City to consider applying for grant to create new director of arts and culture

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will consider taking another step toward creating a new $75,000 per year director of arts and culture position at City Hall.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners will be asked to apply for a state grant that would pay for a portion of the new arts position and fund a detailed plan for how the city can better capitalize off its arts and culture.

If awarded, the Kansas Department of Commerce grant would pay for $25,000 of the initial costs to add the new City Hall director and would pay for $50,000 for a new cultural plan and efforts to market the arts and culture in the city. The grant would require about $60,000 in local funding. After the one-time grant expires, local dollars likely would need to fund the entire project, city staff members have said.

Commissioners last month expressed general support for the position, which would be responsible for promoting and coordinating a host of events and efforts aimed at bolstering the city’s arts scene and boosting arts-based tourism.

City commissioners are being asked to make a decision on the new position now rather than during the budget process in the summer because the grant application deadline is in early February.

As part of the proposal, the Lawrence-based marketing firm Callahan Creek has offered to donate $100,000 in design and development services for the marketing campaign.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.