Letter to the editor
Published: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 3, 2011 13:11
Garden City Arts' gallery doors are closing. That's the word around town. Rumors often have a basis of truth. Here's the truth: Governor Brownback deflated the Kansas Arts Commission. Garden City Arts lost a significant source of operating revenue, which helped pay rent, utilities and payroll for four employees. While Governor Brownback did not put our local arts to death, he did cause an unexpected stumble.
Founded as a non-profit organization, Garden City Arts' mission is to enrich lives and encourage creativity through the arts. Basically, we want to make home a better place. We live in Southwest Kansas. There is no river. A fresh aroma of money often escapes the local feedlots and greets us as we exit the movie theater. We have one of the largest meat packing plants in the world. Good for us.
On the flip side, we are home to one of the finest zoos in the state. We have an awesome Vietnamese restaurant. No one can say that their swimming pool is bigger than ours. There is a new high school being built on the edge of town, and yeah, it cost an arm, a leg and an eye. But, it will be something to be proud of when finished.
And, we have an art gallery.
The gallery located at 318 Main Street offers local artists a chance to display and sell their work. It also offers the opportunity for the public to view and purchase artwork without having to drive to a metropolitan area. During the week, we have a regular line of window shoppers. That's about it. Traffic is down. Sales are down.
So, as we struggle to keep our door open, we wonder if the community wants us to. Governor Brownback was confident the Arts will continue to flourish through private donations, but we are yet to see them. Previously, the Kansas Arts Commission collected about 24 cents from each Kansas resident and distributed the collected funds to the various art organizations throughout the state. When the cut came, we stood firm. We had no intention of going down with the ship.
Yet here we are, struggling. So, we want to know what the community thinks. Does Garden City need an art gallery? Vote at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y7VBXDS.
It is easy to point fingers of blame, but in all honesty, this is not the Governor's fault—though his cut of the Kansas Arts Commission was certainly unfortunate. Financial distress is the result of low sales and a stunted membership. An individual membership is only $35 for the year. If you can't donate cash, donate time. The board of directors is short handed and volunteers are few. Without local participation, Garden City Arts cannot exist.
Support the arts. And as the holidays roll around, keep us in mind. We offer one-of-a-kind gifts. Visit the gallery during our new hours: noon – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday or 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays. Contact by phone at: 620-260-9700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our doors are open—for now.
Brian Nelson, Gallery Manager and the Garden City Arts Board of Directors.