Archive for Friday, April 12, 1996


April 12, 1996


An annual festival showcases local artists and downtown Lawrence.

When visitors come to Lawrence, checking out the city's renowned arts scene is usually at the top of their sightseeing list.

Along with the Lied Center, art galleries and shows, the city's annual special spring event draws visitors looking for the best local artists have to offer. Every year for more than three decades, Lawrence has hosted Art in the Park, an outdoor art show and sale.

On May 5, Lawrence's South Park will host the 35th Annual Art in the Park. Last year's event featured the works of more than 80 area artists and attracted more than 9,000 people. In 1994, about 10,000 people attended.

And this year should be even better, said John Wysocki, president of the Lawrence Art Guild, which sponsors the event. Wysocki said he expects as many or more exhibitors and visitors based on promotion of the event.

Besides helping the guild to raise funds and artists to sell their work, Art in the Park is a great way to show out-of-towners what makes Lawrence a great city, Wysocki said.

"Lawrence is highly regarded for its arts activities and artists," Wysocki said. Art in the Park, he added, "is a showcase of the talent that exists in the area."

Wysocki said he hopes the event will attract out-of-town visitors through its listing in the Convention and Visitors Bureau calendar of local events.

Should rain occur, Wysocki said, Art in the Park would be rescheduled for May 12, which is Mother's Day.

Vicki Vormehr, a local artist who has been showing at Art in the Park since 1979, said she does so because it helps her in selling her work throughout the year.

Vormehr, who specializes in Kansas University and Kansas State University themes, said she has 10 new paintings ready that she will unveil at the show.

Art in the Park is helpful to artists because it gets their names out before the public, she said. She hands out between 50 and 100 business cards each year.

Customers then know to seek her out at her gallery in the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets.

Vormehr said she generally only sells two to three original paintings at the show, but sells many prints.

The lure of the annual arts show in the park brings many people to the city's downtown during the day, said Lisa Blair, administrator for Downtown Lawrence Inc.

Blair said downtown restaurants generally see an increase in sales that day. And many people who are strolling through downtown do some window shopping and return later to make purchases.

Downtown merchants support the show because of the ambience it brings to the city's downtown, she said.

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