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An Artist's Perspective: The City Wants A 'Disruptor' For Top Arts Job

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After John D’Angelo resigned last April as Wichita’s Director of Arts and Cultural Services there was talk in the community that the position would likely be done away with and the duties turned over to the Parks and Recreation Department. Many in the city felt that this would result in sure disaster for the arts in Wichita.

D’Angelo left shortly after City Manager Robert Layton introduced plans to drastically cut funding for the arts, libraries, and public pools, which sparked howling criticism from artists and citizens in general. This also happened at a time when there seemed to be a major lack of transparency in our city’s government, which many agree cost the former mayor his re-election.

Fast forward to Monday of this week: Our new mayor, Dr. Brandon Whipple, is sworn into office at a time when we desperately need strong, fresh, visionary leadership. And, surprisingly, the city has just posted a search for a new Director of Arts and Cultural Services. The full-time position, which will remain attached to the City Manager’s office rather than Parks and Rec, offers a salary from $71,000 to almost $130,000 per year. The search runs through Feb. 9.

Among the attributes the applicant must have, one stands out and reads: “Disruptor—can provide direction to challenge the status quo with new creativity to bring a new view to the community.”

I can’t help but wonder if they really mean that.

One thing is clear to me: Whoever gets this position is going to need some intestinal fortitude and combat discipline.