A new director for the Lied Center of Kansas is expected to be named soon. Three people were invited to the Kansas University campus to be interviewed for the job, and KU officials are likely to make an announcement later this month.
The Lied Center serves as one of the university's major "front doors" in that events at the Lied provide a pleasant, enjoyable experience that causes visitors to return to the campus with increased frequency. Through these visits, they learn more about the school and hopefully become supportive in any number of ways.
Jackie Davis served as director of the Lied Center from the time the center opened its doors in 1993. She resigned last summer to accept a job as director of the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. This was a blow to the Lied Center, but Fred Pawlicki stepped in as interim director and has been ably assisted by Karen Christilles, interim associate director. Together they have done a fine job. Attendance totals, as well as revenue, are up this year, and Pawlicki and Christilles deserve congratulations for their superior work and dedication to the Lied.
Now, however, a new director is about to be named and it is hoped those on the selection committee have set their sights high. This is not the place for an average or mediocre individual. KU and the Lied Center deserve the best. So does Christina Hixson, who provided the initial funds to make the Lied Center possible and has continued to provide funding to help the Lied attract many of the world's finest orchestras, dancers, operas, Broadway shows and other entertainment.
The Davis-Hixson relationship was excellent, and it is essential that Davis' successor enjoy a similar professional association with Hixson. Hixson plays a critical role in the continued success of the center, and it is imperative for appropriate KU officials to make sure she has a voice in the selection process.
Davis and Pawlicki have done a first-class job in directing the fortunes of the Lied Center. It is hoped, in fact it is essential, that the new director measure up to the efforts, respect and knowledge that Davis and Pawlicki brought to the Lied, the university and the tens of thousands of people of all ages who have enjoyed their visits to the Lied Center.
This is a front door that deserves the best possible management and the continued, enthusiastic support of Christina Hixson.