High-caliber show a boon for small town

If you're thinking it must be unusual for a small town in the middle of Kansas to have a Warhol exhibition, your instincts are correct.

Although the show is not directly related to the grant, Salina this summer became the smallest city ever to be part of the Warhol Initiative, which supports community visual arts organizations across the nation known for innovation.

The $110,000 unrestricted gift, awarded to the arts center by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, motivated center director Saralyn Reece Hardy to mount an exhibition that would educate the community about the foundation's namesake.

In announcing the award, Pamela Capp, the foundation's program director, said the Salina Art Center consistently had shown cutting-edge work that might not otherwise have found its way to the region.

"I believe that people are curious and they have the ability to grasp complex ideas and that it's really the role of a public institution to create the format within which people who are involved in all levels of intellectual activity, any kind of thought process, can get it," says Hardy, who co-curated "Commodities, Celebrities, Death & Disaster."

The art center borrowed Warhol works from museums and collections across the country, including Kansas University's Spencer Museum of Art.

Programs planned to complement the show, which opens today at the art center, include:

  • Lecture: "The Everyday Object Becomes High Art," by Kansas Wesleyan University art professor Brad Anderson, noon and 7 p.m. Thursday.
  • Lecture: "Celebrity Style," by Hardy, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23.
  • Gallery walk: "News as Art," by Hardy and Kansas Wesleyan University psychology professor Steve Hoekstra, noon Sept. 23.
  • Lecture: Expansion on the three themes of "Commodities, Celebrities, Death & Disaster," by Hardy, noon and 7 p.m. Sept. 30.
  • Lecture: "Warhol Multiples," by artist Harley Elliott, noon and 7 p.m. Oct. 14.
  • Symposium: "Warhol & Now," featuring Rachel Epp Butler, assistant professor of art at Bethel College; Glen R. Brown, associate professor of art history at Kansas State University; David Cateforis, co-curator of the exhibition and associate professor of art history at KU; and Raechell Smith, director of H&R; Block Artspace, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 30. Cost is $5. Register by calling (785) 827-1431.

"It's remarkable that a small institution in a rural city like Salina has the ambition and the pull, really, to put a Warhol show together," Cateforis says. "It's exciting to have this coming to central Kansas. Frankly, I hope that people from Wichita, Lawrence and even Kansas City will come."


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