CityArts offers people of all ages and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to participate in diverse art programming throughout the year. Since it began in 1998, CityArts has been dedicated to providing education, information and artistic opportunities to all members of the community.
CityArts is home to more than 35 professional artists who teach art to the community. Each session, these artists engage with students who learn how to create pieces of art in a supportive community setting. Classes are offered in digital arts, photography, mixed media, silversmithing, glass fusing, glass blowing, painting, pottery and drawing.
Located in a three-story building in Wichita's historic Old Town district, the facility was designed specifically to meet the needs of a community arts center in Wichita. CityArts provides year-round art classes, The Art Shoppe @ CityArts and four gallery spaces. CityArts is owned by the City of Wichita and is managed by the Arts and Cultural Services Division within the City Manager's Office.
How CityArts Began
CityArts has always been intended as the City’s creative outlet, a place for the entire community to come and be expressive in an affordable and fun way.
It all started in 1955 when a group of individuals decided to create a space for people who wanted to learn art and express their creativity. The city worked to place the Arts & Crafts Center at 25th & Arkansas, an organization that would later become CityArts. The Arts & Crafts Center later became The Arts Center, with classes for adults. The opportunity arose in 1998 to move the center, and after successful private fundraising, it was eventually moved to “the Purple Building” across from the boathouse. The center easily became a part of the Wichita community, and it began to grow.
Former City Manager Chris Cherches was a huge advocate for the arts in Wichita. He was so invested in what The Arts Center could become that he began a process to help move and renovate it into the Old Town location we all know and love.
What makes CityArts an asset to the city is its ability to draw in citizens to use a space that they can be creative in and allows them to express themselves through art. Providing multiple art forms to the public creates incredible possibilities.
The Arts Council
Since 1999, The Arts Council, housed at CityArts, has worked in partnership with the City of Wichita to achieve its mission of advancing and promoting arts and culture in the Wichita community through advocacy, leadership, education and collaboration. The Arts Council slogan, "We Make Art Happen," reinforces the group's commitment to the business side of the arts. Arts and culture is a $66.2 million industry that creates 2,006 jobs in Wichita and generates $6.5 million in local and state government revenue.