. It was my first time performing there, and the audience was on their feet applauding. I got back home to my kids and found myself helping dig coins out of the toilet my son had dropped,” Thomas laughs of her double life. “I went from the Hollywood Bowl to the toilet bowl!”
Vanessa Thomas performing with the Doc Severinsen Band Photographs by Andrea Canter
a longtime supporter of the town, Doc Severinsen.
Before leading the jet-setting life of a professional performer, Thomas graduated from KU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance in opera. After spending a few years performing and teaching in Kansas City, Thomas came back to Lawrence. “Lawrence is a good place to have a community, establish a career and have a family,” she explains. Thomas spent nearly a decade teaching and performing locally. She was asked to return to her hometown of Clay Center in 2010 to sing in a show honoring the town’s musical matriarch, Pauline Snodgrass, a show which would also feature
Thomas had never met Severinsen until the trumpeter overheard her during a sound check. He circled the auditorium as she sang, ending directly in front of Thomas as she finished her song. “He said to me, ‘Do you know who I am?’ ” Thomas recalls. Of course she did. He then asked her to join him for a show in Minneapolis that year. That first show turned into the next six years and counting of performing across the country in some of the most famous music venues. “The fans can get pretty crazy,” Thomas says. For the most part, however, the fans have been gracious and the opportunity unforgettable. Speaking of the band, Thomas reveals “these people are at the top of their game, and I get to work with all of them.”
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Charles Silvestri teaching a class. Photo by Mike Yoder, Lawrence Journal-World
Teaching the World To Sing Music also has a unique reach from Lawrence in the written form. Choral lyricist and composer Charles Anthony (“Tony”) Silvestri began his professional music career in 2000 when his good friend, famed choral composer Eric Whitacre, persuaded Silvestri to translate an English poem into Latin for his piece “Lux Aurumque.” A high school history teacher at The Buckley School in the Los Angeles area at the time, Silvestri was unsure whether he was qualified to set Whitacre’s music to words. But Whitacre would not take “no” for an answer. Sixteen years, twelve composers and dozens of written pieces later, Silvestri has established himself in choral circles from the Sydney Opera House to St. Peter’s Basilica as not only qualified, but accomplished, publishing works, teaching classes and sharing his talents with the confidence of a lifelong professional, with one audio performance even reaching astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle. This musical journey has been far from smooth, however. Silvestri moved to Lawrence from Los Angeles after his wife passed away from ovarian cancer, leaving him with their two small children and
no family nearby. Encouraged by his sister and parents, all of whom had relocated to Lawrence from the west, Silvestri moved his son and daughter to be closer to family, a move he is glad he made, nearly 10 years ago. “I found Lawrence to be a welcoming, progressive place,” he says. “I was happy to see hills and trees. I grew up in Las Vegas, so green makes me smile.” Silvestri, a lecturer at Washburn University since 2009, has spent the busiest half of his professional writing vocation in Lawrence, where his proximity to family has allowed him to cultivate a career that manifests in venues all around the world while maintaining a home for his children in a city he quickly grew to love and appreciate. “I get the vibe from the city that they care about public art,” he says, adding that the Lawrence Arts Center and Theatre Lawrence venues add immense entertainment and educational value to the town, especially one this size. Silvestri has even performed in productions with his children, experiences he has treasured during his Kansas years. While he still has several years before his nest completely empties, for right now, Silvestri sees no need to leave the city he has grown to call home. p
Attracting Artists to Communities Essential to Success by Susan Tate, photos by Steven Hertzog
An international marketing agency located in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, since 1999, Callahan Creek is a creative force in design and marketing, a collective of thinkers and makers, and an active part of the creative economy of Lawrence. Cindy Maude, CEO emeritus of Callahan Creek, moved the business from Topeka to downtown Lawrence because of the area’s creative energy. “One reason we have been so supportive of enhancing and promoting the Lawrence Cultural District is because we know that an environment strong in arts and culture attracts companies like ours that provide quality employment and strong community support,” she explains. “Companies in the creative sector attract similar businesses, create new jobs, increase the tax base and bring new dollars into the community.” With $13 million in annual sales, Callahan Creek’s decision to relocate to Lawrence proves what a 2013 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation report entitled “How Cities Can Nurture Cultural Entrepreneurs” details: In today’s competitive environment, a compelling quality of place—a community’s cultural attractiveness to existing and future residents and workers—is a competitive advantage. Motivated by executives’ increasing concern over their businesses’ growth prospects in a tight labor market, companies choose locations attractive to the mobile, millennial workforce. Artists, designers and other young professionals decide where to live and then where to work; therefore, governments are only one component of complex ecosystems that attract top private-sector
talent and support startups. A vibrant creative identity has always mattered in Lawrence, where we have long celebrated our bohemian spirit; but cities that take steps to complement the organic presence of creative professionals with creative sector-focused economic development strategies and policies advocating planned investment in culture will lead the country in local GDP growth. Attracting the talent for creative, technology and bioscience sectors requires quality of life. Necessary and sufficient infrastructure matters, but place is more than proximity to highways and rail systems, telecommunications capacity and tax incentives. Quality of life transcends climate and low crime rates in attracting business investment and human capital. Investment in culture means welcoming libraries, public art, community arts spaces, coffee shops, vibrant downtowns and walkable and bikable neighborhoods with gathering spaces.
Direct Economic Benefits of Arts and Culture The arts industry supports jobs, generates government revenue and catalyzes municipal economic development efforts. Artists are businesspeople who market their work, pay taxes and add value to all investments. Spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the United States, a small fraction of the entire creative industry, is $61.1 billion annually, and arts audiences spend another $74.1 billion. Patrons who attend concerts, theater productions and exhibitions spend an average of $24.60 per person in addition to the price of performance tickets per event. Kansas nonprofit arts
organizations pay taxes, market Lawrence and contribute to efforts to attract and retain businesses. The business of art is important to the Lawrence economy. The Lawrence Free State Festival, with $75,000 from the City of Lawrence, $150,000 from other sponsors, in-kind donations from the Lawrence Arts Center and partners, and concessions and ticket sales had a 2016 budget of $350,000. The Festival generated more than $700,000 in local business sales and more than $100,000 in city tax dollars in 2016, according to the Kansas Board of Tourism. The marketing reach for Lawrence is tremendous, and the Festival, still in its infancy, will have National Endowment for the Arts funding again in 2017. According to Americans for the Arts, the Lawrence Arts Center alone, with 350 contracting artists and employees, and a $3 million budget, annually contributes $317,559 in city tax revenue, $353,870 in state revenue and nearly $5 million to Lawrence household income. Visual and performing arts professions in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors are businesses themselves, and their recognizable presence in a community signals culture, talent and tolerance to individuals and businesses seeking to relocate.
Random Collisions “Random collisions,” involving what Saul Kaplan calls “unusual suspects,” happen in cities where talent and ideas are densely packed into common spaces. The author of “The Business Model Innovation Factory” asserts that these collisions necessary to innovation happen in culturally rich cities. Such culture is increasingly valuable in corporate location decisions and to how self-employed creative professionals, including artists, decide where to live and invest. The culture of a place instills a sense of belonging and promotes attraction and attachment to a community. The 2010 “Soul of the Community” study conducted by the James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup surveyed 26 communities and found a positive correlation between community attachment and local GDP growth. Communities with the strongest attachment enjoyed local GDP growth of 6.9 percent, while those reporting the lowest attachment levels grew by just 0.3 percent. Three primary factors determine a resident’s sense of attachment: social offerings, openness and aesthetics. In the competition for skilled labor, quality of place and the attachment it creates will increasingly drive location decisions. Artists identify themselves as self-employed at a rate much higher than the general professional population, at 48% according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Because more artists than any other professionals have latitude of choice about where to live, their absence or presence in community is an indicator and predictor of quality of cultural life that will draw high-tech, creative, and knowledge-based businesses—because they know the presence of artists indicates robust cultural life.
Lawrence artist Clare Doveton has had studio space in Lawrence’s Warehouse Arts District, six blocks east of downtown, for four years. In Clare’s experience, “Businesses have more opportunities to thrive around similar businesses, and an arts business is no different. Having my studio in close proximity to other artist studios is an endless resource. There are dozens of painters, printmakers, ceramicists, metal sculptors, photographers and builders. My canvases are stretched by a craftsman nearby; my framer is across the street. Collaborations come to fruition from talking about work over coffee or in random meetings on a Final Friday. When buyers or galleries come to my studio from Kansas City or Chicago, they are interested in experiencing other things that happen here in our art community and always explore nearby studios and galleries and food and drink. And when completely different buyers and galleries come to visit the artist next door to me, they will visit my work, as well. We work together here in the business of art.”
Like other businesspeople in the Warehouse Arts District, Clare benefits from the random collisions made possible by a combination of public and private cultural investment. Callahan Creek, a host of other creative-sector businesses at all stages of their development and individual artists, designers and other creatives make Lawrence home because this city gets it; but support for this quality of life should become a core piece of our city’s economic development strategy.
the next five years, its need for highly skilled technical talent and creative professionals will continue to increase. Tequa Creek General Manager Robin Bayer understands the best candidates for these jobs will come from the ranks of millennials who focus first on where they want to live and then look for work opportunities that support their lifestyle. “If we cannot find these talented folks in Lawrence, we will have to consider relocating to other markets where creative professionals want to live,” Bayer says. The culture of Lawrence is essential to attracting professionals such as those Tequa Creek and Callahan Creek employ.
The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.
Midwestern Success Stories
Newsweek magazine recognized two Midwestern mayors as among the five most innovative mayors in the country. Sly James, of Kansas City, Missouri, created and led the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts, resulting in Kansas City increasing its investment in arts and culture, and watching the accompanying transformation of the cityscape, along with new private support following public investment in arts and culture. The Office of Culture and Creative Services was initiated by the Task Force. This team works with city leaders to codify arts and culture as part of specific strategies to attract business, increase tourism, and leverage technology to benefit the arts. Announcing the new team, Mayor James stated, “Arts and culture play an integral role in civic life and provide the education, economic development and vitality which will move our city onto the world stage, where it belongs.”
- Winston Churchill
Attracting and Retaining Human Capital The premium on openness and aesthetics in flourishing urban areas is no accident, argues Richard Florida, American urban studies theorist and author of “The Rise of the Creative Class.” If jobs follow people, and if the most mobile and well-educated sector of our economy are “creatives,” and if they choose where they wish to live based on social offerings, openness, and aesthetics, thriving cities will make these investments. Cities that prioritize public safety, mental health, infrastructure, business parks and affordable housing at the expense of investment in cultural initiatives will fail to compete for the most talented, creative professionals and business investors. Tequa Creek Holdings is a small but fast-growing software company in Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, with gross revenue of $1 million annually. As the company shifts its focus from consulting to a product-centric model projected to fuel significant growth in
Mick Cornett, in his fourth term as the Mayor of Oklahoma City, recognized in the 1990s that quality of life in Oklahoma City meant that no companies would consider relocating regardless of government incentives. He led an initiative to build a Civic Center Music Hall, a new main library, a canal to help redevelop a warehouse district and a series of dams on the river to create recreational spaces. Oklahoma City is now ranked as a top place to visit in 2016 by USA Today. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Oklahoma City as the No. 1 city to move to to launch a business. In June 2016, the technology website Gizmodo cited Oklahoma City as one of three American cities offering good jobs, affordable housing and a high quality of life. “If you look across the world at cities widely known for their high quality of life, you will invariably find communities that support and embrace the arts in all its forms. Our community’s support of the arts has played an integral role in Oklahoma City’s renaissance,” writes Mayor Cornett, who is also
President of the United States Conference of Mayors. Since the recession of 2008, motivated by competition for economic development more than philanthropy, cities around the country have sought new ways to support artists and arts organizations by providing workspace, incorporating artistic work into municipal projects and training artists as entrepreneurs. These investments illuminate what is distinctive about a city and are essential to branding and recruitment efforts. Tony Krsnich, of Flint Hills Holdings, saw this potential in East Lawrence five years ago. Krsnich explains, “Art plays a major role in our economy. I have seen firsthand the catalytic effects it has had in East Lawrence. When we developed the Poehler Lofts, we purchased local artwork to hang in the common areas, a simple yet uncommon innovation, and we immediately began to talk in terms of artists’ studios in the surrounding buildings. We set a national record and leased all 49 units in 11 hours.” The Poehler Loft Apartments won multiple local, state and national awards. It led to the redevelopment of the remaining blighted buildings on the block and won the 2014 National Development of the Year Award for the Cider Gallery. Krsnich built more artist lofts at 9th and Delaware streets; all 43 were leased in a month. Office incubators, art co-working space, a bistro, cross-fit, a film production company—all contribute to an extremely vibrant up-and-coming area, and Krsnich made affordable housing an important part of the mix. “In five years, we have invested over $20 million into a previously blighted block, created over 30 permanent jobs and attracted several businesses to Lawrence who were previously out of town or looking to move,“ Krsnich reports. “The presence of art and artists is why the Warehouse Arts District has been successful and why, in our developments, it will never be an afterthought.”
Callahan Creek Advertising offices Tony Krsnich and Painter Jeremy Rockwell together outside the Cider Gallery Artist Clare Doveton poses at the Cider gallery
Action and Policy at the Municipal Level Cities can affect economic, educational, cultural and social change in a way that federal entities cannot. Cities can see the interrelatedness of local cultural identity, social attachment and cohesion, and attractiveness to the labor force and corporate investment. According to the Kauffman report, as federal support for the arts has diminished, direct expenditure in the arts by county and municipal governments has been increasing across the country as cities learn that cultural investment attracts business investment. According to Grantmakers in the Arts, a national network of private, public and corporate arts funders, to compete for workers
and businesses, municipal and county governments have increased direct expenditures on the arts each year since the 2008 Recession. In the 2013 Ewing Marion Kaufmann Cultural Entrepreneur study, Anne Markusen, director of the Arts Economy Initiative and the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics, at the University of Minnesotaâ€™s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, wrote, â€œSince the Great Recession, North American mayors and city councils have boosted investments in arts and culture to improve the quality of life, to attract residents, managers and workers, and to welcome visitors. Many city leaders are newly aware that artists bring income into the city, improve the performance of area businesses and creative industries, and directly create new
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businesses and jobs.” Arts organizations and artists are a vital part of the economic systems of cities that know how to attract and retain businesses. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in Kansas City, recommends city leaders implement the following strategies: 1. Know who your artists are. 2. Encourage convening and equipment-sharing centers for artists. 3. Develop sustainable artists studios and live/work buildings. 4. Provide entrepreneurial training to artists. 5. Include artists in city-development strategies.
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Mayors James and Cornett, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Center, business leaders and artists in Lawrence know that planned, visionary, sustained investment by cities in public art, designed gathering spaces and the imprimatur of artists can be a deciding factor when talented individuals decide where to live and where the most desirable businesses decide to locate. The positive effect of winning these individuals and businesses on the gross domestic product of a city are easily calculated, but the return on investment does not stop there. The decision of Callahan Creek to relocate to Lawrence in 1999 meant that Lawrence’s Barteldes Seed House, a beautiful and historic limestone building at Eighth and New Hampshire streets, was preserved and restored to house Callahan Creek and other businesses. Their employees volunteer at local not-for-profits; they are engaged in the development of a cultural district here; they teach interns; they buy local art; they worked with the school district to create our ConfabuLarryum. What Callahan Creek would call Lawrence’s “Brand Juju” drew them here and allows them to attract a highly talented workforce, yet they see continued need for investment in the culture of Lawrence and for recognizing the value of creativesector business to our local economy. The decision of Tony Krsnich and Flint Hills Holdings to turn a blighted area into the Warehouse Arts District resulted in preservation, affordable housing, artist space and the startup incubator spaces where Tequa Creek had its beginnings—all part of a vision that supports artists and enhances what Gallup calls the “soul of our community,” essential for the hyperlocal business of nurturing entrepreneurship, attracting talent and supporting incumbent businesses. p
Concert violinist Paul Huang and pianist Jessica Xylina Osborne leading a Performing Arts 3to5 workshop for area pre-school students Courtesy of the Lied Center of Kansas
Experiencing Art Improves Children’s mves
Students not only learn new skills but also may improve in learning and test scores. by Emily Mulligan
Art is not just pretty or entertaining, and it is certainly not frivolous. For so many people and entities in Douglas County, art is a business. And for local students of all ages, it turns out that experiencing art can help them be better people and lead more fulfilling, successful lives. The Lawrence Arts Center annually offers more than 450 classes and workshops to about 9,000 students in preschool through 12th grade. Students can choose from among dance classes, including tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop; theater and filmmaking classes; and art classes, such as drawing, painting, pottery and photography. Students will learn a variety of skills from those classes, and Chief Program Officer Margaret Weisbrod Morris says that hands-on abilities are not the only thing students will gain. “This is a place about teaching and practicing creativity, however, you’re going to integrate it into your life. We are very conscious about it, and we want to teach you how to apply your knowledge,” she says. Ultimately, the instruction the Arts Center provides is not just about learning and perfecting the art itself, although the Arts Center has strict curricula to make sure students do learn the art techniques. Many large, longitudinal research studies show a strong correlation between arts experiences for students and their achievements in school and beyond, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. Young children who regularly participate in arts activities such as music lessons showed significant improvements in non-verbal IQ, numeracy and spatial cognition versus children who did not have those same arts activities, one study found. Elementary school children with higher levels of arts participation had higher test scores in science and writing, according to another study. Studies have shown that high school students of all socioeconomic levels who engage in the arts enroll in four-year colleges at higher rates and are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Arts participation also tracks as a precursor to higher-paying, professionally rewarding jobs.
Lied Center Education Outreach Attending arts events and live arts performances can be as influential as taking lessons or classes. The Lied Center of Kansas has had a partnership with Lawrence Public Schools since the Lied Center opened 23 years ago, providing opportunities for local elementary school children to see live arts performances. Recently, that program has been expanded through private donations to include middle school and high school students. “Every kid in the school district is brought to one performance every year—that is 10,000 students every year,” says Anthea Scouffas, Lied Center engagement/education director. Scouffas says that although many of Lawrence’s students are familiar with the arts, many others are not, and it is evident when they first arrive at the Lied Center. “We hear the kids ask, ‘What movie are we seeing?’ because when they hear the word ‘theater,’ the movie theater is all they know about. For many of them, this is their only exposure,” she says. Executive Director Derek Kwan explains that the Lied Center is the only performing arts center he knows with performances for which the students and the school district do not have to pay. “That makes the experience barrier-free for the students. Everyone should have access to the arts—this literally provides for every single student,” Kwan says. Kwan helped raise the private funds to expand the schools program for five years, and he says the Lied Center is more than halfway toward establishing a permanent endowment for the program. “When I arrived here, I realized we needed to invest more in education. Kindergarten through 5th-grade programs had been covered for many years, but some of the most formative years are
middle school and high school. You never know when that spark will hit,” he says. For the older students, the Lied Center tries to bring not only highquality performances in a variety of genres but also performances related to issues that those students face. Scouffas attends an international conference every year from which to cull the performances, and she coordinates with school counselors and teachers to make sure the topics are relevant to local students. For example, last year’s middle school program was about cyberbullying. This year’s high school program, called “Still/Falling,” is a one-woman play about a high school student with anxiety and depression. For all of the school performances, the Lied Center creates a handout for students with related activities for the younger students and additional resources for the older students. One year’s Lied Center school performance had a measurable and remarkable impact on local students. In 2011, a duo called
After all, what is art? Art is the creative process and it goes through all fields. Einstein’s theory of relativity – now that is a work of art! Einstein was more of an artist in physics than on his violin. rt is this: art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved. - Marshall McLuhan
Black Violin performed for elementary students at the Lied Center. The duo specializes in playing a wide range of music genres on violins. Scouffas says after that performance, the number of students in the school district requesting to play violin increased so much, the district had a shortage of the instruments. This past year, Black Violin returned, and many of those students who still play violin were able to thank the duo for their influence. Scouffas and Kwan also have given students a window into the workings of the Lied Center itself, trying to educate students that not all careers in the arts involve being in the spotlight, so to speak. TOP: Vibraphonist Christian Tamburr and pianist Addison Frei leading a Performing Arts 3to5 workshop for area pre-school students LEFT: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu, NEA State & Regional Director Laura Scanlan, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission Director Peter Jasso and Lied Center Executive Director Derek Kwan observing a movement workshop during Third Grade Theater Arts Day Courtesy of the Lied Center of Kansas
Young artist further’s her drawing skills in an Arts Center Arts Institute class Courtesy of Lawrence Arts Center “Most performing arts centers are filled with people who knew they were into the arts but wouldn’t make it on their art ability alone. So they found a way to make a career,” Scouffas says. Kwan explains that part of the Lied Center’s role in the University is to work with high school and college students to educate them about how to succeed outside of the art form, such as in audience engagement and marketing. The Lied Center staff has mentored both individuals and ensembles, particularly in music, to teach them about those things and more. “We show them that there are so many careers in the arts that are beyond the stage, such as being a business manager, record promoter, box office manager or front-of-house manager,” Kwan says. Eight years ago, the Lied Center was instrumental in creating “Third Grade Theater Arts Day,” a full-day field trip for all Lawrence third graders that provides arts activities and information about arts genres and careers. Now the event has grown, and the Lied Center conducts the two-day event in conjunction with the Lawrence Arts Center and Theatre Lawrence. Local artists and instructors present mini workshops to the children at all three sites. Activities have included puppetry, dance, acting, stage lighting and even makeup. “We want them to learn about theater arts, but we also want them to say that they had fun all day,” Scouffas says. Scouffas and Kwan say that Lawrence public schools offer excellent music programs and theater programs in middle school and high school, so there are opportunities for students to experience
Youth artists enjoy an I, Spy summer camp as part of the Arts Center’s youth education program Courtesy of Lawrence Arts Center those during the school day. If there is one thing missing from the public schools’ curriculum, it is dance instruction, they agree. “We live in an incredible community with incredible schools. Kids should have access to whatever positive forces can help get them through school,” Scouffas says.
Arts Center Arts Instruction What the Lawrence school district leaves off with arts education, the Lawrence Arts Center more than makes up for. Its annual catalogs are filled to the brim with after-school, weekend and even day-off-school programs in all types of arts. Although the Arts Center’s programs are provided at additional cost to families, it also offers a scholarship program to help make the arts accessible to all local students. The Lawrence Arts Center Financial Aid Fund provides scholarships for more than 800 people each year because of funding from private donors and the city. In addition to children’s scholarships, the Arts Center also has a scholarship fund with Douglas County Senior Services for students 55 and older. Morris says the Arts Center writes its own curriculum for all of the genres and categories of art taught. The curriculum is based on design thinking and has benchmarks and teaching techniques that incorporate the national standards of each field. For example, ballet curriculum draws from centuries-old levels of training. Classes like painting and drawing follow the backbone of what arts schools have been teaching for centuries, as well: concepts such as color theory, shading and hand-eye coordination.
Arts Institute classes for 6th-12th graders provide unique opportunities for youth to work with professional artists Courtesy of Lawrence Arts Center The Arts Center’s curriculum committee comprises masters-level licensed teachers and meets weekly,” Morris explains. “As the curriculum is established, the committee works to connect it with what the students are learning in school at each grade level and with books and popular culture that resonate with students.
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“We have to decide: What is the most fun and engaging way to do it? We know no matter what, it has to feel like fun, or they’re not going to engage in it. We have to make sure that people love being here,” she continues. The Arts Center has many presentations of its students’ work, from bulletin boards and display cases of visual art to the School of Dance’s annual Showcase to the large-scale Summer Youth Theater productions. The artists and performers enjoy displaying their final products, but Morris says the learning and creating processes are actually the most important part. “You have to think critically and push yourself past what you think is possible in the moment,” she explains. “Failure is part of learning. You can’t give up; you can’t be afraid. Whatever you make is better through the failures. You have to learn to be confident and seek out that experience.” Kwan and Scouffas, of the Lied Center, connect the art education mind-set to what the research studies show. They say businesses—both inside and outside of the art world—are looking for people who have “soft skills” like critical thinking and creativity. “The key thing is that out of all these trainings, even if you don’t pursue it as a profession, it lays a foundation for you becoming an artist citizen of the world,” Kwan says. “If you look at what makes great moments in history, it has been either art or wars.”p
Arts & Culture as By Porter Arniell, Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Lawrence photo by Steven Hertzog
Art and aesthetics have been integral to humanity since the dawn of time. From tribal cave paintings to Egyptian pyramids to the prodigious artwork of the Italian Renaissance and beyond, the arts have been part of civic infrastructure throughout history, highlighting the civic and cultural identity of innumerable civilizations. Civic arts & culture programming and financing in the U.S. can be traced back to between 1890 through 1910 when both the City Beautiful and Village Improvement Movements thrived in the U.S. These civic planning organizations were created in response to prolific immigration and the many burgeoning towns and cities with populations of 2500 or more that were rapidly dotting the United States. In 1900, there were over 3000 of these groups across the U.S. Proponents of these movements, like Frederick Law Olmsted, recognized that the underlying philosophies of urban/suburban beautification and community arts programming were helpful in promoting civic engagement, social harmony, safety, and improved quality of life. The rationale of creating “Great Cities” through excellent design and unique cultural amenities gained popularity and often earned support from American business owners who wanted to share their good fortune and create a lasting legacy for their community. Coincidentally, beginning around 1900 in response to immigration and rapid civic growth, social reform efforts became increasingly popular. Settlement Houses were created to help immigrants transition into American life. From the Settlement House movement grew what is known today as the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI)— a non-profit organization that provided opportunities for women to volunteer to improve communities. In time, to catalog and help quantify the remarkable range of ongoing arts programming in communities, Virginia Lee Comer, the Senior Consultant for Community Arts for the Junior League, conducted community inventories for arts programs, which spawned and evolved into the “Local Arts Agency" or LAA. A range of civic arts and culture programs unfolded in the U.S. over the following decades. Among them were:
• 1935 - 1943 – During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Program employed more than 6,000 artists who create more than 2,000 murals, 17,000 sculptures and 100,000 paintings which adorn many federal buildings/sites. • 1959 - Philadelphia passed the first one percent for art ordinance in the United States (there are now more than 400 similar programs) • 1965 – The National Endowment for the Arts was established • 1972 - The Government Services Administration (GSA) established the Art in Architecture program for Federal buildings • 1973 – 1982 - The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) an extension of the WPA program which also employed many artists to create public works over a nine year period. In 1996, Americans for the Arts was established as the result of a merger between the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies (NALAA) and the American Council for the Arts (ACA). And, in-step with history, in 2005, Americans for the Arts merged with the Arts & Business Council Inc. whose mission is “To develop more creative partnerships between the arts and business communities.” Today there are more than 400 municipal arts & culture offices in cities and counties across the U.S. In addition to implementing a range of art & culture programs, these agencies are aligning with other city agencies and private entities to collaborate on convention and visitor experiences, sustainability, and economic and community development. In Lawrence, the Cultural Arts Commission is working with Americans for the Arts on a national arts and economic impact research project for the city and Douglas County. They are also working with eXplore Lawrence to help promote the city-wide cultural plan in concert with Unmistakably Lawrence. As the renowned composer Modest Mussorgsky said, “Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity.” p
Civic Catalyst W
hen Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?”
Lin Emery’s kinetic aluminum sculpture “Flame” stands in front of City Hall
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Art is on display while actors and musicians perform throughout downtown Lawrence on Final Friday
It's Finally Friday! Enjoy local music, art and culture every last Friday of the month from February through November. by Liz Weslander, photos by Pat Conner & Steven Hertzog
The last time I listened to opera, a boy band and punk rock all in the same evening was … never. So when I managed to cover all three during Lawrence’s Final Friday in July, I felt like I had accomplished something. February through November, the last Friday of the month in Lawrence is the day that local galleries, studios and businesses fill their walls with artwork, make space for musicians, stock up on snacks and drinks, and open their doors between 5 to 9 p.m. to celebrate Final Fridays. Lawrence’s monthly, alliteratively titled art event began in August 2010 through the cooperation of the Lawrence Arts Center, Downtown Lawrence Inc., the Lawrence Cultural
Arts Commission and the wealth of artists and local businesses of the community. The general goal of Final Fridays is to provide artists the opportunity to showcase their work and to encourage people to come out to enjoy, and possibly purchase, artwork, says Porter Arneill, director of arts and culture for the City of Lawrence. The way people approach Final Fridays is as varied as the art on display during the event, Arneill says. Some people may go out to dinner and visit a couple of venues afterwards, while some try to hit as many shows as possible—including those downtown, in the Warehouse Arts District, in North Lawrence and as far west as Theatre Lawrence.
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Art lovers admire the paintings and enjoy a musical experience. All part of a Final Friday experience.
“You can be passive about it and just go out and see what happens, or you can be methodical and check off venues from the list. People do it all,” Arneill explains. “The eclecticism of Final Fridays is part of its charm.” Having always been part of the former, passive group of Final Friday-goers, I decided to try the latter option for July’s Final Friday. Choosing from the more than 20 Final Friday venues listed on the city’s website for that month, I made a short list of shows that held the potential for eclecticism and gave it a go. My evening started at the Lawrence Public Library, where Lawrence Opera Theatre was performing songs based on the works of William Shakespeare. The performance was a teaser for the company’s 7th Summer Festival titled Shakespeare 400, which honored the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Upon entering the library, the sounds of opera wafted from the auditorium, filling the lobby with serene background music for all to enjoy. The scene inside the auditorium was serious. The room was full, everyone was seated and those who did not have their eyes fixed on the soloist next to the piano at the front of the room sat silently with their eyes closed in order to fully take in what they were hearing. I stayed to hear a piece that was written from the perspective of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The singing, to my untrained ears, was flawless. Although the piece was in Italian, the perform-
er brought the Ophelia character to life through facial expression, deftly communicating the mood of the piece. Ready for something a little more jovial, I move on to Cider Gallery, in the Warehouse Arts District, at 810 Pennsylvania St., where local artists Aaron and Kendra Marable were hosting an opening for their show “The Shape of Things to Come.” Visiting the large, open Cider Gallery space is always a treat. The former cider vinegar factory, which also serves as an event venue and houses coworking office spaces, opened in 2013 after a major renovation that maintained much of the building’s original brick walls, wood floors and giant support beams. At the opening, viewers quietly contemplated the paintings and mixed-media pieces on the gallery walls, while the artists chatted with friends and fans who had come to see their new work. I did some mingling of my own, and after hearing several times there was a great band playing outside the gallery, I stepped outside and was surprised to see a boy band doing a very convincing cover of Toto’s “Hold the Line.” The band, called BQ Ocean Blu, is made up of three brothers and their keyboardist friend. While the lead singer looked like he was maybe 16, the other members didn’t look a day over 12. Rock on, young ones. From the lawn of the Cider Gallery, it was a short walk east over to the Rural Pearl studio, on Delaware Street, where one of my favorite local artists, Angie Pickman, displays her intricately detailed works of cut paper art that feature flowers, birds and other
he great tragedy is that they’re removing art completely, not because they’re putting more science in, but because they can’t afford the art teachers or because somebody thinks it’s not useful. An enlightened society has all of this going on within it. It’s part of what distinguishes what it is to be human from other life forms on Earth that we have culture. - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Ivan Calderon bangs the gong in the 9th street arts district on Final Fridays
animals. Her space was tiny and filled with late-evening light, and I chatted with Angie about her work for a few minutes before wandering next door, where a band was playing to a lively bunch of people gathered in what looked like an office space. The space turned out to be Tallgrass Studios, a local visual communications firm that was celebrating its recent relocation to the Warehouse Arts District. On the far side of the room, I spotted a big spread of food, copious amounts of chilled beer and wine, and a friend I had not seen in years. This is a perfect example of how the best-laid plans can easily go off course on Final Fridays. It also confirms the rumor that free food and booze can indeed be part of the Final Fridays equation. I indulged in this diversion for a bit but soon moved on lest my methodical approach to the evening get waylaid. Back downtown, Massachusetts Street was hopping. Within just a few blocks, there were at least five places I could have stopped to hear live music or take in some art. The Phoenix Gallery, which specializes in local and regional artwork, and always plans something special for Final Fridays, was featuring jewelry artist Britta McKee, of Tobias Designs. They were also serving snacks made by Merchants Pub and Plate, and tea brewed by Mana. I breezed through, took a shot of Kava tea, grabbed some finger food and, as the sun was starting to set, headed to my final stop of the evening, The Percolator Art Space, 912 Rhode Island St., in the alley behind the Lawrence Arts Center. The Percolator was celebrating the opening of it’s the Dimebag Show, an open-call show in which artists purchased a $10 bag of supplies from the neighboring Social Service League Thrift Store and created art with it. The small yellow building was nearly empty when I arrived, but an empty box of wine and a single homemade oatmeal cookie at the bottom of a ceramic cookie jar on the refreshment table were sure signs of an earlier crowd. Perhaps another reason for the emptiness was that a “theater punk” band called Something and the Whatevers was warming up on the Percolator stage in the alley behind the building. I stepped out to survey the scene and noted it was a far cry from the opera performance at the library where I had started the evening. The band, which had a screen with a talking robot playing in the background, was plugged in and extolling the virtues of the deafening guitar solo. The spectators, many of whom held cans of beer, were sitting on hay bales, standing or leaning on trash cans—and loving it. As I headed home, I declared my personal “Lawrence Final Friday Mission Eclecticism” a success. Even better, the opportunity to enjoy the work of another set of Lawrence artists at my own pace is only a month away. p
ROTARY CLUB Community Engagement with a Global Perspective
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS 1917-2017 We’re working to make Lawrence and the world a better place. Join Us! Enjoy the fellowship of business, community, and university leaders while helping provide clean water, nutrition, sanitation, medicine and immunizations, and education to millions of children and adults worldwide. Help promote world understanding and peace through youth and adult exchange programs and scholarships. Support local projects and charities including the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum and new back-to-school shoes for children. The Lawrence Rotary Club.
Mondays - noon to 1:00 p.m. at Maceli's, 1031 New Hampshire Street For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.LawrenceRotaryClub.org facebook.com/LawrenceRotary 69
Borborygmid 8, a large, metal sculpture sits in front of the Lawrence Public Library artist Will Vannerson “A Thousand Miles Away,” at Cordley Elementary School Lawrence-based muralist Dave Loewenstein Mosaic Wall,” by Steve Smith, at the Outdoor Aquatic Center on Kentucky Street
LOCAL ART ENHANCES THE DOWNTOWN EXPERIENCE AND SPARKS TOURISM. by Liz Weslander, photos by Steven Hertzog
If you take the time to look, there is public art around every corner in Lawrence.
At the north end of Massachusetts Street, Lin Emery’s kinetic aluminum sculpture “Flame” stands in front of City Hall, moving with the wind and evoking symbols of the rebirth and vibrancy of Lawrence following Quantrill’s Raid in 1863. On the University of Kansas (KU) campus, the late Elden Tefft’s bronze sculpture of James Naismith sits in front of the new DeBruce Center, greeting people as they head to Allen Fieldhouse. At the iconic downtown Free State Brewery, a colorful mosaic by local artist Lora Jost titled “Nearly Spring” treats patrons with images of the Kaw River and native birds as they head up the restaurant’s stairs. The abundance of public art in Lawrence reflects both the visionary nature of the community and its strong legacy in sculpture, explains Porter Arneill, director of arts and culture for the City of Lawrence. “It’s important to realize and remember that Lawrence has a long history in sculpture,” Arneill says. “The fact that Elden Tefft, who started the International Sculpture Center, was at KU, and that Jim Patti was visionary enough to start the Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition 28 years ago—that’s the egg to the chicken, so to speak.” Indeed, the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission's Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition, a collection of sculptures by local and regional artists throughout the downtown area that changes on a yearly basis, is an integral piece to Lawrence’s reputation as an artsy town. The exhibition has two main components, Arneill explains. The first is professional development for the artists who participate; the second is to enhance the downtown pedestrian experience, which in turn, sparks tourism. “Having art on our sidewalks is one of many things that sends a message to locals and visitors that we are a creative place and fun place,” Arneill says. Another goal of the sculpture exhibition is to showcase the variety of ways artists see the world and to hopefully expand people’s ideas of what is pleasing to look at, says John
Hachmeister, associate professor in the visual art department at KU. For instance, Borborygmid 8, a large, metal sculpture in this year’s exhibition that sits in front of the Lawrence Public Library, takes its name from borborygmi, the medical term for the sounds of our digestive tract. According to artist Will Vannerson, the form is an allusion to the dichotomies of growth/decay and accumulation/erosion, and is meant to reflect a general situation of life in which direct observation fails to determine in which direction these forces are progressing. Hachmeister, who also serves on the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission and worked with Jim Patti to start the annual exhibition, says some of the considerations going into picking sculptures for the exhibition each year include ensuring the pieces are not dangerous in any way to viewers, especially children who tend to want to interact with the art by touching it or seeing if it is climbable. They also look for pieces that are truly engaging but without the potential to offend people on any fundamental level. Still, public opinion on the pieces they pick varies. “People don’t always like what’s down there, but the nice thing is that it is there for one year, and then it’s gone,” Hachmeister says. “Over the years, it has worked out very well.” Another city-sponsored art initiative that puts art into public spaces around town is the Percent for Art resolution, which allows the city to set aside capital improvement funds for art projects in new city construction or major renovations. When projects are approved, the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission implements a methodical selection-panel process to select artists and integrate art into the public realm, Arneill says. Some examples of Percent for Art pieces in Lawrence include “Mosaic Wall,” by Steve Smith, at the entrance of the Outdoor Aquatic Center on Kentucky Street; the “Swimmers” sculpture, by Mark Lemair, outside the Indoor Aquatic Center, on Overland Drive; and the wire “Suspended Sculpture,” by Ardys Ramberg, on the ceiling of the East Lawrence Recreation Center, at 15th and Brook streets.
The “East Lawrence Waltz” mural, on the stadium at Hobbs Park, 11th and Delaware streets Lawrence-based muralist Dave Loewenstein Arneill says it’s quite likely people in Lawrence are encountering public art much more than they realize, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “We are bombarded with so much visual stimulation these days that I think sometimes we take public art for granted,” Arneill says. “But some of the art is not meant to stand out, per se. For so long, the traditional approach to this was ‘plop art,’ where you’d place a piece—typically a sculpture—into a setting where it didn’t relate to the context. But more and more, the pieces are becoming an integrated part of the buildings. They are adding artistic elements that enhance the space.” City-sponsored programs are just one way public art makes its way into the community. For 18 years, the local nonprofit Van Go Inc. has been giving at-risk teens the chance to create public pieces of art through its Benchmark program, where local businesses, nonprofits, schools and individuals commission teens in the program to design a bench using a professional business process. Van Go Executive Director Lynn Greene says before making the benches, the program’s teen artists meet with their clients, create a design, process a full-scale color rendering of the bench, bring it back to the client for feedback, input proposed changes then, finally, have the client sign off on the design. She explains that part of the goal in creating these public works is to give teens who are not accustomed to successful experiences an opportunity to receive public recognition and see themselves as successful and productive members of community. “The fact that these pieces are permanent and public is
found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way... things I had no words for.
- Georgia O’Keeffe
extremely important to these teens, because they will continue to see the bench and show it to their family, friends and possibly their kids,” Greene continues. Many people in the Lawrence community have come to recognize the colorfully painted pieces as Van Go benches, she says. “The benches have become our calling card. They make people feel good about the businesses that have them, and they provide joy and color, as well as functionality. People can actually sit on these benches.” Lawrence-based muralist Dave Loewenstein also believes in creating public art that is meaningful to and reflective of the community where it exists. Loewenstein has created murals throughout the state and both nationally and internationally using a community-based approach where people in the place where the mural is being created take the lead on the content of a mural and also help paint the piece. The “East Lawrence Waltz” mural, on the stadium at Hobbs Park, 11th and Delaware streets, and “A Thousand Miles Away,” at Cordley Elementary School, 1837 Vermont St., are just two local examples of Loewenstein’s community-based murals. Loewenstein says the community-based approach, which was started by political activists in Chicago during the 1950s and 60s, is more than just asking people what kind of mural they want in their community or simply choosing a group of people in a community to help create a mural. “The group of people who come together is always a group that chooses themselves,” Loewenstein says. “We have a big, open meeting, and if people decide they want to participate, they can participate.” The planning of a community-based mural involves several gatherings during which the self-selected group discusses what images and concepts best represent the people and the place where they live. Loewenstein uses what he hears
from the community to design the mural, which the group then helps to paint. “They are not just having an opinion in the process, they are actually accountable to it and responsible for it,” Loewenstein explains. “This can be incredibly empowering, and this can be incredibly challenging, because not everyone agrees about how a place or people should be represented.” Loewenstein favors public art that is driven by the people and the stories of the community because it encourages conversations, reflection and storytelling that are important to identity. “Art is a powerful thing. It can shape the way that we understand a place, a history and a people in ways that can be wonderful,” he says. “It also has the power to change the story of a place. A lot of the new funders of public art understand this, but there are some that specifically want to use art and culture to change the story of the place because maybe they think the story isn’t good enough. These are really sensitive issues.” KU professor Hachmeister agrees that public art, for better or worse, engages communities in a broad fashion, and that artists should always keep this in mind. However, for the time being, Lawrence seems to be getting it right, he says. “When art comes in and surprises a neighborhood, it is not appreciated,” Hachmeister says. “But what we have in Lawrence right now is a win-win in terms of balancing art and the needs of neighborhoods. It creates a vibrancy and uniqueness that draws people to the area and has been good for Lawrence.” p
FREE STATE FESTIVAL Photos by Ann Dean
ART TOUGEAU & BUSKERFEST Photos by Ann Dean
NEWS [MAKERS] PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Good Energy Solutions, Inc. Awarded
“2016 Top 500 North American Solar Company.” Lawrence, Kansas, July 2016 – Good Energy Solutions, Inc., a Lawrence-based solar installer, has been ranked by Solar Power World, the solar industry’s leading business to business publication and source for technology, development and installation among the Top 500 North American Solar Companies. The list is the most recognized annual listing of North America’s top solar contractors working in the utility, commercial and residential markets. Companies are ranked according to influence in the industry in 2015.
“We are really pleased to make the Top 500 list for the second year in a row, and proud to represent the growing solar industry in Kansas,” said President, Kevin Good. “As our business continues to grow, we will keep focusing on providing our customers with the best customer service and the highest quality products on the market.” Additional Awards for Good Energy Solutions, Inc: 2016: Ranked 1st for “Top Solar Contractors in Douglas (County) by SolarReviews. 2015, 2016: “Foundation Award” by Lawrence Business Magazine and Cadre Lawrence. 2015: “Top 500 Solar Contractor in the U.S.” by Solar Power World.
Scott Braden Joins Sunflower Bank as Residential Mortgage Director
Salina, KS, January 19, 2016 – Sunflower Bank welcomes Scott Braden as Residential Mortgage Director. Braden will oversee residential mortgage origination for all Sunflower Bank locations, but will be based and originate loans in the Lawrence, Kansas market. “Scott brings over 33 years experience in banking and financial services and we are proud to welcome him to the Sunflower Bank team,” commented Mollie Carter, President and CEO of Sunflower Bank. “Mortgages are an important part of helping communities grow and thrive. This will be Scott’s focus as he leads our growing mortgage loan area and utilizes his expertise and commitment to make certain our customers and communities achieve their goals.” “The opportunity at Sunflower Bank combines the two aspects of the mortgage business I enjoy most: the opportunity to manage and motivate people, as well as the opportunity to oversee individual mortgage originations through the process,” stated Braden. “Further, Sunflower Bank’s mission to bring out the best in the lives we touch…creating possibility, hits home for me. I am a strong believer in giving back to the community.” Braden serves as the District Chair of the Douglas County / Pelathe District Boy Scouts of America, and he is a member of Leadership Lawrence, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and the Lawrence Board of Realtors.
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Emmzie LLC 457 Hutton Circle Lawrence 66049
Delaney & Loew LLC 732 Massachusetts Street Lawrence 66044
Tradekraft LLC 2905 26th St. Lawrence 66047
Meadowlark Partnership, LLC 901 Easy Street Lawrence 66047
Alcove Development, LLC 3200 Haskell Way Suite 130 Lawrence 66046
Providence Infrastructure Consultants, Inc. 5020 Bob Billings Pkwy Ste D-3 Lawrence 66049
Jim Jewell Video, LLC 1112 Parkside Circle Lawrence 66049
Dreemerz Inc 2604 Whitmore Dr Lawrence 66046
Megan Lilly Hair Design LLC 2525 Ponderosa Drive Lawrence 66046
Little Prairie Community Garden Foundation 1617 Second St Lawrence 66044
Ecogene LLC 1146 E 2100 Road Eudora 66025
Superior Property Management, LLC 412 Nancy Ct. Lawrence 66049
Courtenay Dehoff Productions LLC 2106 Ohio St. Lawrence 66046
Mental Floss Marketing LLC Rr 793, East 1055 Road Baldwin 66006 Purcell And Associates, LLC 5407 Plymouth Dr. Lawrence 66049
Rocket Kansas, LLC 842 Louisiana Street Lawrence 66044 Torrey Capital Fund, Lp 3000 W 30th Ct Lawrence 66047
Cowgirl’s Train Set LLC 1806 Vermont St Lawrence 66044
Anno Agency Inc. 1918 E 23rd St Suite A Lawrence 66046
Koha-Us, Inc. 4317 W. 6th Street Lawrence 66049
Rodwerks LLC 1010 Peach Street Eudora 66025
Perusa LLC 996 E 1400 Rd Lawrence 66046
Alcove Property Management, LLC 3200 Haskell Way Suite 130 Lawrence 66046 Feldman Enterprises LLC 926 Ames Baldwin City 66006 Gtg, L.C. 1931 Vermont Street Lawrence 66046 Janus Renovations, LLC 842 Louisiana Street Lawrence 66044
Lawless Planning & Design Research, LLC 962 N. 640 Road Baldwin City 66006 Market Timing $Ervice, L.L.C. 2519 Jasy Dr. Lawrence 66046 Community Tech Support LLC 1012 Emery Road Apt E6 Lawrence 66044 O Squared, LLC 1245 W Campus Road Lawrence 66044 Stoneridge Group, LLC 1826 Indiana Lawrence 66044 Apple Jacks Smoke Shack, LLC 638 Illinois Lawrence 66044 Eaj Enterprises LLC 5005 Keystone Ct Lawrence 66047
NEW DOUGLAS COUNTY BUSINESSES [JULY to AUG 2016] Travis Washington Basketball LLC 550 Stoneridge Drive D 304 Lawrence 66049
Emantha Jean LLC 100 Tumbleweed Dr Lawrence 66049
Little Knife Holdings Kansas, Inc. 3200 Haskell Lane Suite 130 Lawrence 66046
Radical Manufacturing Group, Inc. 1035 E 23rd St Lawrence 66046
Honoring Outstanding Lawrence Business Leaders
The 2016 Hall of Fame Class
A To Z Lc 1548 E 23rd Street Lawrence 66046 Eagles Roam, Inc. 412 Vine Drive Lawrence 66049 Eli James Investments, Inc. 1404 Legends Court Lawrence 66049 Keyser Construction LLC 2300 W 6th Street Lawrence 66049 Max Tactical LLC 3100 W 23rd Terrace Lawrence 66047 Jets Booster Club 725 N 2nd Street Lawrence 66044
Ross and Marianna Beach Douglas County Bank
Roots Salon, LLC 423 N 1600 Road Lawrence 66049 Triad Ventures, LLC 900 Massachusetts Street Suite 500 Lawrence 66044 Sharon Nottingham LLC 2112 E 25th Pl Lawrence 66046
P1 Group, Inc.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Kansas Union Ballroom Tickets are $175 each or $1,200 per table of 8
To order tickets go to: www.kansasja.org and click on “Special Events” or call 785-841-8245
Hazel And Jane Homespun LLC 1780 N 375th Road Baldwin City 66006 Indulgent Life Photography LLC 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence 66049 1103 Mass, LLC 822 1/2 Massachusetts Lawrence 66044 Awebjective Inc. 510 Utah Street Lawrence 66046 Pure Cleaning Solutions, LLC 108 Dearborn Baldwin City 66006 Stonehouse Construction LLC 1327 New Hampshire Street Lawrence 66044
For more information please contact Debbie Harman email@example.com
Cb Real Properties, LLC 1642 Bobwhite Drive Lawrence 66047
2016 Hall of Fame Sponsors
Balls Maintenance LLC 2622 Missouri Street Lawrence 66044 Jwm Consultants, LLC 11 E 1100 Road Baldwin City 66006 Line & Ornament LLC 4413 W 25th Pl Lawrence 66047 Berger Holdings, LLC 4000 W 6th Suite B-252
Csb Enterprises LLC 2622 Missouri Lawrence 66046
Organmusicdownloads. Com LLC 2320 Free State Lane Lawrence 66047 Retter Investments, LLC 1578 N 962 Road Lawrence 66046 D-Dubs Bar & Grill LLC 10 W 9th St Eudora 66025 Regain Wellness Management, LLC 1201 Wakarusa Suite A3 Lawrence 66049 The Hickories, LLC 495 E 1600 Rd. Baldwin City 66006 The Club Membership LLC 1113 E 1368 Rd Lawrence 66046 A To Z Transport, Inc, 1548 E 23rd Street Lawrence 66046 Terri’s Premium Goat Milk Soaps 853 Coving Drive Lawrence 66049 Chris Huston Homes, LLC 842 Louisiana Street Lawrence 66044 Red Rock Properties, LLC 3008 Yellowstone Drive Lawrence 66047 The Roark Group, LLC 3504 Westridge Dr Lawrence 66049 Open Not Closed Inc 2207 Barker Ave Lawrence 66046 Triton Press LLC 631 Mississippi Street Lawrence 66044 Champion Fitness, LLC 2040 W 31st St Suite G, 215 Lawrence 66046 Mycroft Ai Inc 925 Iowa Suite R Suite 900 Lawrence 66044 Ajs Custom Embroidery, LLC 3101 Rimrock Drive Lawrence 66047 Elegant Home Remodeling, L.L.C. 1613 16th Ct. Eudora 66025 Luminous Chroma LLC 1209 Peach St Eudora 66025 Tidd Financial Inc 974 E 1338 Road Lawrence 66046 A&W Southern Entertainment Co. 2641 Louisiana Lawrence 66046
Wolf Holdings LLC 1705 Haskell Ave Suite A Lawrence 66044 Julie Sailors LLC 2328 Brett Drive Lawrence 66049 Kansas Spray Foam Insulation LLC 3514 Clinton Parkway Suite A-235 Lawrence 66047 Kevin Wingert Services Inc. 622 E 1000 Rd Baldwin City 66006 Watson Barber Shop LLC 925 Iowa Street Suite K Lawrence 66049 The Whole Fish, LLC 3311 Clinton Parkway Court Lawrence 66047 American Association Of Apprenticeship And Training Rr 3864, Hill Song Circle Lawrence 66049 Jg Farm, LLC 946 Missouri Lawrence 66044 Access Marketing, LLC 18360 Northwind Drive Lawrence 66044 Phillips Family Transportation LLC 815 Pine St. Eudora 66025 Kansas Truck And Trailer LLC 429 N Iowa Lawrence 66044 Roundtown, LLC 1203 Iowa Street Lawrence 66044 Alvamar Apartments, L.C. 643 Massachusetts Suite 300 Lawrence 66044 Townsend Construction, LLC 318 Wisconsin Lawrence 66044 Under The Sea, LLC 601 Kasold Dr D102 Lawrence 66049 1627 New Hampshire L.L.C. 1545 Rhode Island Lawrence 66044 Harwood Chiropractic LLC 3320 Clinton Parkway Ct Ste 110 Lawrence 66047 Wood Home Services, L.L.C. 648 Schwarz Rd Lawrence 66049 Np Solutions LLC 613 E 13th Street Eudora 66025 Hank Darnell Home Inspections, LLC 1214 Long Creek Ct Baldwin City 66006 Keller Consulting LLC 1701 Tennessee Street Lawrence 66044 Rogue One, LLC 1116 Sawhill Dr. Lawrence 66049
WH OSE D ESK? Be the first to correctly guess which local business figure works behind this desk. Winner receives a $50 gift card to 23rd Street Brewery. facebook.com/lawrencebusinessmagazine
Published on Sep 16, 2016
Lawrence Business Magazine is a quarterly publication focusing on local businesses in Lawrence & Douglas County, Kansas, making a positive i...