First of all, THANK YOU for believing in the power of the arts. You want to live in a strong, passionate community that puts its best foot forward – and the arts move us in that direction. ARTSConnect is helping to pave the road ahead for Topeka with our work dedicated to the arts, artists, education and fostering the well-being of this city. We hope that you will join us in supporting the arts all across Topeka by donating today.
The arts make our lives richer and more beautiful. The arts amplify all of our voices and give us a common language to help us understand one another. The arts show us new ways to solve problems, reach consensus and encourage us to listen. The arts make us kinder and more generous – smarter and stronger. They help us survive trauma and find new ways to use our voices. The arts make us all better. Every. Single. Day.
We cannot do our work without support from individuals like yourself. We depend entirely on individual and corporate donations to support our operations and programs. Donors just like you made it all possible in 2018, and with your support at any level, you will be making more art possible all across Topeka – whether it is $10, $25 or $2,500. It all makes a difference and these resources are critical to us.
In 2018, we completed the Brown v. Board Mural Project: Legacy & Vision across the street from the Brown v. Board National Historic Site. We are proud to say that more than 2,000 people helped paint from 34 states and 9 countries. We were witness to the planting of seeds which will sprout and bloom in this community for years to come. (Photo postcard is enclosed!)
We coordinated the painting of a mural at Blaisdell Pool, painted by artists Patrick Rocha & Luke Rocha (pictured at right), which we hope is the first of many.
We facilitated the painting of giant canvases installed inside the Iron Rail Brewing which were painted by artists Sara Myer, Andrea Nix and Andy Valdivia.
Working with Momentum 2022 (a project of the Greater Topeka Partnership), we helped to create a sport court mural in the Betty Phillips Park in the Hi-Crest neighborhood which was designed by artists Oshara Meesha and Robert Tapley Bustamante. This project turned out beautifully and will hopefully be replicated elsewhere. (Pictured below at left.)
In 2019, ARTSConnect will administer a fourth year of city-funded grants. City leaders have dedicated $30,000 to increase assess to the arts all across the city and we are working to DOUBLE this funding in 2019. If you are interested in helping us to reach this goal, please reach out to me. These grants support arts in youth programs like the Boys and Girls Club – and arts programs for trauma survivors like veterans and families who have survived domestic violence.
The First Friday Artwalk continues to be a big priority because it supports artists and local businesses which are both a critical part of our economy. Of course, it gives us all something fun to do – and a new way to interact with our friends and family.
We held our first two Creative Conversations in 2018. This is a new series intended to bring experts together to talk about their process, their career and offer advice and insight to attendees. The first event featured Brown v. Board Mural Artistic Director Michael Toombs. During the second conversation, we heard from filmmakers Matt Nyquist and Gary Piland. They have been well-attended and we look forward to more diverse and dynamic conversations in 2019.
Finally, we make sure that the arts always have a seat at the table. Attending dozens of meetings and offering advice to city leaders and business owners about how the arts can make their dreams come is a critical part of our work.
If you choose to donate online, we would encourage you to set up a recurring donation – since these donations offer a stable and predictable stream of funding which allows us to plan for the future, dream big and push forward. We are so very grateful to you for your support.