The community's art events showcase the talents of local artists.
In his book, ``The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America,'' John Villani ranks Lawrence No. 15. And it's no wonder. The city offers several art events each year.
Lawrence residents and Kansas University students can take in the outdoor sculptures scattered throughout town, tour one of the galleries or take part in one of the following annual art events.
The fourth annual Lawrence ArtWalk, a self-guided tour of artists' studios and workshops, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 24 and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 25.
John Wysocki, an active member of the art community, believes this event offers the general public an added benefit.
``A lot of the artists are in the studios where they create their work. It's so much more of a personal thing to see them and talk to them in their environment,'' Wysocki said.
The event usually spotlights the work of 20 to 30 artists, but the group of artists has been slightly different each year.
Besides meeting the artists and enjoying their work, the event also gives the general public an opportunity to buy local art. Wysocki said there will be art available in everyone's price range.
Art in the Park
As the end of the school year winds down, students can look forward to Art in the Park, the biggest event for the Lawrence Art Guild.
The event, typically the first Sunday in May, brings together 70 to 100 artists, who display works in a wide range of media.
``The Guild sees this particular event as its main fund-raiser,'' Wysocki said. ``We use the money to put on our programs and support other projects.''
Wysocki said some people estimate that 10,000 people attend the event while others say 15,000.
``It's a good day out for families,'' he said. ``There are games, food, and music. It's our premiere art event in terms of turnout.''
A group of women put the large event together each year, and Wysocki said they cannot be thanked enough for their efforts.
``Art in the Park is a great opportunity to see work by many talented local artists and to buy local art at very good prices,'' he said. ``Of course, the hope is that anyone who sees art for the first time will appreciate the beauty and understand that certain art can enrich their lives.''
Harvest of Arts
The Harvest of Arts celebration has called on the talents of more than 400 artists in the past. Artists, poets, dancers, musicians, filmmakers and others can participate in any way they choose.
Ardys Ramberg, the founder of the celebration, intended it to be a grass-roots movement. In that light, this year's event will stray away from the hassles of the massive planning of past years, with artists joining in if they feel like it.
Anyone interested in participating may contact Mark von Schlemmer before Sept. 1. He will be making a poster of events to distribute in the community. Ramberg says if you miss the deadline, feel free to make your own sign.
von Schlemmer will be working on the annual film festival, and other community artists have committed themselves to the project. Ramberg said KU students should join in and participate in their own ways.
``We are an arts community,'' Ramberg said. ``The community should know who is here and what we do. We want to see our town in the fullness of its beautiful creativity.''
Wysocki, who in the past has coordinated the event, said some events, like the film festival, have stayed constant through the past seven years, but others come and go.
The Holiday Art Fair, held the first week in December, shines the spotlight on local and student artists, said Sharon Faulkner, director for the Lawrence Riverfront Gallery, suite 206, Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets.
Faulkner said the gallery strives to include students as much as possible.
``We are really reaching out to try to have a place for students to hang out and show their art,'' Faulkner said.
Checking out the gallery is one way students can have the opportunity to meet local artists, see some professional work and interact with the community art scene.
Budding artists and students can also take advantage of the mentorship program. Being paired up with professionals teaches the students things they did not learn in art school.
``We are a resource center for artists to come get help on their way to becoming a professional,'' Faulkner said. ``We have 50 artists signed up to be mentors.''