Keeper of the Plans

A familiar local face takes over gallery duties at CityArts

Charlotte Martin, artistic director of CityArts. (January 31, 2019)
Charlotte Martin, artistic director of CityArts. (January 31, 2019) The Wichita Eagle

A new hand is at the helm of CityArts.

Sort of.

Charlotte Martin, a longtime CityArts employee, has been hired as the gallery’s new artistic director.

She had been working in that position on an interim basis alongside Caitlin Waugh since the gallery’s previous artistic director, Emily Brookover McMillin, left in December. McMillin is now the director of community development for Downtown Wichita.

Martin has worked at the gallery for many years, assisting in hanging new art shows. She started as a volunteer show-hanger at CityArts’ former space near where the Boathouse is now — the “purple building,” as it was known.

She’s taught classes in painting, drawing and — most recently — pottery at CityArts for 18 years.

That’s in addition to her own studio artwork, which has been exhibited in Wichita for about as long.

Her painting, “I Dreamed of a Happy Day,” is currently featured on KMUW’s Fall Pledge Drive mug as well.

“I love to paint and draw — it’s my first love, I guess you could say,” Martin said. “I can’t remember when I wasn’t painting.”

(FILE VIDEO -- July 26, 2018) Kinetic sculptor Mike Miller had a solo show at CityArts on a Final Friday. Here's a peek at the exhibition.

At CityArts, Martin will be responsible for booking new art shows as well as overseeing the gallery’s boutique and educational programs. The Arts Council partners with CityArts in its programming.

She said she wants to focus on booking up-and-coming and emerging local artists in 2019 — “maybe some that aren’t as well-known as some of the other people that have already established themselves here.”

CityArts is currently showing photography by Dale Strattman through February and Wichita-themed paintings by Bill Goffrier through March.

The future of CityArts was a hotly debated topic in 2018, as an initial proposed 2019 budget suggested privatizing gallery operations and drastically reducing city staff.

That proposal was walked back and it is business as usual at CityArts for now, but Mayor Jeff Longwell has said the city intends to “look at some potential solutions … to help solidify long-term for the gallery operations.”

Landing a show at CityArts is particularly prized by local artists, partially because the downtown gallery is one of just a handful in Wichita that maintain standard business hours.

For more information on the gallery, visit www.wichita-cityarts.squarespace.com or call 316-350-3245.

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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