Lawrence Arts Center announces dates for 2016 Free State Festival

The Lawrence Arts Center has gathered enough funding to hold the Free State Festival next year, organizers announced Monday night.

The week-long summer arts event, which includes film screenings and musical performances, will run from June 20 to June 25 in 2016.

Tickets and other passes will go on sale in February 2016.

The announcement came more than a month after the Lawrence City Commission decided at its Sept. 15 meeting to give the summer arts event $60,000 — $40,000 less than requested.

The Arts Center had used a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to help operate the festival in its first two years, 2014 and 2015, and without that money — or more from the city — event organizer Sarah Bishop didn’t know whether the event would continue, she said at the time.

Bishop said Monday the Arts Center had gained enough sponsorships from local organizations and businesses to move forward.

Ticket prices for the 2016 event may be raised, she said, and the festival might include only one free outdoor show.

Bishop is also working to hold events at larger venues in order to increase the number of tickets sold.

“We’re hoping to not have to cut back too much,” Bishop said. “We feel really grateful to get the funding from the city and be able to leverage that funding with sponsors from the community and private donors. We feel lucky to be part of a community that’s supportive of the arts.”

Film submissions will be accepted at through March 2. A festival headliner will be announced soon, Bishop said.