Well, the City of Wichita is planning to take a chain saw to Wichita CityArts—that beautiful three-story complex in Old Town next to the Warren Theater. They want to close the gallery space and the small boutique inside for starters, and who knows what else. CityArts is a 20-year-old entity and it is the rock and cornerstone of the entire Wichita arts community.
Around mid-July, the city manager will propose a slashed budget, including CityArts. This will be voted on in August by the City Council, and by September, City Arts could be a memory.
The Wichita city website states that “CityArts is owned by the City of Wichita.” They forget that we are the City of Wichita. We do the tax paying, living, and dying in this community. And let’s not forget that these bean counters are the same group that are responsible for that scathing “Chung Report” that shows our city almost dead last in growth and prosperity in the 16 cities cited which are the same size as Wichita.
Now, what if the artists who are responsible for your highly successful Final Fridays and your cool arts district get together and agree not to show art anymore? A total blackout. I’ll bet the City of Mulvane would love to have us. We could turn Mulvane, a really great little town, into an instant art Mecca. Their bars and restaurants would overflow. That’s how serious we are about leaving CityArts and its valuable employees alone. It’s a phenomenally valuable resource. And this dead-last city needs it.