State arts board shapes all-ages strategy

Attempting to bridge the generational gap in interest in the arts is one goal of the proposed new strategy for the Kansas Arts Commission.

“As we are dealing with an aging population, we ask: How do we keep the old and the young together?” said Llewellyn Crain, executive director of the commission.

Crain spoke Tuesday afternoon to about 30 people from Lawrence and northeastern Kansas at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Those in attendance provided input on a draft of the commission’s strategic plan that would help steer the organization’s priorities for the next 18 months if approved.

The commission operates on about a $2.3 million budget, which includes funding for Kansas communities in the form of grants and services to help support and develop the arts.

Major goals of the proposed strategic plan include working with communities, increasing support for the arts, helping nurture arts education experiences that span different generations and cultures, and promoting Kansas artists.

Each goal contains specific action plans and programs. The commission’s last strategic plan was in place from 2001 to 2006.

“The emphasis is a little bit different. We are now looking more at community development,” Crain said.

Artists and others in attendance who spoke Tuesday provided suggestions to leaders. Most people at the meeting seemed to support the overall broad range of goals, Crain said.

A 12-member board governs the commission. Chairwoman Anita Wolgast, of Topeka, and Ann Evans, of Lawrence, who is executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, were two commissioners who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Similar meetings will be 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Dodge City and 1 p.m. Friday in Hutchinson. Eventually, members of the public will be able to make comments about the proposal at the Web site,

Commissioners will consider the plan for approval in September.