Promises, promises

Arts officials, others reveal '04 resolutions

A lot of people don't lend much credence to New Year's resolutions. They figure if you want to accomplish a task or make a life-altering change, you'll do it when you think of it during the year rather than making a monumental declaration to get started Jan. 1.

But goals are goals, and experts says they're good to set. So the tradition continues year after year.

Some of Lawrence's top arts, entertainment, education and government figures have their eyes on lofty achievements in 2004. And since they're sharing them publicly, you can monitor their progress as the year wears on. Take a look:

Ann Evans

Evans, executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, says she'll strive "Not to work so hard ... and enjoy more of the wonderful concerts and exhibitions we have here in town. I really need to not work so much and go to more of the events."

Professionally, she would like to "help keep making the arts center function really well and serve more people, keep moving it on."

That means more fund raising and marketing to new segments of the community.

"I want to figure out a way to reach the people who don't take the paper and don't listen to the radio. They live here, but they're not as knowledgeable about town," she says. "I think that would be the goal of everybody at the arts center because the programs we have are great. We just want more people to participate."

Tim Van Leer

Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center, says he would concentrate on walking his eldest daughter down the aisle at her wedding in June and continuing to enjoy seeing his grandson via a Web cam.

"He was born in September, and we have just spent the holidays with him and are so excited to watch his growth and the development of his personality," he says.

"A resolution for the Lied Center would be to continue to offer unique, high-quality performances that have helped the Lied Center to be such a valued part of the community. We are fortunate to have a venue such as the Lied Center as a place for campus and community to gather in celebration of the arts and in creating activities that help make Lawrence the outstanding city that we all enjoy."

Steve Hedden

Hedden, dean of Kansas University's School of Fine Arts, resolves "to lose 10 pounds through diet and exercise."

"My resolution as dean is twofold: to increase public awareness of the quality that already exists in KU's School of Fine Arts, and to increase public understanding that the arts at KU are a cultural and economic engine for Kansas and the Kansas City metroplex."

Carolyn Chinn Lewis

The assistant director of the Spencer Museum of Art vows to "eat, drink and be merry with family and friends."

She and other museum staff members collaborated and came up with this goal for the museum in 2004: "For the Spencer Museum to move forward with a much-needed building expansion and to continue our established excellence in exhibition and educational programming."

Kevin Willmott

Willmott, a KU theater and film professor whose film "C.S.A. -- The Confederate States of America" was recently selected to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, said his personal and broader resolutions were one and the same.

"I would probably say that it would be to have a new film to work on in Lawrence the next year, one that I would be involved in somehow and that the community would be able to be involved in."

No wishes for "CSA's" performance at Sundance?

"We're just happy to be at Sundance, and we hope that it will lead to things but I think the bigger goal for us has been to just hopefully have things that will continue to grow here."

Robert Hemenway

"There's nothing particularly profound about this resolution but it is a resolution I make every year and that is to find new ways to celebrate KU's faculty and staff," says the KU chancellor.

Past attempts to fulfill that ongoing resolution have included creating the Kemper Awards and an employee of the month program

"We have such an excellent faculty and staff, we've got to find new ways to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.

"I guess my personal resolution would probably be the same as it always is and that would be to try to be a good person and try to support others."

David Dunfield

The Lawrence mayor doesn't have a personal resolution but says his wish for the city "would be that in our sesquicentennial year we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of human rights and freedom that motivated Lawrence's founders."

Randy Weseman

Weseman, the superintendent of Lawrence schools, says he would like to lose 15 pounds and grow more hair. When pressed about which methods he would use to achieve those goals, he said he would attempt "the Atkins diet, like everybody else. And I'm using the wish method for my hair, wishing and hoping that miraculously it'll start to grow again."

"My professional resolution is to continue to try to find revenue sources for the school district."

Allan Hanson

The coordinator of the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, which has been sponsoring forums, talks and anti-war protests since the war in Iraq began, says he doesn't separate his personal resolution from his hope for the coalition: "I want to resolve that we stop living in fear.

"I think it's really very, very apt that we remember what Franklin D. Roosevelt said at the beginning of World War II: 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' It seems to me that our country is living in a state of absolute paralysis and fear because of 9-11, and I think that our government has encouraged that fear and it leads to our willingness to give up our civil liberties and to attack other people without sufficient reason and use this idea of pre-emptive war and all of that comes from this desire to dominate that I think is our government's desire and the fear that I think is being instilled in the people to allow them to do that. You can't achieve peace by making war, and you can't get nonviolence through violence. So I resolve -- and I'm sure the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice resolves -- to do everything we can to change that overall situation."

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