Arts awards honor Lawrence recipients

KANU, arts center director feted

— Two of Lawrence's own were honored Friday for their commitment to the arts in Kansas.

Public radio station KANU-FM and Ann Evans, executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, received Governor's Arts Awards during a dinner and ceremony in Kansas City, Kan.

KANU, which received the honor as an arts organization, is the first radio station so honored in the history of the awards, which first were handed out to individual artists in 1974.

"It's a very nice honor," said station director Janet Campbell. "There are a lot of extremely worthy organizations throughout the state of Kansas. We really do feel privileged to be singled out this year."

Evans, recognized as an arts advocate, shared Campbell's enthusiasm.

"It's an amazing honor," she said. "In my world, there are very few awards. The Kansas Arts Commission awards are usually given to organizations and artists, so for a paid administrator to get one is really a big deal."

Under Evans' leadership, the arts center has grown from providing programs to 5,000 people in 1975 to serving 95,000 people in 2001. The center outgrew its longtime home in the old Carnegie Library building, 200 W. Ninth St., and in April began operating at its new facility, 940 N.H.

On Sunday, KANU celebrated its 50th year on the air, broadcasting music, news and comedy. Through its broad range of programming, the station has shown an enduring commitment to promoting the arts, the awards panel said.

The Lawrence-based source for Kansas and National Public Radio serves 76,000 listeners in northeast Kansas and is the only radio station in eastern Kansas that provides locally presented classical music.

"The Imagination Workshop," a live program of satirical skits that gained a national audience and was named by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as its best live entertainment program in 1990, was founded at KANU and continues under a new name, "Right Between the Ears."

"Through an unwavering commitment to keep the 'public' in public radio, KANU has enriched the cultural landscape of Kansas," the awards panel said.

Lawrence resident Mary-Margaret Simpson, a longtime KANU volunteer, nominated the station for the award.

Also honored Friday:

l Actor Edward Asner, a 1947 graduate of Wyandotte High School, who received the Kansas Arts Commission Distinguished Arts Award.

l Richard Welsbacher, director of theater at Wichita State University, as an art educator.

l Ann Garvey, Wichita, for arts patron.

Three individual artists also were recognized: Marjorie Schick of Pittsburg, Wayne Bryan of Wichita and Larry Schwarm of Emporia.


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