Keeper of the Plans

Free admission days at Wichita Art Museum will continue ‘in perpetuity’

Art Garden grand opening at Wichita Art Museum

The Wichita Art Museum had its grand opening for its $3.5 million Art Garden on Sept. 26, 2015. (Video by Fernando Salazar)
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The Wichita Art Museum had its grand opening for its $3.5 million Art Garden on Sept. 26, 2015. (Video by Fernando Salazar)

Colby Sandlian is at it again.

The Wichita philanthropist best-known for underwriting free-admission days at the Wichita Art Museum has donated $1 million to the Wichita Community Foundation to establish an endowed fund for the museum.

The Colby Sandlian — WAM Art Access Fund, created in December, will ensure that Saturday admission to the art museum will continue to be free, according to a news release from the community foundation.

The fund will disburse an annual grant to the museum to cover those admissions, which museum director Patricia McDonnell says account for nearly half of WAM’s annual attendance.

Sandlian has underwritten free-admission Saturdays at the art museum since 2003.

In 2017 Sandlian added to his philanthropic portfolio, underwriting Sunday admissions to Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum.

It remains to be seen if that will continue into 2019.

Sandlian, 88, is the owner of Sandlian Realty and is highly respected in the industry — he was known as the “Storage King” because of his vast holdings of self-storage facilities across the country. He’s been recognized with a host of prestigious real estate accolades over the years.

He told the Eagle in 2017 he donates these free-admission days because “when you put your money into a big organization, you never see where exactly it goes,” and that in this case “you can see very clearly what it’s going toward.”

The Wichita Art Museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For full museum hours and more information, visit www.wichitaartmuseum.org or call 316-268-4921.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.


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