The grand opening for the new Mark Arts building is Saturday, but drive by on Rock Road or 13th Street enough and you’ve already got a feel for the $19 million building.
The northeast side of the city’s new arts center is highlighted by so much window space that it’s easy to peer in from the streets, especially at night. What’s inside looks like the future of celebrating art.
Mark Arts’ move from 9112 E. Central to 13th and Rock signals a rebirth for the organization founded in 1920 as the Wichita Art Association. Working under other names over the years, Mark Arts was a national leader in hosting art exhibitions and leading art instruction.
With 40,000 square feet, it will have art studios, a culinary art studio, digital arts studio, gallery and event space. Another unique feature will be a glass wall that enables patrons to look into Mark Arts’ vault.
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Charles and Liz Koch have been at the front of the project. The lead gift of $6 million came from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, plus the land was donated by the Charles Koch Foundation. (Mark Arts is named for Charles’ mother, shortened from the Mary R. Koch Arts Center.)
The free open house, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is most of Wichita’s first chance to see a state-of-the-art center that keeps Wichita known nationally in the arts scene.