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Downtown Lawrence sculpture exhibit to receive boost in city funding to celebrate 25th year; entries now being accepted


This year will mark 25 years of walking around a corner in downtown Lawrence and saying “What the . . .”

I’m talking about the 25th Annual Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition. (Although, it is downtown Lawrence, so I could be talking about any number of things.)

But pieces of sculpture have been creating conversations, smiles and sometimes head-scratching in downtown Lawrence for almost a quarter-century. (I had a love-hate relationship one year with a sculpture shaped like a giant sphere. It reminded me of a doughnut hole. I gained 15 pounds during that year’s show.)

The Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission put out its call for entries for the show this morning. And City Hall officials also confirmed that they are going to provide a bit more financial support for the show this year in honor of its 25th anniversary.

The city will provide an extra $5,000 in city funding to support the show, which will allow the honorarium paid to artists to increase from $750 to $1,200.

For the first time in perhaps ever, the show also will be limited to artists who have a local connection. Only artists that live within a 15 mile radius of Lawrence will be allowed to submit an entry for the show. In the past, the event has attracted artists from across the country.

“This year, the committee wanted to do something special by showcasing the talents of local artists,” said Diane Stoddard, an assistant city manager who serves as the staff liaison for the Arts Commission.

Porter Arneill, public art administrator for Kansas City, Mo., will serve as the juror of the show, and is expected to select eight pieces for display.

All work must be free-standing, of sound design and suitable for long-term outdoor public display without external support. The show will open on June 15 and run through April 2014.

Entries are being accepted now. Artists can find entry information on the city’s website. The deadline for entries is 4 p.m. on Feb. 22.

The city provides funding for the show with money from its Special Recreation Fund. The Special Recreation Fund receives its funding from a portion of the state taxes collected on liquor sales made in Lawrence bars and restaurants.

So, if you are worried about the extra $5,000, here’s a solution: Make sure one of the sculptures looks like a giant BBQ hot wing. Using my “summer of doughnut holes” as a guide, the show will pay for itself through extra beer sales.


blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

Are statues of the Koch Brothers handing out masses of dollars to gullible Kansas Teabaggers an acceptable entry. What about renditions of long terml City Commissioners being extracted from a outhouse?

jhawk1998 5 years, 5 months ago

Is there simply no end to the handouts of our local government? I appreciate the art displays as much as anyone but it doesn't appear the lower stipend has thwarted quality contributions. Time to stop unnecessary spending and give the residents some financial relief.

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