The announced addition to the Lied Center of Kansas is exciting news for Lawrence and Kansas University.
Plans to expand the Lied Center of Kansas to include a new 800-seat auditorium and other amenities is exciting news. The additions will enhance the center's ability to serve as host for many different kinds of events and audiences.
The expansion will be made possible, in large part, by a $7.5 million challenge grant from the Lied Foundation of Las Vegas. To encourage local officials to move quickly, the donor will give $7.5 million for the project if that amount is matched by other donations by June 30. If the match isn't achieved by then, the grant will drop to $5 million. Obviously, this is a time for arts patrons to step up to the challenge. A generous $1 million pledge already has been made by Ross and Marianna Kistler Beach of Lawrence.
Lawrence and Kansas University owe a huge debt to the Lied Foundation and its lone trustee, Christina Hixson. The foundation donated $13 million for construction of the center and for the Lied Performance Fund, which ensures performances are available to people of all ages and backgrounds, and has also been generous in fiscal support of the KU Medical Center.
The prospect of enlarging and adding facilities at the Lied Center and strengthening its mission should be an attractive idea for many KU and arts supporters. Hopefully, they will step forward to match the challenge grant and meet the June 30 deadline.