The Arts Council Takes Pride in Wichita Arts

By Nicole C. Dibben

When you think of what makes Wichita so great to live in, work in and thrive in, an element that comes to my mind are the people, who are so passionate about the arts, who attend the performances, an Art Exhibition opening or purchase a piece of art during a Final Friday. Yes, there is much to take pride in when it comes to the Wichita arts. The Arts Council works with The City of Wichita to strengthen art venues and promote cultural arts within the community. The City of Wichita, along with the Arts Council, has been dedicated to the economic development and vitality of the arts for over 11 years in Wichita and continues to support and celebrate local artist, and art organizations.

The Arts Council not only honors the art organizations and artists, but our leaders in the City Council, our City Manager and our Mayor for making art happen. Each of our leaders helps make art happen when they speak up for the arts during committee meetings, in public, providing the necessary financial dollars that keep our City progressing towards an innovative and vibrant future and for taking pride in the Wichita arts. The City of Wichita has granted funding to local arts organizations to recognize, preserve and celebrate Wichita’s vibrant arts and cultural heritage — a heritage that has a tremendous impact on all residents’ quality of life.

For 2018, the City has awarded 24 organizations and individuals artists’ operational support that totaled more than 3.2 million. This year the Arts Council is proud to thank our City leaders for making art happen through their financial support and through their vision in creating a better and economically thriving City through the arts. We join together with our City Leaders and congratulate the art organizations and artists who have won grant awards and look forward to the art that will be presented to our community in 2018.

The City offered three different grant opportunities that are awarded through a competitive

Cultural Funding Grants that provide operational support for qualifying 501(c)(3) non-profit
arts and cultural organizations that significantly serve Wichita citizens; Organizations chosen for
funding through the Cultural Funding grant for 2018 include: American Guild of Organists, Ballet Wichita, Chamber Music at the Barn, Fisch Bowl, Inc., Friends of Great Plains Nature Center, Griot’s Storytelling Institute, Music Theatre for Young People, Opera Kansas, Tallgrass Film Association, Wichita Chamber Chorale, Arts Partners, Inc., The Kansas African American Museum, Wichita Public Library Foundation, Exploration Place, Music Theatre Wichita, Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ulrich Museum, Wichita Children’s Theatre, and Wichita Symphony Society.

Developing Arts Grants that provide technical assistance for capacity building to arts and cultural organizations with annual operating budgets under $50,000; chosen agencies for funding for 2018 include: Griot’s Storytelling Institute, and Opera Kansas.

Artist Access Grants that provide professional development support for individual artists. Artists awarded funding for 2018 include: Christopher Gulick, Jennifer Larsen, and Mike Westemeir.

“Cultural Institutions” are arts and cultural organizations, which have operations and activities in a facility that is owned and operated by the City of Wichita. Organizations which quality as “Cultural Institutions” include: Arts Council, CityArts, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita Art Museum, Wichita Historical Museum, Kansas Aviation Museum, and Museum of World Treasures.

The Arts Council congratulates each of these organizations for their hard work and exceptional artistry. As we look forward to supporting the Wichita arts in 2018 by attending musical productions, concerts, exhibitions, taking an art class or purchasing a unique piece of art, always remember to take pride in the Wichita arts, which is what makes Wichita thrive.

Applications for the 2019 funding cycle can be found at, or by contacting Bernadette Bradshaw at (316) 303-8663 or by email.

Arts Council’s Mission Statement: To advance and promote arts and cultural in the Wichita
community through advocacy, leadership, education and collaboration.

Live Sustain Creative ICT at Harvester Arts

The Arts Council is a proud sponsor of Live Sustain Creative ICT at Harvester Arts. This two-day event will be held on Friday, November 17th and Saturday, November 18th. Have your voice heard while discussing how you live and sustain a creative life, what impact this has on our community, and what we can do to make our community strong. Visiting artists and contributors to Sharon Louden’s book, The Artist As Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, will act as catalysts to the local community during conversations about the role artists play in community.

Friday, November 17th
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Event Kickoff (Free & Open to the Public)
The event kicks off with a panel discussion, community conversation, and a book launch. Local and visiting artists from across the country will discuss how artists live, thrive, and tackle challenges. All visiting artists are contributors to Sharon Louden’s book The Artist As Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life. Sharon Louden is an artist and author, as well as consultant with Creative Capital and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Her book encompasses a collection of essays from artists and art organizations across the country.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.

Saturday, November 18th
Choose a morning workshop, and get your tickets via Eventbrite. The afternoon session and lunch are included.

10:00 AM: Challenges for Creative Organizations with Courtney Fink of Common Field, Chloe Bass, Jayme McLellan of Civilian Art Projects
Drawing from the visiting artists’ as organizers in their own communities, this workshop will contract their experiences with those of creative organizers in Wichita. Together, they will identify strengths and challenges of this type of work.

10:00 AM: Living a Creative Life with Sharon Louden and Alison Wong
Drawing from the visiting artists’ experience sustaining creative lives in their own communities, this workshop will contrast their experiences with those of artists in Wichita. Together, they will identify strengths and challenges of this type of lifestyle.

12:00 PM: Lunch at Harvester Arts (provided)

12:30 PM: Let’s Act
Workshop participants will come together, lead by local organizers and artists to compile strengths and challenges for organizations and individual artists in Wichita. Participants will outline an action plan to address challenges.

Arts Council Juried Exhibition On View at CityArts

CityArts will host the opening of the Arts Council Juried Exhibition from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 in the CityArts Main Gallery, 334 N. Mead, in Old Town Square. The exhibition will be on view through Nov. 9. Admission is free to view the galleries at CityArts during regular business hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. MondayThursday9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

The Arts Council Juried Exhibition is an annual visual art exhibition sponsored by The Arts Council and hosted by CityArts. Artists ages 18 and older from Kansas are invited to submit their work for consideration into the exhibition. Guest artists anonymously select pieces to be in the exhibition.

This year, 111 artists submitted 475 pieces of art for consideration. This year’s jurors, Kristen Beal and Kate Van Steenhuyse, co-owners of Harvester Arts, selected 66 pieces of artwork by 44 artists for the exhibition.

For more information, visit

Transforming the Pigeon Poop Underpass into the Coolest Gallery in Downtown

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Arts Council Open Forum Discussions

Please join the Arts Council for Open Forum discussions over the following weeks.

Artist Access Grant Application and Process
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Century II, 225 W. Douglas, Room 101B
RSVP and share the invitation with other artists

Developing Arts Grant Application and Process
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Century II, 225 W. Douglas, Room 101B
RSVP and share the link

Cultural Funding Grant Application Process
Monday, October 2, 2017, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Century II, 225 W. Douglas, Room 101B

RSVP and share the link

If you have any questions, feel free to call or email Bernadette Bradshaw, or call 316-303-8663. We hope to see you there!

2017-2018 Sculpture WalkAbout

The Arts Council is proud to announce the kickoff of the 9th Annual Sculpture WalkAbout! Inspired by past Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and local arts supported Dora Timmerman-Bayer, the Sculpture WalkAbout is a yearlong exhibition that showcases the work of the region’s premier three-dimensional arts. The Sculpture WalkAbout is overseen by the Arts Council WalkAbout committee in conjunction with the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, and with the generous support from private sponsors.

Ed Langston
Ed Langston was born in Pampas, Texas in 1947, moving to Wichita Kansas at age 5. He attended Wichita state University and majored in graphic design and then sculpture. Bernie’s Bird was inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, and is a very stylized, conceptual version of a bird from one angle, and a flame from the opposite angle. It’s handcrafted from stainless steel, and uses Kevlar to hold the pieces together in place of the usual technique of welding the pieces together. The individual pieces of the work are cutout from a computer-controlled waterjet cutter. Langston has two installments on display.

Ed Langston, Bernie’s Bird. Stainless Steel & Kevlar, 4’ H x 3’W x 3’D.

Sam Shoffner
Sam Shoffner has been making and welding things for people since the ‘60s. He has designed and produced tools, handicap ramps and accessories, mountings and brackets, trailers, parade floats and so much more. Shoffner says his involvement with Art Aid led him to make several pieces for other fundraising projects and things for people in need to use. Shoffner’s steel installment, “Titan II” is on display Downtown.

Sam Shoffner, Titan II. Steel Parking Light Post, 20’H x 18’W x 18”D.

Marc Durfee
Marc Durfee, Art Director at the Derby Recreation Commission, was born in California, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Ceramics from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Wichita State University. Durfee is a vintage luggage collector and enthusiast, who has always been interested in travel and the containment of history. He wonders about the people, places, and thing the luggage has seen and/or experienced. Durfee has three installments on display.

Marc Durfee, Bike-elisk. Welded Steel, 12’H x 3’W x 3’D.

Conrad Snider
Conrad Snider has worked toward developing an understanding of clay as a material. It’s his desire to limit the visual residue of his hand, allowing the clay to have a dominant voice. The scale of his work forces humans to look at how they relate to the world around them, and to question their sense of entitlement. When an object is the size of a human or larger, Snider says it requires the viewer to walk around it and take on the role as a temporary equal. Snider has two sculptures on display in Downtown Wichita, as well as public commissions for Wichita, Newton, Salina, Hesston, and Garnett.

Conrad Snider, Sunrise Bottle. Clay, 5’H x 3’W x 3’D.

Rollin Karg
Rollin Karg said it’s not easy to stick his head into a hot furnace and burn the hair off of his forehead, but it’s in his nature to take on challenges like this. He loves the feeling of accomplishment when he works hard on a piece, and it comes out looking right. For a truly one-of-a-kind piece, he’s created metal bases to house and enhance the glass that creates a unique and architectural feel. He has been working with glass for over 50 years, and says he’s still learning. Karg works out of Kechi, Kansas, and has received more than 40 awards for his work. Karg has four pieces on display.

Rollin Karg, Faith’s Flight. Stainless Steel & Glass, 12’9”H X 43”W x 52”D.

Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson is Wichita born and raised. He started a career
in autocollision repair in 1967, and started Auto Body Complex
in 1979, which still runs today. He found a void when things
began to level off with his business, so he turned to art and the
creation of sculpture. He believes creating and repairing are parallel with very different outcomes. Johnson has two pieces on display at the WalkAbout, but you can also catch his work around Wichita. The outdoor piece that he’s most fond of is “Mosquito Mohawk,” the giant dragonfly at Botanica’s Children’s Garden.

Greg Johnson, Chomamma. Steel, 6’H x 3’W x 3’D.

Check out more information, including a full list of sculptures and a map to navigate the Sculpture WalkAbout this Final Friday!

2017-2018 Arts Council Membership Campaign

Become an Arts Council Member & Take Pride in YOUR Local Arts! 

Join at the $250 level and your membership benefits include tickets to the Annual Art Awards, the first Thursday in November. View the membership levels below to learn more.

Be a SUPER HERO – $750

  • Membership offers emailed throughout the year (e.g. discount on CityArts Gifts in the Gallery, Xtravaganza tickets, etc.)
  • Annual Art Awards Dinner Tickets (4)
  • Recognition in Annual Art Awards Program
  • City Arts Digital Media Recognition
  • Arts Council Digital Media Recognition
  • “I Make Art Happen” (IMAH) Coffee Mug
  • IMAH Window Cling (or Sticker)

Learn more and become an Arts Council SUPER HERO

Be a HERO – $ 500

  • Annual Art Awards Dinner Tickets (4)
  • City Arts Digital Media Recognition
  • Arts Council Digital Media Recognition
  • IMAH Coffee Mug
  • IMAH Window Cling (or Sticker)

Learn more and become an Arts Council HERO

Be a CHAMPION – $250

  • Annual Art Awards Dinner Tickets (4)
  • Arts Council Digital Media Recognition
  • IMAH Coffee Mug
  • IMAH Window Cling (or Sticker)

Learn more and become an Arts Council CHAMPION

Be a PARTNER – $100 

  • Arts Council Digital Media Recognition
  • IMAH Coffee Mug
  • IMAH Window Cling (or Sticker)

Learn more and become an Arts Council PARTNER


  • IMAH Window Cling (or Sticker)

Learn more and become an Arts Council EVERYDAY HERO

For additional information on higher giving levels and details on event partnership, please contact Laura Hadley at (316) 303-8654. We are happy to work with individuals or businesses to customize membership benefits.

Join us at the 48th annual Art Awards on Nov. 2

Celebrate the one-of-a-kind arts and culture that make the Wichita region memorable.

Nine Wichita area individuals, cultural organizations and businesses will be recognized for their work to further the growth and development of arts in the Wichita area during the 48th annual Art Awards dinner, held by the Arts Council and sponsored by Westar Energy, Culinary Catering, and the City of Wichita. The event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 at Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center. A complete list of award winners is included below.

The festivities will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m.; dinner and a cash bar will follow. The awards ceremony will commence at 6:30 p.m. with performances by local musicians and artists throughout the evening.

When: November 2, 2017
Where: Century II Convention Hall, 225 W. Douglas

5:30 PM: Doors Open
6:00 PM: Dinner begins
6:30 PM: Awards program
8:30 PM: Event Concludes

Tickets are $60 per person or $750 for a reserved table of 10 (includes complimentary wine). Tickets are on sale at or at the WichitaTIX box office in the Concert Hall entrance of Century II.

This Year’s Honorees:
Gordan W. Evans Award: Dr. Dennis & Ann Ross
Arts Organization: Northeast Area Strings Academy of Wichita (NASAW)
Arts Advocate – Individual: Colby Sandlian
Burton Pell Award: Dr. Jay Decker
Individual Artist: Rob Simon
Special Project: The Miro Project, Ulrich Museum
Arts Educator: Mary Sue Foster
Arts Advocate Group or Business: Trish Higgins
Youth Recognition: Zoe Corrigan
Chris Cherches Award: Eisenhower Airport Project, City of Wichita Airport Authority

View a list of award descriptions below.

History of the Art Awards
The Wichita/Sedgwick County Arts and Humanities Council established the Annual Arts Council Awards in 1969 to recognize and honor those businesses, foundations and individuals who have displayed consistent and exemplary support of the arts and humanities in Wichita/Sedgwick County. These awards focus attention on the importance of the arts as they relate to the quality of life in Wichita/Sedgwick County and honor those who have made major creative achievements or significant contributions to cultural growth or development.

Award Categories

  • Gordon W. Evans Award – Given to a patron demonstrating outstanding leadership and special support for the arts.
  • Arts Organization – Given to a public, not-for-profit organization that presents or provides arts opportunities to the Wichita community and region.
  • Special Project – Given to a neighborhood, business, corporation or group that has provided support for a single event or project.
  • Arts Educator – Given to an individual who has devoted a career to teaching the arts in an educational environment.
  • Arts Advocate/Individual – Given to an individual or couple dedicated to furthering the cause of an art form or the arts in general through promotional, volunteer, administrative, legislative or professional efforts.
  • Arts Advocate/Group or Business– An organization or business dedicated to furthering the cause of an art form or the arts in general through promotional, volunteer, administrative, legislative or professional efforts.
  • Individual Artist – Given to an artist actively working in such categories as Choreography, Music Composition, Film/Video, Theatre, Interdisciplinary/ Performance Art, Two-Dimensional Visual Art and/or Three-Dimensional Visual Art, who has shown outstanding achievement.
  • Youth Recognition Award – Given to a high school and/or middle school student who has shown outstanding achievement and development in the arts.
  • Burton Pell Award – A new award created in memory of Mr. Pell a long time member and past president of the Arts Council. It will be given to an outstanding individual in music.

Past Art Award Winners

Arts Save Cities

The Arts Council believes that Arts Save Cities. We also believe: 

In Advocating for Public Art & Aesthetics
As one of the nation’s 50 largest cities, The Arts Council advocates for the importance of developing a public art program that ensures art and artists are as a part of the City’s public amenities design plans as the team of architects and engineers to enhance quality of life experiences throughout our city.

In Quality of Life Experiences for all Wichita Citizens
Quality of Life must incorporate the arts, beyond merely their aesthetic functions, in order to create a vibrant, inclusive and diverse community that fosters civic pride and participation, stimulates the economy, attracts tourists, revitalizes neighborhoods and addresses social problems. The arts must exist throughout civic structure – from youth programs and crime prevention to job training and race relations. The arts cross all quality of life boundaries to lift our community to a place of well-being for all citizens.

In Elected Offcials who Champion Arts and Culture in Wichita
The Arts Council will continue to be supportive of elected officials who foster the link between economic development and a thriving arts and cultural community. We will continue to identify appropriate times to speak at Council meetings in order to offer our recommendations and fulfill our responsibility documented in the current City of Wichita Cultural Plan to be the focal point on arts and cultural issues.

In Partnerships…

We offer our Arts Organization and Artist membership as an easy way to form partnerships and provide a united front – bringing arts/quality of life awareness and projects to everyone in our community.

…and Advocating for our Partners

As an Arts Organization or Artist member, be prepared to join a dedicated, passionate group of members who advocate for local arts organizations and artists and support special artist projects and events.

Learn more about Arts Council memberships and become a member today!

Sculpture WalkAbout

The inspiration for Wichita’s Sculpture WalkAbout can be attributed to past Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and local arts supporter Dora Timmerman-Bayer. It is a yearlong sculpture exhibition of the region’s premier three-dimensional artists. The Arts Council’s WalkAbout committee, in cooperation with the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, oversees the project with support from private sponsors.

Sponsors (2016 – 2017)

Fidelity Charities
Dr. Alan & Sharon Fearey
Project Beauty
TCK – The Trust Company of Kansas
Arts Council
City of Wichita
Sedgwick County

2016-2017 Pocket Book

Prairie Vistas Gallery

Feature: Prairie Vistas Gallery

John Morrison has lived in Wichita for more than 30 years, and has long admired its landscape. In the early 2000’s, Morrison started photographing the Kansas landscape. “Contrary to the opinion of some, the Kansas landscape is extremely varied, though it does not shout for attention,” he says.  In 2005 he opened Prairie Vistas Gallery to show off his work.

Prairie Vistas Gallery is located in a converted warehouse in Old Town. At any time, you’ll find 30-40 framed photos, dozens of unframed photos, and several portfolios. New pieces cycle into the gallery every month or so.

Morrison photographs primarily in panorama. He explains the process on his website:

“Each of my landscape panoramas is a composite of many overlapping exposures. With the camera mounted on a tripod, I manually set focus and exposure and use a cable release and mirror lock-up for the sharpest image possible. I then take seven to twelve vertical-format exposures that cover the scene, each exposure overlapping its neighbor by about one-third. Once the resulting individual files are “stitched” together on a computer, the resulting image file is almost identical to one produced by the traditional method of scanning a large-format transparency. ”

Prairie Vistas Gallery is located at 151 N. Rock Island, Suite D. It’s open Monday-Friday 9-6, and by appointment on evenings and weekends. To learn more about Prairie Vistas Gallery and John Morrison, visit


Wichita Symphony Orchestra

Feature: Wichita Symphony Orchestra

During WWII there was a nationwide call to create symphony orchestras in cities and regional hubs across the US to bring cheer to the communities, and ultimately their returning troops. Prominent musicians and WSU partners in the Wichita Community met and founded the Wichita Symphony Orchestra in 1944.

The Wichita Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest and most active arts organizations in Kansas. Conducted by Maestro Daniel Hege, the orchestra’s mission has been to enrich, educate, and entertain diverse audiences of all ages in our region through performances of orchestral music, thereby enhancing the vibrancy and vitality of Wichita.

The Wichita Symphony Orchestra calls their audience “culturally aware, musically curious.” They have eight classics weekend performances for those interested in hearing Classical greats, three Pops concerts for those who want to hear their favorite popular music with the power of a full Symphony Orchestra, two family concerts for those who want to introduce their children to the Symphony, and two free community concerts for the people of Wichita to join us in a celebration of music.

The Wichita Symphony Orchestra employs 90 of Wichita’s finest musicians and make music together for the Wichita Community. There is nothing more special than that.

Learn more about the Symphony at

Century II Concert Hall
225 W. Douglas Ave. Suite 207
Wichita, KS 67202
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm (Closed Fridays during the summer)