State arts grant boosts effort to purchase equipment, lights at new Theatre Lawrence

A $50,000 grant from the state will boost the second phase of fundraising for Theatre Lawrence’s new building, helping to fill it with updated equipment and tools.

The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission today announced a total of $350,000 in grants to nine organizations statewide, one of which was Theatre Lawrence.

The new Theatre Lawrence opened in June at 4660 Bauer Farm Drive. Executive director Mary Doveton said the $6.6 million raised enabled construction of the facility but fell short of outfitting the building with needs such as sound and lighting equipment, scene shop tools and classroom materials.

Theatre Lawrence launched a second fundraising phase to fill in those blanks and has been adding new equipment as money becomes available. With the addition of the Creative Arts Industries grant, Doveton said, the theater has secured more than $245,000 of its $350,000 goal.

Doveton said Theatre Lawrence was “thrilled” about the grant. Not only is the money a huge help, she said, but the award sends a message.

“It’s just such an important validation on a state level for what we’re doing here,” she said. “To have a vote of confidence in our organization from the state is wonderful for the entire city of Lawrence.”

Each grant recipient has a variety of community and governmental partnerships that are critical to its success, the commission said in its announcement.

“By working together, numerous organizations across Kansas are supporting the arts, generating strong economic activity in the state and contributing to a better quality of life for Kansans,” Kansas Labor Secretary and commission chairwoman Lana Gordon said in a news release.

An independent panel consisting of arts and economic development professionals reviewed applications for the grants, according to the commission.

Other projects and groups receiving grants were InterUrban ArtHouse in Kansas City, $50,000; Gray’s Studio Restoration in St. John, $75,000; William Inge Festival Foundation in Independence, $50,000; City of Waterville opera house restoration, $55,000; Goodland Arts Council, $5,000; Newton Area Arts Council, $45,000; Garden City Arts, $10,000; and Arts Connect of Topeka, $10,000.

In 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback abolished the Kansas Arts Commission. Last year, in its place, Brownback and the Legislature established the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which announced its first grants in July totaling $58,000.


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