For the past decade, CityArts has been a visible experience in Old Town.
Local arts patrons, artists and city officials plan on celebrating its 10th anniversary next weekend with a CityArts Extraveganza party. Events include a birthday cake, a Sculpture WalkAbout unveiling, an art-themed scavenger hunt and art demonstrations.
“Because Old Town is such a unique and creative place – and with CityArts being there, it is ground zero for the arts scene in Wichita,” said Arts Council president Sharon Fearey.
Before it moved to Old Town, CityArts was on Lewis next to the Wichita Boathouse. Its building was torn down for the WaterWalk development. CityArts is now at 334 N. Mead.
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In 2004, the Chris Cherches CityArts building opened, named after the late city manager who separated arts from the parks department to give it standing as the Division of Arts and Culture. He died in August 2004 of pancreatic cancer. Cherches served 18 years as Wichita’s city manager.
“He always made sure that anything happened with the infrastructure had an art element to it,” Fearey said. “He was just one of those people who any time someone wanted to do something always asked about the art.”
Since moving to Old Town, CityArts has become more active, said John D’Angelo, director of the city’s Arts and Culture Department.
“We get more foot traffic through the building because of the location,” he said.
People may be drawn in at first by the water fountains in Old Town or chalk art, D’Angelo said, or by the restaurants or theater.
They may enter CityArts looking at the gallery or visiting the gift shop, Fearey said.
“Then they will take a class and go get a cup of coffee, lunch, dinner or even a glass of wine,” Fearey said.
Experiencing the arts, she said, has now become an element associated with Old Town.
Weekend events include a celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday with the Sculpture WalkAbout unveiling and scavenger hunt and art demonstrations. Those events are free and open to the public.
Then, from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, there will be an Xtravaganza Gala at CityArts called Taste of Downtown. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased at WichitaTIX.com or at the door. Proceeds will go toward supporting CityArts art-class scholarships.
For more information about the events, call CityArts at 316-350-3245.