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A Conversation With New Director Of WSU's Ulrich Museum

Ulrich Museum of Art

Bob Workman was named director of the Ulrich Museum in November of last year. He has a strong arts and museum administration background that started at the Ulrich back when he was a student at Wichita State University in the late 1970s.

“This is the place that really launched my art career, so when the opportunity presented itself to return to Wichita and lead the Ulrich to its next phase of growth I was very excited to have that chance,” says Workman.

Workman is happy to be back in an academic environment where he can interact with students and faculty. He says it is his responsibility to make sure the resources of the museum are available to be used in educational efforts across the campus.

Beyond the WSU campus, Workman says Wichita has a strong arts community that he is excited to build off of.

“[The Wichita arts community] continues to grow and has continued substantial potential,” he says.

Workman has immediate plans to move forward with the digitization of the Ulrich collection so that all the works are scanned and available.

“It will allow the collection to become more of an immediate resource,” he says.

Workman also wants to continue the Ulrich’s role in the community as a place for piquant art and engaging dialog.

“We should do shows that are a bit edgy when we can,” he says, “things that open up conversations.”

Funding continues to be an issue for the arts nationwide and perhaps especially in Kansas. Workman says that includes the Ulrich.

“We are at a point when I think a lot of us, for a number of years, have worked very hard to make the general community understand the value of art,” he says.

“In Wichita we have a good situation in that our city owns art, and our city owns museums and our city does support them to some degree. So it is building on a foundation that already exists.”

Workman says there must be strong arts programs for communities to be healthy and thrive.