The City of Wichita has released its vague budget-cutting plan and CityArts is presented as a prime target. In the plan, buried on page 41, is a simple paragraph, under the heading “Cultural Funding” which states that arts in Wichita have evolved since CityArts was originally opened. And that one option is to restructure CityArts operations. Estimated savings: $100,000 to $300,000.
My interpretation of the paragraph is that city government feels the arts in Wichita have evolved past a place like CityArts so it’s no longer needed, vital, or necessary.
And rumors are running rampant in the community surrounding who might want CityArts shut down, and why.
I can tell you this: CityArts is centrally located. Its classes are affordable for most, and those classes are always full. Children and adults alike depend heavily on CityArts for art education. And the galleries, thanks to artistic director Emily Brookover, offer some of the finest art exhibitions in the city. CityArts galleries are the shining beacon and hub for the arts in Wichita. And local government wants to, yet again, say “no” to another great thing that our city has going for it and ring the death bell for CityArts.
I’m going to do everything I can not to let it happen! I’m going to attend the City Council public hearing on August 7th and say “No.” And I’ll write Mayor Jeff Longwell, who I credit with being a good listener, and ask him to save CityArts, before it’s too late.