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Arts & Culture Lecture Series Starts Thursday

3/15/2011
Angela Cato, Arts & Cultural Services | ACato@wichita.gov | (316) 462-2787, ext. 742

Six-part series to focus on issues, challenges facing arts sector

The City of Wichita is sponsoring an “Arts & Culture Industry Lecture Series” to bring the community together to discuss how local arts organizations and artists can successfully adapt to the changing arts environment. The six-part series kicks off with a conversation about “Building Audiences” from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday in Century II Mary Jane Teall Theater, 225 W. Douglas. The lectures are free and open to the public. Members of regional cultural, visual and performing arts organizations and individual artists are encouraged to attend.

The discussion will be led by John D’Angelo, manager of the City’s Arts & Cultural Services Division. He will be joined by Ann Keefer, representing the Tallgrass Film Festival, Teddy Barlow, Old Cowtown Museum, and local artist Chris Gulick. The panel members will share examples of innovative programming they have implemented that helped them grow their audiences. The lecture will also focus on tools that organizations can use to evaluate their current programming, define their audiences and measure success.

Recent national studies, including the National Arts Index published last year by Americans for the Arts, have cited audience decline as a challenge facing all arts and culture organizations. Technology also has given people more access to the arts, but it also has had a noticeable effect on ticket sales. There is also more demand for individuals’ personal time and leisure dollars.

“The new economy and changes in the arts industry are posing challenges for all organizations,” D’Angelo said. “As art organizations just like businesses we must find creative and innovative ways to expand audiences.”

As current president of the Urban Arts Federation (a coalition of the 60 largest U.S. cities), D’Angelo has been involved in national discussions about the changing arts environment, which have provided the framework for the series.

The Arts & Culture Industry Lecture Series will continue throughout the year with topics on: Funding Capacity, Design and Integrated Art in the Built Environment, Building New Leadership, New Arts and Cultural Business Models, and Philanthropic Trends.

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