The Wichita Arts Council is planning a forum to see where Wichita’s 10 mayoral candidates stand on arts and culture issues.
Wichita Arts Council hosted its first local candidate forum four years ago, said Arlen Hamilton, Arts Council president.
“We felt like the candidates not only came out better educated about the arts, but the arts community had a real good idea about where they stood regarding arts and culture,” Hamilton said.
“With so many cities and politicians, they believe arts and culture are not critical. … Everybody expects us to have water, fire, streets and police. All cities have that to offer. But cities going above and beyond with arts and culture are the ones seeing the most economic growth.”
The forum will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Century II, rooms 101A and B. Doors will open for a reception at 5:15 p.m.
The Arts Council will not endorse any candidates, said Jessica St. Clair-Stong, forum chair for the Wichita Arts Council.
“We want to show the candidates that there is a great community of art supporters and to know we care and we’re here to vote and make sure that art remains an important part of the city’s work,” she said.
St. Clair-Stong said they encourage art supporters who attend the event to wear red since it is the primary color of the Wichita flag.
Candidates will introduce themselves at the beginning of the forum before answering questions from Arts Council members and other arts organizations. There will be a limited number of questions from the audience and each candidate will have one minute to answer each question with no rebuttals. Each candidate will also have one minute for a conclusion.
The emcee for the forum will be an on-air personality from KWCH Channel 12 and the League of Women Voters will be time keepers.
The 10 mayoral candidates will be narrowed down to two candidates in the March 3 primary. The general election will be held April 7.
The Wichita Arts Council is a nonprofit organization and was founded in 1999. It receives some money through the city’s cultural funds, but the majority of its budget is through donations and fundraisers, Hamilton said.
Art Council forums
Ahead of the March 3 primaries, a forum for all 10 mayoral candidates will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Century II, rooms 101A and B. Doors will open for a reception at 5:15 p.m.
City Council candidates, final two mayoral candidates
After the March 3 primaries, another forum will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on March 19 at Century II, rooms 101A and B. Doors will open for a reception at 5:15 p.m.